Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Invasion of France

France is all abuzz right now.

It has nothing to do with the 70 year anniversary of D-Day.

Oh sure that was big. A bunch of soldiers landed on a beach and fought some German dudes, but did any of them launch a killer mobile platform? Or rewrite the way transactions can be accelerated via the cloud? And where are their banner ads? And case studies?

No, the big to-do in France is on those other beaches.
On the Mediterranean.
Cannes, motherfucker, Cannes.

Right now, as you are reading this, our industry's elite creative class are gearing up for the annual pilgrimage. Trilby hats are being custom-fitted. Plaid shorts are being paired up with laceless loafers. And V-neck T-shirts are flying off the shelves in every douchebag emporium from the north side of Williamsburg to the south.

I don't want to come off as some old bitter cynic -- ok, maybe it's too late for that -- but these awards and the millions of dollars spent on them is nothing more than navel-gazing jackoffery.

Of course, I didn't always feel that way.

There was a time in my career when I scratched and clawed to get my way into a One Show book or a CA Annual. And I have a boxful of hardware and cheap industry trinkets to show for it. It sits in my garage next to the box of snorkel gear we use every three years or so.

But not only has my perspective on these awards has changed, the value of the awards has changed as well.

And I blame the Media Department. Wait, what?

360 degree approach.
Holistic, agnostic media platforms.
These are all curses foisted up today's aspiring copywriters and art directors.

Back in the day (don't you love it when 44-year olds toss out terms like that?) you did a TV campaign, some print, some outdoor and maybe a radio spot. If the work was good and it won awards, the art director and the copywriter could lay legitimate claim to the authorship.

But now, there are UX people, coders, banner makers, page take overers, digital strategists, flip-flak confibulators, ad nauseum. And when awards are won, everyone wins. Except the people who did the hard work of coming up with the idea. Their contribution has been marginalized by some egalitarian precept that states, "we're all creative."

It's devaluation by dilution.

As a result you've got some kid who might have a done a banner ad for the Honda Grrrrrr campaign, showing up at job interviews whistling the tune as if he or she had written it. Next thing you know he's the new CCO.

Maybe there's a business idea in here. Just as there are websites that will do background checks on possible dating partners, I could create a similar business that would suss out the creative credentials of many a job applicant.

From what I can see many agencies ought to pay dollar for that kind of service.

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