A Grand Prix Can’t Hide The Flaws In The Recording Industry’s Thinking

According to Ad Age, TBWA/Paris Boulogne-Billancourt reinforced its already strong reputation as a hotbed of creativity in the Canes Lions print category by winning the Grand Prix for a beautiful and compelling campaign against music piracy for client EMI.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    At the risk of sounding like Mr. Negativity, I don’t think these ads work at all. Sure, they look cool. But the message is neither clear nor compelling. Do you honestly think this campaign had even the slighest effect on illegal downloading? It’s a classic case of creative showboating – designed to win awards, not generate results.

  2. I can see this ad winning in the trippy design category. But its lack of persuasion and new thinking around this tricky subject ought to have excluded it from such lofty designations. More proof that awards shows, even in the south of France, are totally meaningless (except for the winners).

  3. Hmmm. The message “Nothing Good Comes Easy” did happen to resonate with me. Nice double-entendre. Hard sell? Nah. But, maybe in this case it’s good to seem less like the “man” and more like your conscience. But I don’t steal music anyhow so perhaps I am easily convinced. Well, for what it is worth is the rationale from the Cannes official story on the piece:
    “The EMI ads did not ram home the jaded message that music piracy is theft but focused on the impact on hard-working and much-loved musicians.”

  4. Tweedy: A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.
    Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator.
    People who look at music as commerce don’t understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property.
    I’m not interested in selling pieces of plastic.

  5. Oh, I wasn’t trying to start that debate Mr. Burn! I was just acknowledging that I might be easier to sway on the issue than the intended audience that’s all.

  6. Brian Bernier says:

    I am Candide. From this day on I will download anything but Keith Richards music. I will hurt only less famous musicians. Musicians who haven