Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Down with Fake Ads

For those of you earthlings that don't know anything about the world of advertising unless you see it on Mad Men, I will divulge to you a little secret. Many of the commercials that win awards at "prestigious" advertising shows (where the judges basically parcel out the prizes to their own agencies), are actually fake. Sometimes they are produced with the complicity of the client, which buys them a time slot at four am in a local station in Wyoming, so they can compete for a Gold Lion at Cannes. This is the case, for instance, of the award winning campaign for Crest, which Procter & Gamble clients approved but would not be caught dead actually showing en masse to its consumers. Sometimes, however, somebody forgets to advise the client, like in the recently notorious case of DDB Brazil, which submitted an incredibly stupid and tasteless fake ad for their client, WWF (not the World Wrestling Federation; the World Wildlife Fund, the one with the Panda).
First, it was a print ad that caused concern and commotion. Then it turned out the agency had produced an even stupider and more offensive TV spot for submission at awards shows. Besides the sickening use of footage of the 9/11 terrorist attack on NY, the ad is offensive because it is beyond moronic. It puts the client in the worst possible light. It is the work of provincial, narrow-minded, ignorant, clueless, Third World idiots, and I say this with every intention to offend.
Now, the first award show to ban fake ads is the prestigious One Show. 
It was about time.
Fake ads are easy. Usually they are glib and facile and really pose no creative challenge. The real challenge is to win an award with a real ad that is seen by millions of people. Real creativity is coming up with ads that have passed through the daunting gauntlet of corporate approvals, real marketing strategies and real media buys (i.e, the nine circles of Hell x 827). Those are the ads that truly deserve awards.
The moment fake ads are banned from competition, this will become painfully apparent. There will be a dearth of creative excellence and, who knows, if everybody else follows the One Show's example, perhaps clients will finally shed their creative inhibitions (I'm being tactful here), take some risks and approve ads that truly deserve creative awards.

No comments:

Post a Comment