The One Club Takes A Stand Against Scam

Amidst the sturm-und-drang of this week’s 9/11-WWF-DDB Brasil-One Show controversy, The One Club decided to take a stand with a new policy:

Effective beginning in 2010:
An agency or regional office of an agency network that enters an ad made for a nonexistent client, or made and run without a client’s approval, will be banned from entering the One Show for five years.
The entire team credited on the “fake” entry will be banned from entering the One Show for five years.
An agency or regional office of an agency network that enters an ad that has run once, on late-night TV, or only because the agency produced a single ad and paid to run it itself will be banned from entering the One Show for three years.

I think it’s a good move. For now. It quells the controversy, and clearly something needed to change. But agencies have a good 4 months to get next year’s entries together, and we’ll see what happens then. Rules like this are only as effective as the people who are checking the entries and the people who are enforcing them. And truth be told, I don’t have much confidence that the current officers or Board of Directors will enforce this.
I have a personal take on this. I’m a dues-paying member of The One Club and have been for 12 years or so. (hey, at least that’s how I know I’ll get my name in the book every year.) For $200 or so a year I get an annual, some invitations to New York events I can’t attend, a spot to upload my work on their website, and I get to vote for or against the Board of Directors. I’ve always believed in being involved in industry organizations and I will continue to be.
When you look at the One Club membership list, it’s not that lengthy. Only a few hundred people, it seems. You don’t need to be a member, of course, to win an award or enter or go to the show or whatever. But the membership is a much bigger cross-section of ad people than the annual judges’ list is.
So when former One Club Chairman David Baldwin continued the dialogue on his blog, I made my suggestion to fix this:
Open up the judging of the show to all the members.
I know it may be a logistical challenge, and it might even be a nightmare, but there’s a way to do it with online voting, at least the short list. We’d get a much more representative sample of the ad community than we currently do, and reduce the amount of “judges are just voting for their friends” talk. Because from what I’ve seen, it seems there’s quite a lot of discussion this week not only about scam work, but that the entire voting system seems a little too insular. And it might put more eyes on the work looking out for scam ads. If the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences can vote for the Oscars, we can surely do this to preserve whatever integrity The One Show has left.
That’s just a start, and of course it’s just my opinion. But damnit, as a dues-paying member, I’m entitled to express it. I don’t have any sway with anyone official at The One Club. But this whole episode makes advertising, and in particular awards-show obsessed Creative Directors and other agency people, look increasingly silly and irrelevant, more now than ever.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.