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David Blacker’s Blog

Leo Burnett & Triad Win at Adfest

festival_index.jpgSo it’s finally happened. The avowed mission of the Chillies “to propel Sri Lanka’s advertising and marketing communications industry to world class standards” became reality last weekend with Leo Burnett and Triad winning a silver and bronze respectively at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival held in Pattaya, Thailand.

In the rather vindictive aftermath of the Chillies, Colombo’s top agencies had awaited Adfest with baited breath, expecting the international ad show to exonerate their victories and vindicate their grouses. Whether these two awards will do so will only be told in time, but the fact that Triad has already taken out a full page ad in Monday’s papers gives some inkling of the need to speak with a louder voice when actions fail.

It was very gratifying to see the Leo Burnett entry (the Magic Coffee Cup POSM done for the launch of a Harry Potter book at Odel’s bookshop) do so well, as I personally thought it was easily the best piece at the recently held Chillies show, even though it was beaten by Triad’s Make-Up. The Silver won at Adfest will certainly make the piece’s less than satisfactory showing at the Chillies more palatable. Basically, the piece was a cup of coffee with a mechanical teaspoon in it that stirred itself as if by magic. The cup was left — along with the book — at various places around the Odel mall in Colombo. A truly great idea which naturally captured the personality and essence of the brand in a way that a traditional POS piece such as a poster or cut-out most certainly would have struggled. The public reaction captured in this You Tube clip indicates its impact. The creative team can feel justifiably proud of themselves, not just for the idea, but for restraining themselves in execution and retaining the simplicity of the piece.

Triad’s ambient entry, Make-Up, had been created as a community service project to prevent the dumping of garbage in Colombo, and was done by giving abandoned building frontage and boundary walls (where garbage was being dumped) a face lift to give the impression that they were in use and thereby discouraging litter bugs. This wasn’t the most original idea (it has been done before in India), but nevertheless won a Gold at the Chillies in March. In Triad’s defence, it had taken the Indian idea a step further by actually transforming the buildings into something special and different, and actually using an illusion to deceive the public into behaving themselves.

makeup-1.jpg

So while the long-awaited — and I think inevitable — moment has arrived, it’s time to ask the inevitable question: Now What? Do we pat ourselves on our collective backs (after all, it’s “Sri Lanka Can”, not just “Triad Can”, no?) and say “well done, boys, let’s get back to our usual drivel ’til next year”? You see, the problem is, you can never go back. Now that these two awards have been won, Sri Lanka in general, and Leo Burnett and Triad in particular, will feel the pressure to perform as well or better in the future. And all the other agencies — or at least the rest of the big boys — will need to get up there as well.

However, more importantly, now that the Chillies mission has been accomplished, it remains to be seen if its vision of raising the bar of Sri Lankan advertising creativity will also come true. So far the standard of the tiny award-winning percentage of ads hasn’t been reflected in the rice & curry work we see every day before us; if at all, that standard has dropped somewhat in the past 8-10 years. There has also been a general notion amongst the ad fraternity (particularly the mid- and junior-level creatives) that scam wins and you can’t win if you don’t scam. In that light it’s refreshing to see an Adfest Silver go to a genuine piece of work. I look forward to seeing more such work scoring high at next years’ Chillies as well as at international shows in the future.

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April 1, 2008 - Posted by | advertising | , , , , , , ,

29 Comments »

  1. David are you posting comments at DBS Jeyaraj’s site? If not then there is someone out there doing so under your name, just FYI:

    5. David Blacker | April 1st, 2008 at 2:37 am
    So is the UTHR willing to hand over eye witnesses and any such evidence to the commission investigating the incident?

    http://transcurrents.com/tamiliana/archives/600

    Comment by Any Mouse | April 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. Yup, that’s me, thanks. 🙂

    Comment by David Blacker | April 2, 2008 | Reply

  3. ah david…you missed the IAA session yesterday? 🙂

    I think as an industry we have to make a call whether we allow scam to be recognized and rewarded at chillies and also define scam properly so we can settle this issue once and for all…

