Saturday, June 07, 2008

47% Of You Are Insane

I'm mystified. Totally mystified.

The result of this week's poll (which was reader-generated, thanks to Anonymous for the suggestion) shows that 47% of you would rather work on a brand that isn't known for good advertising.

Basically, you are displaying a completely irrational preference for an unknown quantity, compared to the excellent chance you would have of doing great work and winning awards that there is on a VW or a Sony.

Unbelievably, only 3 people voted for Cadbury's. (One of them was me). Let me just spell out the full extent of my disbelief here. Less than a month ago this brand's advertising won a black pencil at D&AD.


If you were a striker, you would want to receive the ball six yards out, with only the keeper to beat, wouldn't you? And you'd definitely prefer that to receiving the ball in a position no one has previously scored from, wouldn't you?

I'm just at a loss as to what's going on here. Please explain.

Previous poll results:
Friday Poll No.23 - What Do Scamp Readers Do For A Living?
Friday Poll No.22 - What Time Do You Leave Work?
Friday Poll No.21 - Does Juan Earn One Million Pounds A Year?
Friday Poll No.20 - How Much Do You Earn?
Friday Poll No.19 - What Do You Think Of Our Trade Rag?
Friday Poll No.18 - Should A Creative Look Creative?
Friday Poll No.17 - Ad Of The Year 2007
Friday Poll No.16 - Do Difficult People Do The Best Work?
Friday Poll No.15 - Who Is Responsible For Ineffectiveness?
Friday Poll No.14 - Your Personal Success Record
Friday Poll No.13 - Which Department Is The Most Insane?
Friday Poll No.12 - What Music Do You Listen To While Working?
Friday Poll No.11 - What Time Do You Get In?
Friday Poll No.10 - Who Drinks The Most?
Friday Poll No.9 - Press v Online
Friday Poll No.8 - Success Or Glory?
Friday Poll No.7 - Is Reading Blogs A Waste Of Time?
Friday Poll No.6 - Job Satisfaction
Friday Poll No.5 - Festive Greetings
Friday Poll No.4 - Ad Of The Year 2006
Friday Poll No.3 - What's Your Favourite Medium To Work In?
Friday Poll No.2 - Agency Of The Year
Friday Poll No.1 - Which Department Is The Most Overpaid?


Lunar BBDO said...

I'm at a loss over on my blog, too.

High Five!

Anonymous said...

tsk, tsk scamp. awards aren't everything. and to continue your football analogy, wouldn't you rather bang one in from midfield than merely get a touch to something that was already goal-bound?

i have had success with both types of brands and doing great work in a dull category is a lot more satisfying AND better for your career. we've all got tons of awards for VW ;-)

Anonymous said...

Do you know what the last great ad was for Cadbury before 'Gorilla'? Because I don't.

Doesn't that prove the 47% were right? Juan took a slightly shabby brand in ad terms and made it mega-famous and boosted its sales gazillion-fold with one great tv ad.

Who wouldn't want to do that?

Anonymous said...

previous just proved why we are right and you are wrong scamp.

and did so with an almost Trottian rational argument.

i'm so funny!

Anonymous said...

The first two commenters have summed it up perfectly. Annoyingly I have nothing to add except support.

Anonymous said...

99% of those who voted disagree with you Scamp. And besides Cadbury is all about making great films and you have never done that;-)

Anonymous said...

you're a bit obsessed with black pencils, scamp. freudian phallic nonsense. yawn.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Scamp, it's really obvious.

If I worked on Cadbury's, as you think we all should, my work would be standing next to BLACK PENCIL WINNING creative for the same brand. If I worked on Honda, my efforts would automatically be compared to Cog and Choir.

If I did a great ad for Cillit Bang, though, people would be amazed. I'd be lauded for creating a great ad where none has gone before. No one is surprised when Honda puts out a good ad, are they?

Scamp said...

Yes but you have a 1% chance of doing great work on Cillit Bang. Maybe less. Would you really take that brief over the next Honda brief? Of course you wouldn't.

The proof is that thousands of Creatives want to get jobs at W&K, yet the type of agencies that do Cillit Bang find it hard to recruit people.

