A Focus on Awards, Not the Consumer, Caused 9/11-WWF Firestorm

Viewpoint: Agencies, It's Time to Grow Up and Stop Worrying About Trophies

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Mark Wnek
Mark Wnek
The utterly hideous and despicable ad purporting to represent the World Wildlife Fund that showed a squadron of passenger planes plummeting toward Manhattan, with a headline saying something about how mistreatment of the earth causes hundreds more deaths than 9/11, is the logical conclusion of the mind-set created by advertising awards.

The best ads have a single, strong focus. When all is right with the world, that focus is the consumer.

People can disagree until they're until they're blue in the face, but awards pull that focus away from Joe Public to Johann Publissimo, chairman of the (place name of favorite award show here) jury.

As I understand it, the guilty creative team at DDB Brasil is no longer there. What about the creative directors?

Creative directors are entirely to blame for this state of affairs. The main problem is that most of them got where they are today by, you guessed it, winning creative awards.

And guess the No. 1 target they're driving -- and I mean driving -- their teams to achieve.

The whole abominable circle is so childish and counterproductive to helping clients with their business at this most critical time that you wonder whether it isn't time to start "Long Pants, the grown-up agency. We promise 100% of our effort is dedicated to you and your brand, product or service, 0% to our self-aggrandizement via awards."

Mark Wnek is chairman-chief creative officer of Lowe, New York. He tweets at Twitter.com/markwnek.

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