Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is it me, or does it stink in here?

Sometimes camels take a crap.
Maybe that's what happened at Lynx. I don't know. I don't like talking about advertising here. That's not what "The Camel's Toe" is supposed to be about. Why waste precious pixels on ad bullshit when other blogs do such a great job of it already? But this month, the '09 Lynx Award Show made Dubai stink last week, and for that offense I can't help myself. So forgive me while I digress from the typical stories of Arab graffiti, sand in my bra, nasty camel milk and succulent beaches, but I need to vent.

Lynx judges, you have killed a little bit of my faith in creative advertising. It's a tiny death, mind you, nibbling away at our shared love for original ideas and honest people. I am not jealous of the winning work. I WISH I was jealous. I LOVE being jealous of amazing work. It sets the bar higher. Jealousy of ideas I wish I'd thought of myself, beautiful writing, fresh art, it all keeps the creative heart beating. I'm more embarrassed, than angry, because the ones who SHOULD be embarrassed probably aren't.

I was frustrated though, that Tuesday night, so it's good that I didn't manage to run into one particular Creative Director/self-declared "roll model," as I made my tipsy way through the celebrating and equally pissed off masses towards the exit.

I'd like to think I wouldn't have regretted a word of what I didn't have the opportunity to say. (Double negative anybody?) Are you proud of yourself? Really? How would you define the phrase, "hack" given the opportunity? So, were you just too much of a "pussy" to show your face on the cover of Campaign magazine? I can't IMAGINE why. Instead I just went home and went too bed, a far better use of my evening.

Considering the unethical, copycat, "borrowed," un-client approved, lazy work for products (that in some cases) don't even EXIST in the Middle East, that our dear Lynx judges unwittingly chose to either celebrate this year, or perhaps simply draw attention to, I'm glad my shortlisted babies didn't have to endure such rank company. But then again, thank goodness for the few legit pieces of fresh thinking that SHOULD be the focus of the post award show buzz. It's a shame the scam artists of our industry have tarnished the setting, and I hate that I feel compelled to write about it. I'd rather be gushing with love and envy. To the judge who said something along the lines of, "this is for a big name brand, therefore it can't possibly be scam," I'm afraid you've been scammed. But at this point, I'm sure you realize. But the stolen fed-ex turned aramex ad? The gummie bears? Really? did an entire panel of judges really not recognize them? Life must be nice underneath that rock.

Recycling's "in" this year
This image started surfing the inter-continental-agency email waves the next day. I don't know who made it, but it gave me a nice chuckle. Thanks, cute creative with a sense of humor. Can we be friends?

Want the details?
I know you do. Cause like I said...why hate on ads, when someone else has already done it. No need to re-write the play-by-play.

One optimistic friend told me, "I kinda think that Fp7 was actually made an example of. By giving them agency of the year, showing the ads that were obviously scammy, maybe the judges were making a statement." I hadn't thought about it that way. Maybe he's got something there. Maybe some healthy embarrassment will come of it. Maybe my myopic, bitchy little perspective has been too busy downing a second desert to notice. I'd like to think so. Maybe the copy-ads were innocent. We've all done it by accident before. You see something, it sticks in your head in a hidden sort of way, and you think you think it up later on. Or it's might just be a good idea that's occurred to more than one person at more than one agency at the same time. It happens. Like the JWT/TBWA bandaid/Hansaplast ad. It's weird when brains are thinking in parallel. Telepathy is creepy-cool. Maybe this sort of innocence just happened a lot this year, but then again, odds are against it.

To everyone else who's jaw was dangling in the mediocre chicken gravy that night, remember, Karma works. I've seen it. (Sometimes it works fast, and unfolds right in front of you, and that's really satisfying.) So create on, my friends. Make us all jealous with your golden originality next year, and I will love you. Just, please for the love of God, Allah, Al Lat, Buddha, Ganesha, Zeus, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, please let the work be truly yours. Let it be for a legit client, even if it's a tiny one you had to seek out for awards, then at least get the product right. Let the idea be new. Let recycling just be for empty bottles and wasted paper, and planet friendliness. Then, as you wave your ego-trophy in inebriated well-deserved joy, I will be the first to stand up and cheer my heart out for you.