Is that what you all tell your headhunters? Forget DDB. Forget Fallon. Take me to the place that does the really shit advertising.

Balls you do.

Anonymous said...

So who would you rather be scamp, the person who came up with the first great honda, cadbury's or sony ads or the ones who came after? I think that's the question rather than cillit bang or honda.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you're mystified says an awful lot about you Scamp. And none of it good.

Why would anyone want to work for a brand where the identity and tone is already established? On an unknown brand there's a real chance for fresh thinking, for getting to the meat of the task and for really doing some good, original work. Hopefully. And who says it has to be Cillit Bang? It could be something quite decent.

It's not all about awards you know. Has it ever occurred to you - just once even - that some people in this game of ours actually care about advertising and its function? That is, you should understand that for many of us it's not just about showing off and being 'creative' and winning meaningless awards.

As for your statement here:

"The proof is that thousands of Creatives want to get jobs at W&K, yet the type of agencies that do Cillit Bang find it hard to recruit people."

Once again, you sound like a schoolboy. A very shallow schoolboy at that.

Scamp said...

Well, actually that isn't the question.

But what the hell:

I would be equally happy to have done the first great Honda ad (Cog) or the second one (Grrr). Wouldn't you?

I'm not sure if being first is that relevant.

Who did the first great Nike ad? I don't know. All that matters is what I could do today on Nike. Something good, hopefully.

Is your question about 'following in the footsteps of giants?'

True that sometimes it's not easy. Writing the next Cadbury's ad would not be easy.

But surely 'tis better to follow in the footsteps of giants than of turds.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a loss over your disbelief. The Economist was crap until David Abbott took a look at the front cover and started a great campaign. Sony wasn't much to talk about (ok a few nice ads from BMP) until Fallon grabbed it by the horns and made it cool. Cadburys was sponsoring Coronation Street for gods sake until Cabral made Gorilla. What that says to me is the real opportunity to A. Make your name and B. win some awards as your so obsessed with (rightly so in my opinion) is by doing something new and different on a pretty anonymous brand.

Everyone remembers David Abbott for the Economist campaign not the scores of creative teams since who have won awards for the brand. And Cadburys/cabral goes together too, as does Tom and Walt and Dunlop or Guinness for that matter.

No offence to your damn fine Levis ads, which I think is the best Poster campaign I've seen this year, but they are the latest Levis ads.

Scamp said...

That was to last-anon-but-one.

Here is reply to previous anon:

"Why would anyone want to work for a brand where the identity and tone is already established?" you ask.

Well, I'll spare you any more of my schoolboyish opinions, and stick closely to the observable facts.

I've worked at DDB and now BBH, and I can report that the VW and Levi's briefs attract many more teams than the briefs for clients who haven't previously had good advertising.

Fact. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

You're coming across as surprisingly naïve, Scamp. Giving a brand a new voice is how you win Black Pencils. The Economist, Honda and Cadbury's are absolute proof of this.

Mind you, if you run the same poll this time next year, I'd vote to work on The Economist. AMV's current work is so dumbed-down and obvious that they'll need a new approach to rescue the brand. I've had this great idea about posters that demonstrate a shared intelligence with the reader... yeah... would look great with white reversed out of red... said...

People want to feel satisfied for doing good work for an unexpected brand rather than failing to reach the already high standards of work made for VW etc.
That's my take on it and yes, I was one of the 47%..


Rana said...

In this case I must defend the popular vote too ...

Holly said it best. This is a field where a personal goal must surely be to develop something new and groundbreaking, not to just live up to the last award-winning creation.

Anonymous said...

re Scamp at 10.21

I agree with what you said, when I was at AMV and it was time to present a new batch of Economist ads to the client, David Abbott and then Peter Souter's office was full to the brim with Economist ads from the Creative dept. And when we all got a chance to write new Guinness ads there must have been a two foot pile of scripts. But the point I was making is this, to really make your name you have to create something great and new and that means on a brand that has not produced great work. Over time it stands out more.

Anonymous said...

Your answer to my question "Why would anyone want to work for a brand where the identity and tone is already established?" was the following:

"I've worked at DDB and now BBH, and I can report that the VW and Levi's briefs attract many more teams than the briefs for clients who haven't previously had good advertising."

