It was titled ‘Fake Cannes Lion Winner’s blog‘ and highlighted the ‘creative coincidence’ between the Air India outdoor campaign (which won a Silver at Cannes 2009) and ahem, a similar campaign for Air France. Then followed a second article on the same subject stating that ‘scams are threatening an otherwise talented industry of ideas’. The ‘inspiration’ for last years award-winning Luxor campaign and some work for Ariel was written about.
The comments on both the articles and the Air India campaign page at Ads of the World make for interesting reading. An agency blog has also listed how much was spent by the big agencies on the Cannes entries. So, much furore over scam ads and the chase to win awards. But then, what’s new? Award shows are designed to recognize creative thinking, everything else be damned. A lone installation built for Amnesty International won a metal at Cannes this year (dubbed as ‘useless’ by Copyranter). At least in the Cyber category, I was delighted to see some work that would qualify as mainline work, winning accolades – like the Apple ‘Get a Mac’ work, which also won Silver in Films.
Scam ads and the desire among creatives to ‘chase awards at any cost’ will continue as long as the industry encourages it, tacitly or otherwise. The undue importance given to obscure, award winning work simply out-shouts the celebration of effective advertising. In fact, the latter does not exist. Scam ads are seen as the unfettered opportunity to create communication on a brand, that is answerable to no one – not the client, not the consumer. Sure, awards matter. But an unreal obsession takes away the focus of an agency from the task at hand: solving client’s business problems. Recognition for the metals in the media category were richly deserved. But how many of the creative entries made a difference to the client’s brands or were ‘real’ campaigns?