There Are No New Ideas, Vol. 37 No. 14

The Kansas City Star is reporting that an ad from JWT Sydney for a pet store called Pets Pantry, which won a Silver Lion at Cannes was actually created by an art student in San Francisco who is now an art director at Cole & Weber in Seattle.
“At first I felt like, ‘This is so wrong.’ But I’m slammed with my own work,” said Lance Wei. “I mean, what can I do? Not much.”

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’s getting harder and harder for awards shows to be taken seriously. As I’ve blogged, the interweb in particular makes it difficult to know what’s really been “published” especially with video. I mean does putting the agency’s cut of a TV commercial up on a website count?
    Then there’s the whole Saatchi thing, where they’ve basically admitted that they have a deal with certain clients (P&G in particular) to create award-winning ads that only run a few times in return for not complaining about having to create the usual “hold up the product and smile” stuff the rest of the time.
    I’m of two minds about that: on the one hand it’s great because it gets clients to see what great advertising could be, on the other it’s sort of cheating and it may actually turn them away from great advertising, which they see as something that appeals to awards show judges, not consumers.
    Finally, as to the pet food thing: Not the first time this has happened. And you really never know if they saw it in the kid’s book or came up with it independently. Assumption of course is the former, but I remember about 10 years ago, someone won a Gold One Show Pencil for an ad for a ski shop’s half-off sale that showed a single ski track in the snow. After the ad won, a half dozen small regional agencies wrote in to Adweek to show their version of the same ad. Did they all rip each other off or was it just an obvious solution to a half-off ski sale?

  2. MidBrain says:

    That’s why we shouldn’t be awarding or giving of a f*ck about individual executions.
    “Print” awards are a joke and nobody I respect takes them seriously. Archive is the biggest joke of them all. Cannes is a VERY close second.
    Why: a winning execution is just the flavor of the month. Distressed type? Nope, sorry. THAT was 10 years ago. Visual metaphor? SURE! Get your ticket to cannes.
    The only awards I care about are for campaigns. And that doesn’t mean three print ads. It means one idea. One big idea.
    The shows are slowly coming around. Content and contact? New Campaign Ideas. Integrated? New Campaign Ideas. Media-specific awards?
    The no longer matter with a very few exceptions.

  3. I used to love looking through Archive. But, I haven’t looked at one in years.

  4. There are still lots of naked people and ads that make no sense. And the occasional good stuff.

  5. Scam ads are never ok. They are a poisonous plague to the hardworking creatives in our industry. They and the hacks who make them don’t belong in the business.
    I’m glad this article was written. Stolen, scam, ghosted…it’s all pretty awful. I hope more is exposed and we can get back to celebrating the real, deserving creative work that people bust their asses every day to make.

  6. @Yikes: That’s very funny. We always used to laugh at the obligatory “German Penis Ad” in Archive (an ad that featured full frontal male Euronudity, almost always gratuitously). And then there are all the blatant spec ads that either have really blaring typos or don’t even bother to create a fake client or phone/website.
    The trend du jour for award shows is those little clip art cartoons like the vodka ad that Saatchi did. Look for it seeping down into the more mainstream agencies this year.

  7. Funny thing is, that Vodka campaign was done basically for free, right? Supposedly the client ‘paid the agency’ in bottles of Vodka? I wonder what the other clients who pay hefty fees think?
    To me, even saying that is like admitting that you are intentionally cheating by raking on a basically free client to make ads only to win awards. I dunno, it just doesn’t seem right, IMO.