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While the people in the video are all highly esteemed, very successful members of the advertising community … having achieved heights I wouldn’t be able to reach in 1000 lifetimes, I do find the whole thing a big depressing.
I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s when David Droga say’s, at 5 minutes 5 seconds, “We were not asked to judge on the effectiveness, just the idea” when surely the whole point of ‘an idea’ – at least in terms of commercial communication – is to be effective.
OK … OK … that’s the planner in me coming out and I know Mr Droga is very smart and very successful … however I don’t think comments like that do our industry any good.
Sure, there are times – as I know first hand – that an idea fails to reach the level of success you hoped for or expected and without a doubt, if we don’t push for new ideas then we won’t be able to create new ideas, but to celebrate anything that commercially ‘flopped’, regardless of  external factors beyond your control and  how great and imaginative it is … seems to fly in the face of what our industry claims it does, which is to help business grow.
This post is coming out wrong because if you follow what I’m saying to its natural conclusion, I’m seemingly advocating a risk free creative approach to everything, but that’s obviously not what I mean, I’m just saying that if we are to hand out ‘black pencils’, surely the criteria for the ‘best campaign idea’ category [or whatever it's called] is to also appreciate the need for it to actually achieve what the client handed over their money for in the first place.
By all means, hand out as many black pencil’s as you want for design, craft, music, film, packaging, animation, product design, technology, art direction or, as in the case for the wonderful Kaiser Chief’s campaign, ‘ingenuity/invention’, etc … but please don’t promote the view that a black pencil ‘campaign idea’ is simply one that has never been done before, because if we do that, what the hell are we promoting to the next generation of folk entering the business, let alone the next generation of client we will be dealing with.
Awards are important. They promote and push ingenious thinking and craftsmanship and we need a hell of a lot more of that, but for an industry that talks about appreciating how everything matters, maybe we need to take a bit more of our own advice.
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