Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cannes: Mostly Gutted, But Also Quite Angry

The Outdoor results are in. Of course, I'm rather bitter because our Levi's work didn't even get shortlisted.

Not so bitter that I can't acknowledge a couple of gems in there:

Bronze, for a camera with image stabilisation

Silver for McDonalds - fresh salad

But I'm plenty angry enough to pass on to you what a London-based ECD texted me from the Riviera: "Cannes is FULL of scam - especially in press and outdoor. It makes me so angry to walk round and look at all the ads for dog neutering, penis enlargements and join the priesthood."

Nothing new there, I suppose. But it's even more depressing, I think, to see ads which are probably for real clients... but which clearly never ran as posters.

Bronze. But do we believe that a brand of highlighter pen buys posters?

You see virtually unbranded 48-sheets in Thailand all the time. Of course you do. Silver.

And in Singapore, photo-libraries consider Outdoor an essential component of their media mix. Yeah right.

Happy to be proved wrong, but I don't believe that 50% of the winners in the outdoor category ever ran as posters. If indeed they ran at all.


Anonymous said...

Sour grapes Scamp, sour grapes.

Scamp said...

Agreed. But my point still stands, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Suck it up. Plenty of ads I've done should have won awards but haven't.

Scamp said...

So you wouldn't change the rules to make it a level playing field, you'd just suck it up.

Anonymous said...

It is a disgrace, Scamp. I'm with you. Looking at Cannes winners suddenly feels like doing a search for asian advertising at

Simply revolting.

PH said...

It sucks, but that's awards for you. I had a lovely bit of work win a silver at one award do and not even get a nomination at a comparable event - how's that work? I'm sure the Levis stuff won't end the year empty-handed. How come you didn't blag a trip over there anyway?

J said...

I can't talk for other countries but I lived in Mexico and I never saw as much as a bloody flyer for Hot wheels never mind a poster campaign. It took bronze this year.

I'm not proud.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like Cannes to fill our empty souls with so much hate. Everything looks like it was done in photoshop, the products are all dream briefs, there's nothing in there that the average student team wouldn't think of. But then that's always been what Cannes is like. Which makes the demise of D&AD so very sad.

Anonymous said...

So what else did Jeremy say, Scamp?

Scamp said...

He said "and tell Andy to get back to work."

Scamp said...

Not really. It wasn't Jeremy.

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly he's absolutely right. Makes you wonder what sort of measures festivals should take in order prevent scam ads from being awarded.

This sad reality makes the notion that awards should be the basis on which a creative gets paid and promoted absolutely redundant and dangerous. Because if that's the case, we should all clean our desks for Asian teams to take over.

Anonymous said...

That Levi's stuff was lovely.

But I haven't heard ANYONE talk about them outside of advertising.

Brilliant. But they made absolutely no impact. A bit old fashioned, in that regard.

Anonymous said...

And I suppose that photo-library shit got hordes of people buying free royalty images like there was no tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Shall we discuss how work should be filtered then? Or do you think judges should be just more discerning?

I think some of them are not up to the task. Just look at the profiles for God's sakes:

"In her 22-year career, Arsenault has picked up numerous local and international awards, including a Coq d'Or for McDonald's"


Anonymous said...

Cock'd Or that is.

Stanley Johnson said...

No sour grapes from me, coz I had a finalist, but...there was a definite smell of scam this year.

Anonymous said...

let it go dude.
just let it go.
i've let my guts get twisted too many times when great work i've done has not been shortlisted because of some extractor fan, chip shop, no hint of any sort of brand thinking, bullshit, scam, visual coincidence malarkey, cheat, che guevara for the thousandth time shiit that's crashed the list because of some block-voting, head in the sand, eyes closed, fingers in the ears, no creative standards, rigged ballot shiit.
just let it go man.
i have.
it's the global boys.
shysters the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

If you think awards are the right way to measure our efforts you shouldn't be complaining at all.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, different take on this from me. I love scam ads. I think there's a level of difficulty in coming up with 'em, getting 'em produced and getting someone to run 'em - somewhere. Yeah, I know it's a totally different challenge from getting real work to run on real clients. But sometimes that's so hard/frustrating/nigh-on impossible that scam ads are a relief. No planner fiddling with them until they don't work any more, no account man telling you he can't sell 'em, no proper client making daft changes. I know proper work is harder to do and - crucially - harder to make happen, but there's something about the drive and initiative it takes to make them happen that I respect.

And it kind of is a level playing field - because anyone can do a scam ad. (While, for various reasons - where I work, who I am, who I know, blah blah - it's impossible for me to get a Levi's poster brief.)

Anonymous said...

