Editorial: Not as straightforward as the Gunn Report says

The Gunn Report will always be a less than perfect measure of creative standards across the world.

But until somebody thinks up something better, it will have to suffice. Certainly, Gunn does its best to take into account the inevitably eccentric decisions of awards juries to produce, if not the definitive evaluation of global creative output, then, at least, an interesting snapshot of trends and quality.

So what's to be made of Gunn's claim that the US has kept its lead position in terms of creative awards for the second successive year, having edged out the Brits, who had long enjoyed being top dog?

In retrospect, it's remarkable the UK was able to hold its own for such a long period, especially given the size of the US market. British shops have been fortunate in having major advertisers such as Volkswagen with track records of buying good work, as well as "boutique" clients, such as Harvey Nichols, always eager to push the creative envelope.

But the fact is the top 2 per cent of the best US creative work will always be vast in comparison with the top 2 per cent in the UK or anywhere else. This isn't to infer British agencies are innately superior to their US counterparts. No, there are lessons to be learned from across the Atlantic if Britain is to remain a competitor in the creativity stakes.

One of the most important is to recognise how well the best US shops have learned to migrate the best creative work on the web on to a broader stage. One top UK creative director estimates that Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which headed the Gunn Report's most-awarded interactive agency list, is five years ahead of the best British shops in understanding the net's huge potential. But perhaps the Gunn Report's most sobering lesson for everybody is that the world's most-awarded commercials, such as Fallon London's "paint" for Sony Bravia, are in a class of their own.

To suggest that this kind of work is reflective of standards is like comparing haute couture to everyday fashion retailing. A few hours in front of a TV, either in the UK or the US, will quickly dispel that notion.

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