George Parker: Awards? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Awards!!

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

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Advertising is notorious for the number of awards it bestows on itself via various competitions, shows, books, magazines and Web sites. The only other activity outpacing the ad biz in the sheer volume of meaningless bits of tin and plastic that it showers on itself is the Country and Western music business. And as every song sounds exactly the same to me, I don’t quite see the point.

I have no idea how many award shows there are now, probably thousands if you include all the regional stuff put on by local ad clubs and organizations, most of which are primarily revenue generators to fund their programs for the rest of the year. But the ‘Biggies,” such as Cannes, D&AD, ANDY’s, EFFIES and others, continue on their merry way, hauling in dumpster loads of cash in the thousands of dollars entry fees for ever expanding categories of meaningless work that no one, except the originators gives a shit about.

The granddaddy of them all is the CLIO’s, started in 1959, it soon became the personal fiefdom of the notorious Bill Evens, who used it as his numbered Swiss bank account. The shit hit the fan at the 1991 Award’s when Bill disappeared with all the money shortly before the show, which ended up being hosted by the catering manager who had to fend off mobs of angry agency people storming the stage and stealing the prized statuettes! Ha, the good old days, fucking great. Bill died under mysterious circumstances and was rumored to have been found at his Manhattan town house in a re-enactment of Al Pacino’s final scenes in “Scarface.” Way to go, Bill!

But even the most prestigious, such as the Cannes free-for-all can be plagued by controversy and minor scandals. A few years ago, McCann was losing money hand over first (last time I looked, they still were.) So they hired “Ari’s” old yacht, the Christina O, and threw a two hundred thousand dollar party. Hey, the ad biz can keep up with the AIG’s of this world. And most people acknowledge that a pair proportion of the entries either never ran, or appeared once in the local chip shop weekly. Speaking of which, I’m a fan of Britain’s Chip Shop awards with its startling list of categories, including “Best use of a transvestite midget!”

But my new favorite is “The Rockies” hosted here in Boise, Idaho… Yeah, that’s fucking right… Boise, Idaho. Held last week, it was a blast. Not only was the quality of the work extremely high, the staging, presentation and crowd enthusiasm led me to believe you don’t have to be in some SoHo, fucking Twitter bar to see where the future of this business may be. Go to the Web site and check it out, then go on YouTube and see the amazing video of the impressive flying wings on the stage. It’s made entirely from about ten trillion tons of old newspapers! Then for a real treat, check out the intro video with the old guy presenter in front of a delectable selection of Boise’s finest strip club pole dancers, (thought that would get your attention!) as he announces that… The Rockies is for creative that didn’t suck, or at least, creative that sucked a little less than some other guys. Now that’s what I call a real awards show!

George Parker is a guest columnist for psfk.com. He is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.

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