Is A Fake Ad That Calls Itself Out, Still A Fake? Put Another Way, Is It A One Show Winner?

[via Ernie Schenck]

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. This is an inside industry joke and it hits the target, so technically it IS running. It’s worth awarding it because it was clever and did it’s job.
    That said, we shouldn’t stray away from the serious problems of shady ads entering the better of the shows. We need to make a real effort beyond talk to get rid of them.

  2. Just_askme says:

    I agree. Scam is killing the credibility of the awards. It has become so much more blatant and needs a serious sweeping out.

  3. Now that clients are in on the fake ad scam, too, much of the work in the shows is little more than student work temporarily brought to life with no function in reality other than serving as a template for what might win in next year’s show. Bill Bernbach once complained of “the technicians” in advertising who know all the rules yet have no instinct or soul. I’d argue that today’s ECD fake-award-show-ad jockeys are just as bad. Worse, actually, because most of their output degrades the legitimacy of what it claims to uphold: creativity in advertising. But isn’t that always the way? The forefathers build something. Succeeding generations take it for granted and ruin it. And the cycle starts anew. The shows were always a wankfest, albeit kind of a fun one for creatives who cared. Now it’s just boring. Posturing for other posturers. Clients are greenlighting stuff (as long as the agency pays to run it once) just so the boys in the C suite can go to Cannes. That’s like your High School Principal offering to buy you a guitar if you let him join your band, isn’t it? Man, if that’s the only way my best work sees the light of day, no thanks. It ain’t worth it. Time for a new revolution.

  4. “Time for a new revolution.” I like that.
    For my part, I stopped paying attention to award shows about three years ago. There are more interesting things to pursue than vainglorious back slaps.

  5. Bascefini says:

    Awards shows can be a very good thing if they’re credible. It’s great to see great work, celebrate it, and give kudos to those who worked hard to get it made.
    That credibility is eroded away by scam though. Most shows have become a joke, and many are losing the battle.
    Why can’t one show just be completely scam-free?
    Why can’t the big ad publications make a bigger deal out of it too?