Which tells me what? Nothing. And it certainly doesn't answer the question. All you're telling me is that, in your experience, more people wanted to work on those high profile accounts. It doesn't tell me why they did. Of course, I can guess why....

So go on then - apart from being easy-life, glory-seeking dumbbells, why would anyone (and let's assume, we're talking about people who actually give a shit about the actual function of advertising and want to make a difference) want to work on a brand where the identity, the tone and the creative has been established by others? It's lazy, it's easy, it's shallow and it's completely self-serving.

You know, the more I read this blog - and the more I read your opinons - the more I realise that you really don't have a clue. 40-years-old? A Creative Director? You can't be. You just can't be.

Scamp said...

Sadly, I am.

Look, you all SAY what you would rather work on, but we agree that what creatives actually DO work on is the opposite.

I don't see what more there is to add.

Last anon, you ask 'why' in a plaintive kind of way.

All I can say is you've got it badly wrong if you think it's lazy and shallow to do the next VW or Levi's ad.

It's not. It's bloody difficult. Standards are high. Expectations are high. There's a hell of a lot of competition. It's challenging and usually fun.

You've got more chance of pushing the industry forward, doing great work, winning awards, working with great photographers and directors, working with smart clients etc than you have - on average - with brands that don't currently have good advertising.

That's some of the why.

Anonymous said...

Scamp: "Look, you all SAY what you would rather work on, but we agree that what creatives actually DO work on is the opposite."

Well, that's what you asked us - what we would rather work on. That's what your poll was about, soliciting our opinion. That you didn't like the answers the majority of us gave makes no difference to that.

Or are you suggesting that we're actually lying? Nice.

Oh, and when you say: "You've got more chance of pushing the industry forward, doing great work, winning awards, working with great photographers and directors, working with smart clients etc than you have - on average - with brands that don't currently have good advertising."

All you do is confirm what I said earlier - that you know bugger all about advertising and that you are, in fact, a schoolboy. Read that paragraph back to yourself. Do you see anything in it that might make me - and others - think you're just vain and shallow?

Anonymous said...

And again, 40-years-old? Are you sure? You seem so very much younger....

Amelia said...

I was one of the people who you think are insane (which makes me smile, but happy that I am not alone at least!)

I'm a Planner not a Creative, but I can totally say hand on heart I would much much rather be involved in the turning around of a brand and its advertising than simply a cog in machine where someone else has already done the heavy lifting.

Maybe its different for Creatives, but not convinced.

(ps. on a separate note, it bugs me that 99% of people who comment on their blog don't seem to have the courage of their convictions to leave their name...)

Amelia said...

Comment above should read of course: "99% of people who comment on THIS blog..."

Rachel said...

whenever we do work for our book, everything is compared, thats too cadburys... thats too honda... thats too walkers... everyones looking for new fresh exciting and with products that have shit advertising before them (or at least none memorable) you have a bigger chance of making an impression and doing something that might get you an award. John and Chris set the task of creating a new cadburys ad to everyone on our course and dear god did it cause problems, you thinks its easy to come up with 'something that brings joy to people'? its really hard!

Anonymous said...

i'm an account guy, and i'm going to side with scamp here.

accounts that live and breathe on shit advertising, live and breathe on that for a reason, and it's generally not due to a lack of good ideas from the creative department.

therefore, for a creative, i'd have to imagine it's best to gravitate to the accounts where your ideas are welcomed and accepted!

Anonymous said...

account guy, agreed. you can't sell pearls to swine. but be open. you never know. until you try. good example: bbh's axe/lynx work has opened up an entire category that was previously creatively dead. p&g want cool because it sells.

the flip side of what scamp is advocating is getting caught doing "brilliant" work in a category where the best stuff is long done. or one that's become an anachronism. like sporting goods. nike and adidas do great stuff. but as an award winner it's kind of played out. the industry is burned out on it.

Scamp said...

To the anon who doesn't believe I'm 40 (well, I do LOOK younger...)

You ask if I'm accusing people of lying.

The answer is yes, I am.

