McCann Central junior creative strategist tops iconic industry awards

Published on July 13, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Selina Smyllie, Junior Creative Strategist at McCann Central has been awarded two highly-coveted D&AD New Blood Pencil Awards, including the top accolade of the Black Pencil.

The D&AD Pencil Awards recognise the very best in design and advertising across the globe, with the New Blood Awards identifying the top talent amongst students, graduates and aspiring creatives. The competition sets real briefs, by real clients and is judged by the industry’s top creatives.

Selina, who joined McCann Central after graduating from Leeds Art University, took home a Yellow Pencil in the service-led campaign category and the ultimate creative accolade, the Black Pencil, which is handed to the best-of-the-best. In fact, only three Black Pencils were presented this year from over 3,000 entries.

Selina secured the prizes for her Lit on Beat campaign, which saw her re-imagine the role of books and reading for kids with Dyslexia, by bridging the gap between poetry and rap. Lit on Beat was developed in response to a brief set by Penguin Books and puts rhythm into reading.

Selina Smyllie commented: “I am absolutely over the moon to have won. When I first read the Penguin brief, I instantly gravitated towards it. As someone who has struggled with reading, I wanted to find a way to not only open up the joy of literature for myself, but also for all of the thousands of children and teenagers who finding reading difficult. This was a real passion project for me and it’s beyond amazing to have been recognised for my work in such an incredible way.”

Vince McSweeney, Chief Creative Officer at McCann Central, commented: “Winning a Pencil is the pinnacle of many creative careers, and it can take decades of experience to receive the honour, if at all. For Selina to win such a coveted prize, and the Black Pencil no less, at such a young age is a phenomenal achievement.

“Although we have always known how talented Selina is, we couldn’t be prouder to have her as part of the McCann Central family and we look forward to continuing to collaborate and create amazing campaigns together.”

For more information on Lit on Beat visit: