Saturday, 30 March 2013

Look at what they make you give.

This week a creative team in India was fired for creating and publicising some ads they’d done for their client, Ford.

They weren’t fired because their ads were bad. And they were. Terribly.

They were fired because they’d released them to the press without them having run, or, allegedly, without their client even being aware of them. And these facts meant that when the world complained about how offensive it found them, the client was able to point the finger back at the agency who in turn poked its finger straight into the creatives' eyes.

Before the shit hit the fan they must have felt very pleased.

They’d managed to get the ads ‘out’ just before the Cannes entry deadline.

And anyone whose ever worked in the creative department of a network agency knows just how important that is.

Since the launch of the Gunn Report in 1999 being seen at the top of its agency list has become  an obsession for agency networks communications 

The holding companies see the Gunn Report as an empirical means to quantify their creativity.

They task their agency networks with winning awards.

Who bonus their global creative directors to win awards.

Who pressurise their regional creative directors to win awards.

Who end up pressuring their creative departments to win awards.

The emerging markets are especially susceptible to all this pressure. Awards propel their people and agencies onto a global stage and gain the much needed attention of their network paymasters.

The Cannes awards are famous for being populated with scam ads. 

(The Cannes juries are famous for being populated with cheats. This year they’ve announced they are reviewing they judging procedure to stop cheating.)

Creatives have had to master the art of coming up with ads, finding photographers or directors to make them and finding clients to run them.

In their desperation to win they can sometimes lose their way and take short-cuts. 

Like these poor guys in India.

There’s a line in The Bourne Identity where a hit-man who’s tried and failed to kill Jason Bourne lies dying and says to Bourne: “Look. Look what they make you give.”

You’ve got to feel for those guys in JWT India.

They’re told to win awards at all costs.

And these poor sods paid the ultimate price.


  1. Check out the updated story on this one. The ads were approved by Ford and did run (probably once in some small magazine). It was the international outrage over them (and they are pretty stupid and offensive) that got not only the creatives fired but their upper management as well (the ECD). I don't think anyone risks entering ads that never ran anywhere and without a client signature on them, especially now since print media is very cheap and widely available.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Wow. If this is true, the story is even more awful.

    A client refusing to take responsibility for work his agency has made and that he has signed off is weak and reprehensible.

    If every agency person who was involved in bad work was fired there'd be no one left in agencies.

  3. I know, but I think this was coming straight from Sorell himself, pissed about the scandal.

  4. UPDATE: 2016 - It's still going on.