They're still out in Cannes, but they'll be all the rage this year in London. Organizers of the London International Advertising Awards have announced the creation of a new category for so-called "scam" or "ghost" ads, advertising that was never approved by the client and never ran. "I would like you to think of this category as research and development for our industry," explains jury president Paul Lavoie -- president and co-founder of Canadian agency Taxi -- on the LIAA website. The category will be called "Lavoie's Playground" after the jury president himself, and although it will be open to ads that would be considered scams in other award shows (click here to read all about the issue of ghost ads at Cannes), the category is not a complete free-for-all. "Playground" entries will only be accepted in the print, outdoor and television/cinema categories, and the ads must be for "legitimate clients," not imaginary brands. Entries in the category will not be eligible for the Grand Prize.
While there are regional awards shows that have added categories for ghost ads -- the Chilean Association of Advertising Agencies added a category called "Free Expression" to its annual awards in 2000 -- LIAA becomes the first major international competition to do so. The deadline for LIAA submissions is June 17. The awards will be presented in November.