Monday, June 20, 2016
Sitting in judgment
It's award season in advertising again.
I think we all know that from the flood of tweets and pictures from Cannes appearing on our Facebook feeds.
"Look, there's that Mucketty Muck Creative Director who didn't approve my Super Bowl spot. Doesn't he look like he's having a good time in his plaid shorts and his $120 Calvin Klein Crew Neck T-Shirt. I hope he drinks too much rose wine, eats some bad snails and blows chunks all over that CFO who tried to idiot-splain why the agency didn't have any money this year - or the past 5 years -- for bonuses, raises or new computers to replace the 2007 MacBooks. Oh and look, they're on a yacht."
Wait, where was I before I got diverted onto my tired Bernie Sanders like rant about the financial inequality plaguing the ad industry?
Oh yes, awards.
Well, before they can hand out the trinkets, trophies and metallic validation of our oh-so-disposable Skip Ads and Viral Stunts, there's an award judging season.
That's when cream of the crop creatives, from all over the land, are flown to exotic locations to sit in imperial favor and cast their discerning eyes on who and what shall be admitted to their inner circle.
Here too, we are often treated to a photographic collage of their international adventures via social media.
They're in Aruba.
Any destination that manages to skirt the agency's restrictive rule on flying Business Class and earns these prestigious judges their precious pre-flight warmed chocolate chip cookie.
I use the term cream of the crop creatives because it is a status I have successfully avoided.
I came close in my day, but was always denied entry. In many ways it's like a high school cafeteria. I never sat with the football players and the cheerleaders, but occasionally managed to pull up a stool next to the lacrosse team equipment manager or the flag twirlers.
That is not to say that I have never been asked to judge a show.
A dozen years ago, I was invited to partake in the decision making for the Pele Awards. Never heard of them? Neither had I. Turns out they are a second tier local awards show for our ad colleagues living in Hawaii.
It rained the three days we were there. Apparently the Motel 6 was booked to capacity and my wife and I were put up at the Royal Illikai in the heart of Waikiki. There was nothing remotely royal about the place. And as we joked later, while fighting off food poisoning from room service spicy tuna poke, they managed to put the ILL in ILLIKAI.
As recently as 8 months ago, I was asked to judge another show. I can't even remember who it was for. I do remember that the work sucked and, even better, the judging was all online.
Fueling my wife's oft-heard complaint, "We never leave Culver City."