Awards, awards, awards.......
I used to wonder why I didn't win awards until I sat on my first jury. Then I wondered how I'd ever won an award. They're a lottery.
I was fortunate enough to win 4 pencils for a Nike ad a few years back. That year the same ad failed to make the shortlist at BTAA (unlike the Tetley tea folk).
I used to take it seriously, now I punch the air when I've won a Creative Circle bronze certificate.
Talking about the Creative Circle, you won't find any scam foreign ads in the latest annual.

Anonymous said...

What a sad little comment "scam ads being a relief".

Suppose an architect would think like that 'Oh, yeah. I'm just going to design buildings that look amazing and win awards. Fuck construction regulations and all that, that's just very difficult and frustrating'. Regardless how beautiful his buildings are, that bloke is just a phony and he should be put in jail and prevented from working AT ALL.

Playing by the rules is hard but that's the way it should be, THAT'S WHY YOU GIVE A FUCKING AWARD WHEN A BRILLIANT RESULT IS ACHIEVED.

Mind you, I'm not saying teams that write scam ads should be put in jail.

Death row feels more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Nah, that's well over the top.

I'm sure lots of brillliant architects have been frustrated by building regs/overbearing clients etc and thought 'fuck it' - I'm going to create something that is my own vision and no-one else's. If it was a easy to create a 'scam building' as a scam ad, there'd be zillions of 'em.


A brilliant result HAS been achieved - sort of: a lovely ad has been created. The fact that it wasn't a real brief, it didn't run in mainstream media or whatever are separate issues.

Scam ads put junior creatives/creatives not working in decent agencies etc on a level playing field with creatives in better situations. To that extent, there's a kind of purity about the scam ad thing.

PH said...

I think JWT's Kit Kat ad was unlucky just to get a nomination

Anonymous said...

which ad is that?

Anonymous said...

The one with the Kit Kat as a pause button.

PH said...

Anonymous said...

That exact same idea has been done before. Not by an unrelated product in Malaysia in 1974, but by another biscuit brand, in the UK, within the last 10 years. It won something at Campaign press or poster. Maybe some nerd can dig it out.

Anonymous said...

Funny though - it's okay when people we like do scam ads. I seem to remember on this blog a while ago Scamp lauding a pretty famous duo as the 'best print team in London'. Forgetting that a few years earlier that same team was caught red handed in and awards scam. Altering entries to D&AD I seem to remember. But they're good guys - and pretty influential in the London scene as it goes - so I guess it's alright.

And yes, damn right I'm staying anon on this one.

PH said...

Maybe that's why then eh.

Anonymous said...

Nice clean idea but a bit too easy, isn't it,PH?

And concerning Paul & Nigel, how's altering an entry regarded a doing Scam ads?

But I do agree what you say previous anon funny how we tend to make exceptions for ads or people we like.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you were referring to P&N, right?

There are people suggesting those HN ads that just won never ran as posters. I've seen in in the paper and magazines but never as posters. Could it be?

PH said...

Anon 3.38
You think? Me think that simplicity = great advertising.

Anonymous said...

I do think simplicity is great in advertising.

I think kit kat is ok, but it's not really that hard to end up there. The proof being, it's been done at least twice.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.32:

You wouldn't have seen them as posters out and about because they won as Large Scale Point of Purchase. As in, they ran in store.

Anonymous said...

Pussy anon 3:19 PM

People like P&N have built a career from real, solid and fucking brilliant work and no coward hiding behind the fog of anonymity will change that.

Anonymous said...

Cheers, Anon 3:48 PM.
I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Is everybody at Cannes then?
Or are you simply happy with the outcome?

PH said...

I'm in Cardiff.
It's raining and there's no chilled Rosé.
Just Strongbow.

Anonymous said...

Stop it, ph.
I'm sure you have good tanning beds in Cardiff.

Anonymous said...

honey monster should just win every year. and that is a fucking fact.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this in my hotel lobby in Cannes.

Perhaps winning Cannes Lions shouldn't be about the brilliance of the work. Perhaps it should be about the tricky game of winning a Cannes LIon.

Let's play to win and scam those fuckers to death next year, turn Cannes into the joke it's on the way to being and make D&AD respond by returning to its previous non-scam high standards.

Cannes will die/become an irrelevance and we can halve our year's entry fee budget and spend it on smack.

Who's in?

Anonymous said...

I'd say, let's stop sending our stuff to Cannes at all. But that's not going to happen either. Too much to lose for the likes of Mr Cabral et al.

Anonymous said...

So what?

You've got a really decent Levis campaign. Everyone really likes it. Why do you need to be endlessly slapped on the back for it?

You're just as bad as the foreigners who use their nichey brands to do awards ad. I'll bet every ad you do, you do with both eyes on what you think will win awards rather than just doing a great ad. And yes there is a difference. The fact you're bitterly ranting on, attempting to decipher the juries thought process proves this.

Surely you're better than this?

Anonymous said...

Also, you are joking about thinking that McDonald's phone box condensation ad is good? Surely? I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not...

