Ad scams, awards and alternatives

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I am glad this happened. And that it is created by Pratap Suthan. I am talking about The Delhi Alternative initiative. Not surprising really, after the master piece he wrote after the Goafest awards. My rants on Goafest event don’t even come close but I do feel as strongly about the way our advertising awards are headed.

The post Goafest muck that followed, including a very public spat between Creative Directors makes one cringe. The request to voluntarily return awards is such a cop out. It does not send a strong message about intolerance to winning awards ‘at any cost’. Less said about scam ads the better. Every year we end up rewarding & celebrating work for fictitious clients knowing full well that such energy and talent can be used for clients who pay our bills. I hope the likes of Portfolio Nights don’t fuel the urge among young creatives to only do award winning work and let that subsume everything else.

Among the recent awards, The One Show named Procter & Gamble as the ‘Client of the Year’ (deservingly so) for taking risks and pushing the boundaries of creativity on brands like Old Spice. Can anyone argue against this? The Old Spice work has been consistently creative over the years and made a business impact. Now that’s the kind our industry should be proud of and celebrate.

Let us celebrate our work – with all our constraints of languages, different kinds of clients and budgets. But let the celebration be about ideas that make a real business or social impact. Is there an alternative?

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  1. ‘The big agency spend happy’ awards no doubt motivate the creative team. One good factor is that small creative shops have been the real champs in most of such cases, most of their award winning and client-benefitting work still stand tall over many of the big agency goofs.
    But what ails me is that while appointing top-cream talent, most of the agencies go by counting the number of awards one has won. This is only slightly stupider than judging a book by its cover. So most of the real creative folks still fashion awards just like once every anglophile ad guy had a french beard. Deep down in their heart they know it is stupid, but still you need to flaunt it always to get to the stream.

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