Now that the hangover has cleared and the penguin suit is back in its case for a few months more, I can reflect on the Campaign Press Awards.

Now that the hangover has cleared and the penguin suit is back in

its case for a few months more, I can reflect on the Campaign Press


It was a top night at the Grosvenor House, but I’m left with a feeling

of having been slightly cheated.

This was the first time I’d attended the bash, so I was looking forward

to what is billed as one of the industry’s biggest nights of the


I was sure that the award-nominated ads would be some of the most

exciting and cutting-edge stuff produced by the industry.

Now I don’t get involved in creative work, but like most account

managers, I think I keep tabs on the creative side of our industry, so I

couldn’t understand why I didn’t recognise any of it. Normally, I would

have thought it was outside my specialist area, but would have expected

to see something that I knew sooner or later.

But no! As the evening progressed, things became even more


Just how many different sectors can Volkswagen enter? Best motor

advertisement - no problem. Best ad in a business magazine - fine. Best

ad in a consumer magazine - hmm. Best ad in a national newspaper - well,

perhaps. Best ad in regional newspaper - might be a few regional

companies upset by that. Best use of illustration - careful now, don’t

get carried away.

Best use of photography - ’cor blimey guv, it’s a fair cop’. Best use of

the electronic press - now hold on a minute. Best financial and

corporate advertisement - aaagh! Now you’re taking the piss. Best press

campaign and best individual advertisement gold awards - make mine a

double, I’m off to the bar ...

Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of what the Volkswagen team has done is

recognisably good work, but is this really a true reflection of the best

work in our industry? Many of these prize-winning ads were unknown to

everyone on my table - and this is supposed to be the most powerful

advertising in our industry. The rest of us might as well pack it all in


Clearly there is a problem with the entry system in that it limits the

entries to a selection from large agencies. My understanding is that

there is a charge for entry and competition forms are so complex that a

team of experts is required to collate the information.

Maybe I’ve been influenced by the Oscars, but wouldn’t it be more

representative for the judges to select the best work they see in the

market and then contact the companies concerned, inviting them to enter?

Maybe then it would look less like a load of self-congratulatory



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