D&AD urged to act on award cheats

LONDON - Leading industry figures are being mobilised in a campaign to crack down on awards cheats in the wake of the scandal surrounding the creatives Paul Belford and Nigel Roberts.

John Hegarty, the chairman of this year's jury for the Campaign Press Awards, which the pair were found to have doctored entries for, is calling for tough sanctions to be imposed on anyone cheating.

And he has criticised the D&AD for staying silent about awards corruption and how it should be dealt with.

In a letter to five former presidents of D&AD calling for their support, Hegarty advocates that D&AD bans anyone caught cheating while stripping them of their membership and their awards.

"Unless organisations such as D&AD stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Campaign and, in fact, carry the torch for integrity and creativity, everything the association stands for counts for nothing," he warned. "If we don't, in my view, make a strong stand on this issue, then we undermine D&AD's very foundations."

Hegarty's statement poses a potentially compromising situation for Peter Souter, the current D&AD president, who has just hired Belford and Roberts from Ogilvy & Mather for Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, where he is executive creative director, despite their disgrace.

Souter said he agreed with action to tighten competition entry rules, including the submission of tear sheets to prove print ads had appeared in their submitted form, but not with sanctions.

"The issue is cheating, not cheats," he added. "The level of coverage this story has had makes it look as though the activities of the few are the actions of the many."

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