Never mind the laughably unscientific basis of the Gunn league table, this is one of those "Britain is the finest in the world" claims from which we derive such dubious satisfaction. For decades we have unilaterally proclaimed that British ads are the best in the world. Perhaps they are, although you'd be exceptionally foolish and short-sighted to suppose the gap between us and Johnny Foreigner was anything other than wafer-thin.
The boundless capacity for self-congratulation is one of our less appealing national characteristics. You'd think we would have learnt by now. But even if the Gunn tally is only half-accurate, we can surely award ourselves two cheers for the flair and inventiveness we now bring to media campaigns.
We deserve no cheers at all for failing to credit media agencies that have contributed to marketing success. Jonathan Durden's anger at PHD's lack of recognition in the recent IPA Effectiveness Awards (see last week's Campaign letters) is thoroughly justified. Just when we seemed to have got a handle on the integration and collaboration thing, we blow it in silly ways such as that.
Doubtless the IPA will respond to Durden's challenge, but isn't there a broader issue here? O2 was a worthy winner of the Effectiveness Grand Prix, and VCCP the justifiably proud creative agency at the heart of the campaign. PHD's contribution to that success was considerable and should be recognised. But so should the design agency, Lambie-Nairn, which created the cool blue imagery that is the principal ingredient of the O2 brand.
Doubtless other agencies deserve credit too, and - call me old-fashioned - none of this would have happened without the commitment of O2's first marketing director and brand architect, Will Harris.
In our hearts we know that brilliant marketing campaigns depend on team play, not on individual stars. We just can't resist the temptation to crow about how clever our own contribution has been. Industry awards may not be terribly important in the great scheme of things but we like them, so let's at least make sure they reflect, accurately, the collaborative effort behind the successes they celebrate.