As account guy points out, in every advertising agency, you will find far more creatives working on that agency's thoroughbred accounts than you will on the dogs. They only work on those when they're told to.

What people really think is generally indicated by what they do, not what they say. Isn't it?

Maybe the odd one or two creatives actually request the Cillit Bang brief not the Honda brief, but not 47%. No way.

Scamp said...

The same goes for planners by the way.

I've seen the look in your eye when you tell me you're moving onto VW, and I've seen the look in your eye when you tell me you're getting the catfood account. And those looks are very, very different.

Honourable exception for Amelia.

Lunar BBDO said...

I was talking to some footballers the other day and 47% of them said they'd rather play for Dagenham and Redbridge than Arsenal. I was surprised, but they said I was a vain schoolboy and that it was obvious that any decent footballer would want to make a huge difference to an unfashionable team that take the piss-easy route of trying to break into Arsenal.

I felt very chastened. Of course they were right.

It was the same when I talked to some jobbing actors: big studio Scorsese movie or Paris Hilton's latest? The latter, of course. It's easy doing good stuff for Scorsese and no one gives you any credit anyway.

The 47% would like to think that when they were sitting in their office and the traffic guy came in with two briefs, 120" Levi's cinema or 10" Cillit Bang radio, they'd do the honourable thing and take the latter.

But in reality, they wouldn't.

(and come on, anons: sign your comments. It's like Bullmore said: a comment only has value when you know who it's from)

Anonymous said...

Lunar: The 47% would like to think that when they were sitting in their office and the traffic guy came in with two briefs, 120" Levi's cinema or 10" Cillit Bang radio, they'd do the honourable thing and take the latter."

The thing that annoys me most about Scamp is that he's nowhere near as bright as he thinks he is. The same goes for you.

Don't you recall what this is about? That a lot of people responded to the question - in poll form - "Which brand would you most like to work on?" It didn't say - as you and the schoolboy would love to believe - "Would you rather work for Cillit Bang or Apple?"

These people chose the option "A brand not known for good advertising." Which, of course, meant that they would like to do work for a brand (that could even be a credible one) not known for good advertising (duh) - so they could do good work, or be challenged, or to make their own mark. That's a world of difference from the stupid scenarios you're putting forward.

If you look back at the comments here, the motivations for choosing that option have been explicitly stated a few times.

So I don't quite understand why you and Scamp are continuing to falsely represent the real picture. Is it simply so you can present an air of superiority? So you can snigger like a couple of junior creatives? So Scamp can call people liars just because their views don't chime with his own? So you can indulge yourself?

Whichever it is, you're doing yourself no favours.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, most people who answered this poll probably do work for a client who isn't know for good ads. So er...I guess they're all happy then, living the dream.

Don't get me wrong, doing a "cogs" for Andrex would be amazing but chances are that isn't going to happen and the questiuon was "What brand would you like to work on?" not "What brand would you like to do good work on?"

So yeah sitting in your office what breif would you like the traffic dude to walk in with? A brand that isn't know for good advertising? Cool, that's the life I'm living.

P.S. I'm The Anonymous who suggested this poll. Hope you enjoyed it x.

Mange said...

If im 100% true to myself. If my CD just past by and gave my the opportunity to be able to chose brief, I would go for Cadbury, Sony, etc. But in my dreams I would chose to turn around someones bad ads to something good. Of course.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.30:

I think there are different ways to interpret this question. Ultimately, yes, it'd be great to take Cillit Bang to Gold Pencil status/quintuple its sales and much better than doing the same for Nike. I guess in those terms, given one's total dream scenario, then sure, the less good brand is best.

Alternatively, if you don't currently have a job, you might also prefer to work on the less good brands because the jobs that involve doing that are more common than the ones that involve the big brands.

But if you're just waiting around for a brief this afternoon and you could choose what dropped in your lap, perhaps a Levi's would be better than a Lidl.

I think Scamp and Lunar might be talking about scenario three.

On another point, you seem awfully upset about all this. It's a nice day, maybe you should go and play in the park for a while.

Anonymous said...

People probably just thought it was the clever answer.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So much anger...

I'm one of the 47% Scamp, and the brands I work on are, as you delicately put it "not known for good advertising." Though Lord knows, I try.

