The false end of false recognition

Last week Amir Kassaei, CCO of DDB Worldwide, made the brave promise that we would see ‘less work from DDB agencies at some of the shows’.

I’m sorry I can’t be more definitive than that, but I only have Mr. Kassaei’s words to go on, and they’re frustratingly slight.

The overall suggestion of the article (entitled ‘The End Of False Recognition’, if any of you fancied sending something in to Private Eye’s Pseuds column) is that DDB is finally fed up with award schemes being overpopulated by ads created purely to win awards, so much so that YOU WILL SEE LESS WORK FROM DDB AGENCIES AT SOME OF THE SHOWS!

That there’s fightin’ talk, Goddammit!

You want more strong words? Brace yourself, ’cause here they come:

‘We have to stop the madness. Not only by talking about it, but by also doing something against it.’

But what?

‘We will be coming up with a plan to divest ourselves from the madness.’



You’ll be coming up with a plan? And it’s going to do something as vague as divesting yourselves from the madness? So to avoid the crime of only talking about a solution, you’re going to talk about a solution?


Look, Mr. Kasseai, it’s not that hard. I can do it for you right now: just say that no DDB agency will enter work that has not originated from a proper client brief and run on a proper media plan. Then tell the ECDs of your agencies they’ll be fined a month’s salary if any ad is entered that does not fit those criteria. Done.

He continues: ‘There will be a lot of people out there who will hate us, who will point fingers at us and accuse us of being harmful to award shows and our industry in general.’ Sorry, Amir. No one’s going to give a monkey’s. You’ve made the most anodyne promise in the history of an industry littered with anodyne promises. My last fart will inspire more hatred.

Finally, he invokes Bill Bernbach: ‘But we are lucky. At DDB we have always had a foundation built by Bill Bernbach at our core to guide us to be brave. As Bill once said, “If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some people against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you and nobody for you.” 

But you haven’t actually stood for anything. Bill also said ‘it isn’t a principle until it costs you money’. Let’s see you put some reality behind these words, then we’ll know whether we should stand with you or not.

People have been complaining about the gaming of awards shows for years. Coming out and saying you also oppose it is pretty uninspiring. Coming out and saying you’re going to do something about it without saying what that is seems like the kind of depressing flim-flam that Mr. Bernbach would have fired people for, especially when the alternative is so simple.

One last thing: an amusing ad placement next to the article…

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