Brit Award Show to 'Name and Shame,' but Not Ban, Ad Scammers -- Is That Going Far Enough?

Meanwhile Cannes Festival Is Reviewing Policy Following WWF Debacle

By Published on .

LONDON ( -- In a move that some say doesn't go far enough, the D&AD will publicly point the finger at creatives who submit scam ads to the U.K.'s most important awards show.

The much-reviled WWF ad, which showed a fleet of planes flying towards the twin towers, ran only once, in a small Sao Paolo newspaper but snagged a One Show award for DDB Brasil. A video version was submitted to Cannes. The One Show subsequently withdrew the award and announced that it would place a five-year ban on agencies that enter scam ads, and now other awards shows are following suit.

The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and the U.K.'s premium awards show, D&AD, are both reviewing their entry and judging policies as part of the continued fallout from the DDB Brasil "Tsunami" controversy.

D&AD President Paul Brazier (executive creative director of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO) and CEO Tim O'Kennedy (former managing director of Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam), put out a statement in support of the One Show's stance and outlining its own policy review. The D&AD punishment takes a "name and shame" approach to the problem, pointing the finger at the executive creative director for all wrongdoing.

The D&AD statement said, "For the 2010 and future D&AD awards shows, the executive creative director will be required to validate the eligibility of every item. A plea of ignorance is not an acceptable defense." Every scam entry will be made public, in an effort to push a sense of responsibility back to the agency.

For some, this tactic does not go far enough. Chris Arnold, a former Saatchi & Saatchi creative director and founder of Creative Orchestra, said, "A lot of people in this industry have relied on scam ads for their fame and fortune. What we need is for all the big awards shows to get together and create a blanket policy. The incentives to win awards are too high, so you need to be heavy on punishment if you want to weed out scam ads."

Mr. Arnold suggests a two-year outright ban on the whole agency if a scam ad is entered, and also thinks that the issue needs to be addressed from on high, with agency chiefs speaking out against the culture of faking.

He added, "As a judge it can be hard to spot scam ads unless they're blatantly obvious, but they discredit the whole industry. Part of the achievement of what we do is getting the good work out there; it's always a team effort, whereas scammers are usually just a couple of creatives having fun."

A statement from Philip Thomas, Cannes Festival CEO, said, "We are reviewing our policies and are in consultation with the industry and we will be making a statement when we are ready to do so." Entry does not open until January for the 2010 festival and the deadline is in March.

In this article:

Comments (7)