Why did I vote the way I did? Mainly because I'd relish the challenge of turning a brands ads round to the very high standards of "balls", "cog" and "gorilla" (actually, I'd have loved to written just one really good "white on red", but never mind).

I never assumed, like some above, that working on brands with a heritage of great work (Levi's et al) is easy. If that were the case then all Levi's work would rule – which it doesn't (your recent posters are return to form; "moon bathing" was pretty poor.)

So of course, I'd love to work on Honda (especially now) or Sony. But what gets me onto the train to work every morning is the hope that just one of our clients will recognise that they could be doing something creatively exciting and effective, instead of asking for the URL to be bigger.

And that's no lie.

Anonymous said...

Forget Cillit Bang.

You're a CD on Levi's. And still you'd rather go work on Cadbury's. Because Juan Cabral did a good one-off ad?

I feel bad for Levi's.

Scamp said...

Well, I'm not a CD on Levi's, in fact, I just did some ads for them. The CD's were Alex & Adrian.

The reason I picked Cadbury's as the brand I would most like to work on is because I think it's the best TV opportunity in the UK right now... and as some kind anon pointed out most of my awards so far have been for press!

Sure, Trucks wasn't as good as Gorilla, but 'Joy' is still a great proposition and I'm betting the next one could be a cracker.

Anonymous said...

trucks wasn't just not as good as Gorilla, it was woeful ab initio. it never stood a chance of being any good, because it was a terrible tv idea. like something a six year old boy would suggest. comically bad. just so we're clear.

and btw, nobody is suggesting that going to greys to work on poo accounts is a great career move. clearly not. but as gorilla demonstrated, doing something fresh in a rotten category gets a lot more industry attention than adding yet another gem for a brand that ANYONE could do a great ad for. (clearly not anyone but you get the idea)

Anonymous said...

"and btw, nobody is suggesting that going to greys to work on poo accounts is a great career move. clearly not. but as gorilla demonstrated, doing something fresh in a rotten category gets a lot more industry attention than adding yet another gem for a brand that ANYONE could do a great ad for. (clearly not anyone but you get the idea)"


Scamp - any chance of you growing up?

Anonymous said...

Surely this isn't about the brands, but about the clients. Much as I love the 47%ers passion for "turning around" those brands with tired, staid advertising, the truth is that for most of those brands that is what the client wants.
I'm guessing that the reason that the brands mentioned above (Sony, Guinness, Cadbury, The Economist) have so many creatives submitting work for them is that there is a chance that the client might actually BUY it.
Just watch - when the marketing director of Cadbury gets promoted/poached/fired and moves on, the advertising will soon return to banality.

Anonymous said...

I think you're footballing analogy is wrong. I see it like this:

Would you rather be in Man Utd surrounded by the world's best players, where you know all you sort of need to do it turn up to win. Or, would you rather be at somewhere like Spurs or Newcastle. You may not win stuff straight away but you know that you'll learn the trade, become a legend if you work hard, and if you do win something it'll be truly magical - not just another trophy.

The results don't really surprise me. It shows people wanting to make a mark, and not just follow stuff that has happened before. Good on everyone who voted.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably a bit late, but I think I'll jump into this debate.

I'm a copywriter in Malaysia and I started out wanting to work on big brands and FMCGs - brands I felt I could do great work on. However, when I worked at "international" agencies, Mccann, O&M, I realised that I was just another cog in the wheel and everything I did was subjected to layers and layers of bureaucracy and "regional" bullshit. Furthermore, you are expected to have fantastic ideas for everything, every day.

My partner and I left a very promising career, sleepless, burnt out and disillusioned, for a shit agency, with shit accounts. The thing is, we're allowed more space to explore our ideas now, than when we were part of the "system". And our work speaks for itself. We are getting a greater opportunity to have our work submitted into awards, and therefore have a greater opportunity to win awards.

It helps also that the shit agency is so hungry, nay, famished for talented (and even semi-talented) creative teams, that stupid money is being thrown at us.

Who doesn't want the glory of winning as an underdog?

K, that's it. Thanks for listening. :)

Anonymous said...

