Creativity Magazine weighs in and Cannes responds(!).



Creativity has come out with a great article detailing the reaction to the various award shows’ scam policies and asks the important question “Are the Award Shows Wussing Out?”. Cannes has finally come out with their guidelines and – surprise – they’re not very harsh. They’re only banning the individuals responsible for an undetermined amount of time and not the entire agency.

“We believe that banning agencies from entering on a wholesale basis is unfair on blameless individuals,” the Cannes statement said. “There are many people who work in agencies who may not be involved with an erroneous entry and therefore should not be penalized.”

Let me rephrase that: “We believe in penalizing all the lower-level workers whose names are on the award entry, but we have too many powerful friends in the ad community who would be pissed at us if we banned them for their roles in allowing this to occur.

Let’s just refer to it as the Abu Ghraib defense from now on, shall we? Can I put money on the “It’s just a couple of bad apples” press releases that will be coming the first time someone gets caught? Not that I expected more from the for-profit Cannes show, but what a cop-out.

My original blog post “How to stop fake ads forever” that became the basis for the One Show rules was written with just these kinds of pass-the-buck excuses in mind. (Hence the word “forever.”) For executive creative directors to claim they don’t know what’s being entered in award shows is a crock. Are you telling me you have so little control over your department that someone can get hundreds of dollars for an award submission without you knowing? Come on.

According to the Creativity article, Lars Bastholm, Ogilvy’s chief digital officer, thinks the One Show’s penalties are too harsh. “Five years banned for the ECD in question?” he said. “That could be the end of a career. You’d have a hard time getting an agency to hire you after that.”


There’s a place for spec work and it’s not in award shows.

But in Bastholm’s next quote, he shows he does really understand that the One Show rules will work. “If someone somewhere submits a fake ad and it gets out, the repercussions will become clear,” he said. “That’s when people will get it.”

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