Perspective: Critics, do remember that creativity alone doesn’t earn awards

This is the time of year when Campaign braces itself against the rash of complaints about agency of the year and the other awards published in last week’s issue. M&C Saatchi as agency of the year - what bull!, some say, accusing us of being monkeys to the organ-grinders of the likes of, well, Maurice Saatchi. So what’s new from this year’s vociferous - but unrepresentative - minority?

This is the time of year when Campaign braces itself against the

rash of complaints about agency of the year and the other awards

published in last week’s issue. M&C Saatchi as agency of the year - what

bull!, some say, accusing us of being monkeys to the organ-grinders of

the likes of, well, Maurice Saatchi. So what’s new from this year’s

vociferous - but unrepresentative - minority?



’Agency of the year should have been TBWA, not M&C,’ some have argued on

the grounds that ’we expect you to be advocates, evangelists even, for

creativity’. Fair enough and we are and always will be advocates and

enablers of creativity in all forms of media communications. Campaign’s

consistent presence on the industry awards stage and our more recent

embracing of disciplines other than mainstream advertising surely bears

that out.



But it hardly needs pointing out that Campaign’s agency of the year

award is based on much more than creativity. A combination of new

business, creative output and achievements in other business areas were

all considered and, on that basis, M&C Saatchi won the day.



’Agency of the decade should have been Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, not

HHCL & Partners,’ others have argued on the grounds that AMV has handled

the business side of its history consistently well while building a body

of truly original, effective and visible work on its reel. It’s true

that AMV succeeded in making the advertising sector credible in the City

after the travails at the start of the decade of both Saatchi & Saatchi

and WPP. In partnering with Omnicom and creating a group it also set the

pace. So the merits of HHCL over AMV as agency of the decade and vice

versa could be debated for hours, if not days, but in the democratic

voting forum that is Campaign - there are no casting votes for editors,

editors-in-chief or even editorial directors, I’m afraid - HHCL won the

day.



Which leads us to the UK’s acknowledged master of gently persuasive

advertising copy railing against our award of advertiser of the year to

French Connection UK for TBWA’s ’fcuk’ campaign. You can read the full

hilarious text of David Abbott’s letter on this week’s front page.



I hesitate to fcuking disagree with one so enlightened as David Abbott -

because, let’s face it, to do so often means one is wrong - but I

do.



Perhaps it’s because I’m thinking about that phrase ’people in glass

houses shouldn’t throw stones’ and I’m having one hell of a time getting

a nasty advertising image out of my mind. It’s that Gossard Glossies

poster campaign of 1996. Remember the one that featured a half-naked

woman, wearing a black bra and briefs, reclining, doe-eyed, on a

haystack, and the caption: ’Who said a woman can’t get pleasure from

something soft?’



The agency that produced this ad featuring a vulnerable-looking model,

using a medium easily seen by children? Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.



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