Sunday, 5 April 2009

Advertising Agencies Tell The Truth

The excellent AdNation website carries the story, based in parts on quotes surfaced by Gulf News on Friday, that now another client is disowning the work submitted to the Dubai Lynx awards by large Middle East agency group Fortune Promoseven - in fact by the group's Qatari operation, FP7 Doha.

If you haven't been following the Lynx story, you can catch up with it on AdNation or Campaign Middle East's blog. Basically it turns out that agency FP7 Doha entered award-winning work that turns out not to have been commissioned by Samsung, which was embarrassed by the work (Depicting, amongst others, a scene of Jesus photographing nuns that resulted in a national outcry in election-tense Lebanon) - from an agency that wasn't even the company's agency!

The Lynx jury is now widening its investigation into the disastrous 2009 awards to look at other agencies' submitted work.

A massive embarrassment for the advertising industry as a whole, this year's awards have made the widespread practice of entering 'fake' work for awards excrutiatingly public. By 'fake' I mean entering advertising campaigns that have not been created for clients, approved by clients or even run in media that clients have paid for.

It all boils down to the advertising industry's unhealthy obsession with awarding 'creativity' rather than real-world campaigns that achieve results for clients. I don't know whether that is a Middle East phenomenon or a global thing, but I can tell you that watching UK advertising over the past couple of days has hit home to me just how 'creativity' is totally lacking in the Middle East's advertising. I'm looking at truly creative, clever advertising that connects with people and is entertaining, challenging and clever - and it's made me appreciate how bad the advertising I see back in the UAE every day truly is. (This point was actually made by a high profile Dubai Lynx judge on his blog - and subsequently sadly retracted).

Of course, it's only FP7 Doha to blame. The rest of the Lynx awards entries will be cleared by the investigating judges because no other agency would have entered work that hasn't run, hasn't been comissioned by clients, approved by clients or even produced for clients that are clients.

Carry on working as usual. There's nothing to be concerned about. As long as agencies have been honest about their entries and put forward 'real' - valid - work.

You have all been honest now haven't you, chaps?

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