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The Scam Solution

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There was some great work in 2008 but it wasn't a deeply breakthrough year. Halo 3 was the resounding favorite of the ADC jury, and went on to be king at every other major show, but I'm not sure we'll be looking back on it as an all-time great. Ditto the other darling of the year, Cadbury's "Gorilla."

Now that every show from ADC to One Show to D&AD has global juries and entries, it's time to sort out the fact that many jury members don't fully understand all the work, which isn't fair to anyone. One dead simple fix could be allowing for an "abstain" vote.

I'd love to see fewer categories and a limit on how many one piece of creative can enter. No show is more boring than the one where the same thing wins over and over. One of my favorite shows these days is Creativity's because there are no categories; it's just big ideas and very few trophies.

Several new prizes have been invented to keep up with the quickly changing landscape and do justice to non-traditional solutions, but it would be nice if everyone understood what something like Titanium really was. At ADC they now have the Hybrid. It's great that these highly coveted awards are designed to acknowledge this exceptional work, but there seems to be a lot of room for the definitions of a winner to be made clearer to agencies contemplating parting with hefty entry fees as well as for juries to better understand what they're supposed to be looking for.

Speaking of coveting, there seemed to be no end to the lengths people will go to for a win in 2008 and scam ads reached a new low with the J.C. Penney bronze Lion. So many things are wrong with that picture. Scams taint every show and burn clients at a time when there is a bigger appetite to endorse "award-winning" work. It's an unfortunate burden on those who have to keep an eye out for anything that smells fishy. So: bar the agency with their name on the scam from entering the show the next year. Display scams prominently on the awards show site for public shaming. And all entries need a client signature in the first place. This wouldn't solve everything; it's a pain and the shows would have to be OK with losing the next year's entry fees. But any answer to this is going to hurt.

Parting thought: more female jurors would make for a more diverse body of work, among other benefits. 2008 still looked like 1978 on that front.

Nancy Vonk is co-CCO of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto and chair of the Art Directors Club advertising awards.

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