Award Shows Are Wankfests

Look at the way Dave Trott writes. It looks like poetry, doesn’t it? But it is not poetry, it’s an ad guy helping other ad guys see what being an ad guy is all about.

Let’s see if we can remember the original purpose of advertising.
Wasn’t it something to do with selling stuff to people?
So didn’t it have to be done with ordinary people in mind?
Ordinary, non-advertising, people.
Surely ordinary people were important to advertising at some point.
Maybe that was in the days before awards.
When people talking about your ads in the street was important.
When school kids singing your song or repeating your message was important.
When TV programmes or newspapers repeating your strapline was important.
When the object was to get the advertising into the language.
So it caught on and grew.
In the days before viral was a specific medium.
When the people who actually bought the product were more important than the people who made the ads.

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. It is so incredibly myopic and self-serving for 200 year-old ad executives to be lecturing about awards, when they very well know the ONLY way to get decent jobs for decent money in this business as a young creative is to have awards.
    As a young creative, sure, I’ll stop caring about awards when every decent agency in the world stops laughing in my face if I don’t have 100 gold pencils up my butt.
    No doubt, Trott just wants to ensure he has plenty of talent available to slave away in his coalmines for lunch money because they don’t have awards.

  2. @Whatever – I appreciate your passion for this subject. But what is to be done? People need to speak out. Right? I can’t vouch for Trott’s motives, but I do appreciate what he’s saying above. I would much rather have people singing a jingle I wrote than any number of pencils up my butt.

  3. Top traditional agencies care about 1.TV reels and 2. Awards. And if I want to advance my career either they need to change the game or I need to play it.
    I wish agencies cared about the “real world” but it’s just not in the cards until some folks that rose to power in better times either evolve or get replaced.