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you are being a little harsh, previous anon.

I do think, Scamp has a point and many of the comments here reflect that.

I agree with you that good work shouldn't need validation from award juries but at the same time it's unfair that flawed work gets to win. said...

I feel for you Scamp, it must be irritating.
However, since the public never pay any attention to these kind of awards and they'll only ever remember things they've actually seen, just see it for what it is, a bit of advertising twat back-patting.
The McDonalds one was the nicest one there and even that only made me think of warmed-up soggy salad! (which is probably the real product truth).
Still, we'll take an award if anyone's got one going?
[insert predictable 'biggest twat award' comment here]

Scamp said...

Come off it, 6.57. The McDonalds ad communicates a strong selling point with wit and intelligence, and does it so simply that it doesn't even need a line. What more do you want?

(Oh, and it was for a real client, and actually ran. Oh dear. I AM sounding bitter. Guess I should stop that kind of talk now. At least until the press awards come out...)

Scamp said...

6.44 asks why I need to be "endlessly slapped on the back."

Well, the deficiencies of my personality are well known to anyone that knows me.

However, I think the question is a bit unfair. In case you hadn't noticed, awards bring with them slightly more benefits in our profession than just the back-slaps.

Rightly or wrongly, awards can mean more money, promotions, better briefs, a move to a better agency... and you'd be crazy not to care about those things, surely?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Scamp on this one, any decent team should be striving to win awards, it's a way of getting respect/rise/move as Scamp says.

It doesn't help when most of the winners are bloody scams.

Anonymous said...

Press Winners are out, Scamp.
Do you still have a pulse?

Anonymous said...

Bring on the Telly!

Anonymous said...

To everyone who thought my 3.19 post was hard on those brilliant fellas (3.50, another coward hiding behind anonymity) who didn't scam (I sit corrected) but altered their entries. I'm learning from your example. I'm reducing the size of logos, changing headlines and entering my shelf strip in the poster category. And, yes, I'll happily remain anon - because then you won't know who the fuck I am when it comes past you in a jury. I learn from your example - thank you.

Anonymous said...

How about insistence that the media schedule is attached to the entry?

Just maybe, an entry for the Chungking Mansions Donkey Sanctuary could well be legit, if there's been proof of 48 sheet supersites, series bookings in the South China Morning Post etc

Anonymous said...

Did you see this Gold-winning entry from Malaysia?:

I'm pretty sure they did it for real.

Anonymous said...

On a completely different note (i'm bored of this thread) did anyone see Alan Sugar bad mouthing 'Cog' last night on room 101?

"Might win some awards but wont sell any cars?"

Imbecile? Or does he have a point?

Anonymous said...

he's no imbecile that's for sure.

but he's not a man of the brand

when was the last time you saw an "amstrad" logo.

Anonymous said...

The gran prix of unfairness goes to... P&G client of the year.

Unilever did AXE
and all the Dove real stuff,

when Tide print
was enough to change P&G perception
from reality.

It's pure envy.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe the energiser work won the grand prix. Rubbish line.

Ted said...

Ciao Scamp.

Less then1 month ago, I was in the ADC*E jury print&poster.

None of us discussed about fake/true campaigns, but
we asked ourelves many times: is this REALLY a poster? Is it the proper destination of this piece or is an evident trick? The bank image campaign, for instance, is ridiculous to me.

I wonder why they did not the same in Cannes.

Anonymous said...

"Come off it, 6.57. The McDonalds ad communicates a strong selling point with wit and intelligence, and does it so simply that it doesn't even need a line. What more do you want?"

Oh my god, you are serious...oh dear.

So familiar, so underwhelming. Do you really really wish you'd done that???

Anonymous said...

I work in Asia and can indeed verify that the continent is choking beneath a blanket of scam.

Anonymous said...

Alan Sugar looks at branding the same way an Asian clerk looks at his shop. He couldn't care less if the shop is cool or nice or even clean, all he cares about is making sure items are overpriced enough. He cares fuck all about the rest.

Would you really care about what a person like that has to say about advertising? I don't.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:38 AM
Thank you, mate.
The doubt was eating ourselves up.
No seriously.

Anonymous said...

Is changing the layout and running the ad once in a regional newspaper constitute it as a 'Scam' ad?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, come on, let's button this down. What exactly does everyone think constitutes a 'scam ad'?

Anonymous said...

It depends.

For example, HN Sale "posters" I've seen are fly posters buried in some obscure section of their food hall.

I presume if they can do that and win awards, why shouldn't everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Jeremy can suck that up.

HN follows the letter of the law (as do all scam ads) but they don't follow the spirit.

If Jeremy C has something against 'scam' them he should give back all the dodgy HN poster lions DDB have won over the last ten years.

