I don’t know if you’ve seen a film called The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, but if you haven’t, you should.
It portrays the life of a British officer who has trouble squaring his sense of honour and fair play with the merciless nature of Britain’s opponents in WW2. The upshot of it is that if you choose to play fair your opponents will fuck you, stick you in concentration camps, fuck you again and kill you (perhaps then choosing to fuck your corpse). The film was a brilliant piece of propaganda, making it clear that The Hun would not play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules, so if we wanted to win, we’d have to fight fire with fire by sinking to their level.
Bear with me here, but I think that the same situation is occurring in international advertising awards.
Although scam ads are certainly a part of the current UK ad scene (anything from Scambient ads to 2 minute directors cuts that run once on Granada Men and Motors +1), we are actually complete fucking amateurs when compared to the rest of the world.
Some agencies in other countries do the following: let you work on normal clients from 9 to 5 but make you work from 5 to 10 on scammery; mark out an entire floor plus photographic studio for creating scam; employ some teams to create nothing but scam; do ads for clients they don’t even have; do ads for Guinness that are actually ads for Irish bars and ads for Wonderbra that are actually ads for lingerie shops; take August off from their real clients to do their year’s scam ads all in one go; do adapts of international business but otherwise do nowt but scam; eat dogs and horses.
And in doing so they either fit within the letter (but not the spirit) of the rules, or accept that no one really checks up on them because certain award schemes quite like having the cash for the entries and can’t really be arsed to Miss Marple their way through an investigation that just results a big fucking headache.
So the UK doesn’t win the really big international prizes (or at least hasn’t for a few years).
Of course, I’m not saying that all the other award winners are scam (the reasons why UK advertising currently lags behind that of our overseas brethren is a whole other post), but when it comes to picking up the other prizes, we hamper ourselves by generally playing by the rules.
For example, why not create a bunch of complete and utter bullshit like this:
So we can either maintain our sense of honour and accept that we bugger our chances of more Lions, or we can get with the international cheating programme and pocket some more prizes.
I vote we set up a special clearing house agency for cheat ads. It can be called Fuck You Johnny Foreigner and it can be staffed by a bunch of brilliant account dudes, who will sell your generic ads for nose hair trimmers, superglue, hot sauce, dog food, animal charities and shoe polish. All agencies will chuck in some cash to pay for the staff and all the DPSs in Cement Mixer Monthly and the UK will top the Gunn Report every year.