If awards represented anything more than the rather dubious tastes of a group of sychophantic, often quite stupid people with agendas of their own, it would be worth winning one. I've been on a few juries and it's an eye opener.

Anonymous said...

You have totaly missed the trick Scamp! Where was Cadbury's before Fallon. Where was Honda Before W&K.
It's far more rewarding making a brands work award winning than than hanging on the coat tails... Scamp!

Anonymous said...

I think if the question was 'which brand would you most like to win tonnes of awards for' then a lot of the comments would be more relevant.

Of course we all want to turn Surf or KFC into a client that doesn't produce god-awful shite. The higher degree of difficulty means the achievement is obviously greater/more admirable.

But that wasn't the question.

Back to the footie analogy: would you as a footballer rather play regularly for Man U or Blackburn? I don't imagine there's many who would select the latter.

But would you rather win the treble with Man U or Blackburn? Yes, the latter. It'd be ten times the achievement.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, does that mean back in the 50s you would have passed up the VW brief in favour of Ford's?

Perhaps it highlights an unwillingness to take a risk or step into the unknown?

As long as the client invests and supports new thinking, I couldn't give a shit about what the product or brand is.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, you really do take the buscuit

how can you be so blaise and credit a 2002 produced ad with a 2008 number one song?

Excuse me if I refrain from reading this piss poor excuse for a blog any longer.

I stronly reccommend others to follow suit.

]-[appy Thought said...

You should have put Nike as an option, I would have voted for it.

I think its a great romantic ideal to do amazing work for a company not famed for doing great ads, but I also believe that, on the whole, clients get the advertising they deserve. If Cillit Bang went to W+K or BBH with a brief they'd get some interesting work given back to them I'm sure, but they don't want it because they play it safe.

Some anonymous or another mentioned that before Gorilla there hasn't been a really great Cadbury's ad and I'm with them on that, but I think that the votes show is that if we were given the opportunity to turn a stale client around and do some kick ass work we'd jump at the chance, because it would prove that good work works and we'd get some genuine creative kudos. After all, someone persuaded Honda to make their first progressive ad, as did Fallon with Cadbury's. We live for these shining moments when the planets align and awesomeness happens. Don't we?

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

As much as strikers love penalties, they prefer to score goals from their own ability and skills.

Your football comparison wasn't great. Yeah you could make good work for Sony or VW, but you will never be THE creative that turned the brand into an ad hitmaker.

Cmon creatives, where's your sense of ambition and challenge! ;)

Anonymous said...

rjhayter 11:49

Who the hell are you? I'm rjhayter and have been for almost 39 years. Stop taking my name in vain.

Sell! Sell! said...

I am one of the insane 47%.
It's not that I don't enjoy working on a brand with a track record of 'great' advertising, because it is good fun. It's just that I get much more satisfaction from turning around one that doesn't. Yes, the odds are longer, but that's the interesting bit. It's thinking bigger than some shiny creative awards on a shelf. VW, Hertz, Nike, Levis, Bud, (got)Milk, Economist etc. - at some point someone did something that made those great advertising brands. That's what I'm interesting in doing. It's really encouraging and heartening to find out so many others feel the same way. Nice one people.

Anonymous said...


Scamp struggles to write good/effective ads for clients who haven't got an award winning logo to stick in the corner.

ITV springs to mind. Isn't that what you are creative director on Scamp?

O'Keefe should put you on the next woolworths brief. Who knows, you might win a black pencil on it!

Also, who are Lunar bbdo? Are they like the team Saatchi?

Anonymous said...

the ugly friend is always the better fuck, the pretty one is just good to tell your mates about.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, Scamp. But your reasoning is in question here.

Most of us want to work on a brand not known for good advertising because that's our job and our talent. We actually like what we do. Sure, it's not saving lives but It's a challenge and a bit thrill to do good work for a brand that needs help. Winning awards, and all of the other ego-industry crap is, or at least should be secondary.

Otherwise, what an empty existence we would have; chasing after stupid awards that mean nothing at the end of the day rather than putting a hard day's working doing what we're paid to do, and doing it great. Never chase anything. Chasing after awards and easy clients isn't what it's all about. If it is, you'll find yourself very unhappy in the end.