Anonymous said...

i worked in sa for a few well-known and highly awarded agencies. one shop was so hell bent on winning that it bought its own newspaper. ads would run once as b&w quarter-pagers, only to magically re-appear at cannes as full-colour 54x10s.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there an episode involving Belford and Roberts at O&M and Samaritans?

I believe they changed the layouts that ran and then entered them into the awards (and won before being found out)

Surely, this would not have been a problem if these layouts did run even if it was in the Outer Hebrides Gazette.

Right or wrong?

Anonymous said...

You can clean up the layout as long as it doesn't modify the idea, I guess.

That Alka seltzer campaign has been disqualified from the competition all together so I guess, there's still hope for honesty.

Just saw the Press winners and I'm bored to dead of seeing the same patterns year after year. Same brands, same collage techniques, same briefs over and over and over again.

I guess Craig Davies (wanker) is right. UK's work is no where near that. Thank fucking God.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately - it's cheating. Scamp is angry and bitter because it looks like a lot of that has taken place at Cannes this year but lets face it - it happens a lot closer to home. Creative teams have built huge reputations on the awards they have won, but it seems some of those awards were gained by not being altogether honest. I worked up North years and years ago and a couple of really good creatives there actually did ads for a chip shop. They were real and they ran and they were great - but when the client is your Uncle Stan it's not like he's going to be quite as hard on your work as a Marketing Manager who is trying to second guess his Marketing Director who was brought up in the bad old days of P&G. So when the chippy ads win it's no surprise that the guys in the same category who didn't win after working their balls off to do something great for a real client get bitter and angry. I guess my rambling point is this. I love ads and there have been some great scam ads done where I really admire the thinking and the craftsmanship (like the chippy ads years ago). But what I admire more is when awarded work has solved real briefs, navigated battallions of clients and run in real media and has managed through all of that to remain brilliant. Scam ads, altering entries and 96 sheet posters that were actually a bit of POS hidden away at the back of a store devalue the award shows they are entered in, damage the credibility of our industry and most of all flip the bird to the truly talented creatives out there who have labored to do it on real business. So B&R or whoever it is - I love your work, but I have absolutely no respect for you.

Rant over - sorry bout that.

Anonymous said...

Sad, ain't it?
And not only that, our real chances in Film come from an Argentine.

We are so finished.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Great to know you're still alive, mate.

Anonymous said...

I think the McDonalds ad says sweaty veg. Not fresh as they were probably intending.

There was a poster with salad growing on it that said fresh. But think it was scam.

Scamp, does this one not suffer from the hidden flaw you were on about? Perhaps it really needs an endline?

Anonymous said...

Prime example:

My pal works for an agency Singapore. One day he was shopping in his local supermarket when he spotted something rather odd. Stuck to the back of a shelf was a scam ad, still with the crop marks on it. They even were so blatant to leave the title: 'AWARD ENTRY VERSION' printed on the top.

Crafty bastards eh?

Imagine trying that in Tesco's on Goodge Street.

Anonymous said...


Those matchbox ads are poosnip. Real or not.

Scamp said...

Fresh veg contains moisture, which creates condensation in the packet... so the ad is correct. Unless i'm missing something? I'm not a scientist and I don't really like vegetables.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

I've got a good idea.
I'll make a film and enter it for the Oscars. Though it will never show in any cinema or ever be released on DVD.

It's misleading and though it won't be, it should be stopped. Why not add a new category set for "work that ran less than 5 times" and let real work be judged against real work; not free concepts in disguise.

Anonymous said...

I fucking love you man

Anonymous said...

Just a question to you Scamp, but what are your thoughts on the same idea winning awards for competing clients albeit in different categories?

This won a bronze in Outdoor:
whereas this won a silver in Press:

I personally feel the elegance of the art direction for the Panasonic deserved the award and the clumsiness of the Cannon should have meant it didn't win an award.

Because they are in different categories, does this make it OK for both to be recognised? I just ask because if we had seen the ads next to each other, how do we think they would have been treated?

Scamp said...

Excellent spot, Blake.

I agree with you - the Panasonic is much better.

I guess they both win awards because it's two different juries, each unaware of what work the other is seeing.

Rupert James said...

The scam problem also extends to TV work in Asia, where the powerful force of face-saving compromise (which permeates throughout business in the region) allows many agencies to agree to air whatever the client wants in return for being able to do a director's cut to send to awards.

Anonymous said...

c'mon, man... Cannes is full of scam since forever.
Cannes is paid by scam. without scam there would only be air, plastic and paper lions.

The Ruud said...

The great scam debate. Being from Malaysia, it's always depressing to see scams win big in any awards show.

Young creatives here only have metal on their mind and it's sad to see real work suffer because they'd rather concentrate on awards entries.

People constantly complain that local clients, being Asian, are more conservative. Hence they won't buy brave work. But this mentality just encourages the vicious cycle.