Using That Gold Pencil As A Back Scratcher

Over at Ad Age’s The Big Tent Cat Lopez makes the surprisingly honest admission that he has to butter up other people in order to win awards.

I’ve been on a few awards juries, and they’ve all been great experiences, if not for the advertising itself as much as the lessons I’ve learned in human behavior. If an agency is on a hot streak and winning awards left and right, they usually get the benefit of the doubt for weaker submissions. They might get a bronze for something that should have stayed on the shortlist, or something that should have taken a bronze receives a silver. Because it comes from a hotshop, it must be good and must be awarded. Kudos to the agency for creating such a mystique; who doesn’t want to be in that position? Of course, that will eventually work against you. I’ve seen juries try to cool off a hot shop by making sure they don’t win the best of show for example. Not letting the competition get too much ink is also part of the lobbying process.
On the flip side are the not-so-creative agencies that never get any ink. Even a bad agency can do good work from time to time, but many of those agencies have a hard time getting their work onto the shortlist, the logic being they aren’t very creative, and therefore everything they do must suck. It happens. All the lobbying in the world won’t help these agencies until they begin to consistently deliver solid work. And even then, they still need to lobby.

Could you change this if you could prevent any award show judge from letting their own agency enter that show?
I think we’ll see a ban on lobbying for awards in the ad industry on the same day we see a ban on lobbying in Washington D.C.
In other words, never.



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.