    Marketing fraternity must be laughing their butts off to see scam work winning awards and going into the history books as those who did “good” advertising 🙂

    In my opinion…yesterday the only man who made some good sensible points on scam was a client fella from unilever.
    I think he said something to the effect that it’s really pathetic to see scam ads winning top awards while marketing and advertising fraternity watch and cheer on the comedy show 🙂

    flame on 🙂

    Comment by Ranil | April 2, 2008 | Reply

  4. Yeah, was plannning on attending until I actually found out who was representing advertisng on the panel. I didn’t really fancy paying a grand plus to listen to that. I think they should’ve had a few respected CDs on (I’d’ve paid big bucks to hear Dileepa face off with Russell on the subject) and left out the agency heads and wanna-be’s.

    I think a balance has to be maintained at the Chillies. On one hand these are NOT marketing or effectivity awards. The Chillies aren’t for ads that worked, but for ads that have the potential to work. On the other hand, neither is it an art exhibition. I think the scam issue will die down once SL ECDs get a bit of responsibility and grow the balls to tell their agency heads where to get off. Once that happens we’ll see the meat of advertising improving, and not just the scammy cream.

    I think the Coffee Cup silver pointedly underlines the fact that good ads win awards. If it does as well at the Spikes and gets a mention at Cannes, the debate will be settled, at least in my eyes.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 2, 2008 | Reply

  5. Dileepa facing off against Russell… I’m with you on that, David. Would be delicious.

    Gatecrashed a Sinhala workshop yesterday with Dileepa, Summa, Dilith, and an articulate academic whose name escapes me. Truly excellent stuff. The discussion centred around Sri Lankans finding their own voice. And about how we should take hoppers to a world food festival and not try and make the perfect pizza. I believe the food metaphor was Rajiv’s.

    As Dilshara once pointed out, the international award scramble and the raising of the bar for general work are two very different things. Perhaps mutually exclusive. Scammers believe awards will fuel real work. Anti-scammers believe real work will garner awards. I believe both and neither.

    I disagree that award shows aren’t art exhibitions. I think that’s exactly what they are. Hence the disparity between what’s in the award annuals and what’s in the newspapers. Sometimes great real work wins. But awards have as much to do with great advertising as the Oscars have to do with great cinema. Have you tried sitting through Atonement?

    Award shows are about gamesmanship, lobbying, luck and are not without bias. This is not a sleight against Leo, I am one of Harry Cupper’s most devoted fans, but haven’t you noticed that in all award shows, judge agencies tend to be over-represented among the winners. I remember thinking this after listening to an integrated chairman lament the poor quality of work at Adfest and then reappear on stage 10 minutes later to accept the Grand Prix.

    What I’m saying is, if awards are the goal, there are ways and means. You can craft the perfect pizza, lobby for it in adsoftheworld and maybe stick a friendly voice on the judging panel. I don’t believe this is dishonest, it’s all part of the game. And while developing your own voice, like Thailand and India, can help this, you could choose to be like Singapore and speak well in someone else’s voice.

    But of course, this may or may not raise the bar. It will definitely make the creatives and the agency famous and for some shallow people like me, that’s motivation enough.

    But if we truly want to raise the bar, then we need more workshops like yesterday’s. We need to discuss real things like craft, culture, who we’re talking to and what voice we use. And if we are making pizzas, and let’s be honest, all of us are, let’s do it in private and have them delivered well before December.

    Sorry about the long post. But I have a bit more time on my hands these days.
    🙂

    Comment by Shehan | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  6. “I disagree that award shows aren’t art exhibitions. I think that’s exactly what they are.”

    If they are, why the rule that an ad must be published before entry? Why not just allow ads to be created in a vacuum? If there were no connection to the real world, and abstract work was allowed, then you could call it an art exhibition. The latter has no rules.

    “What I’m saying is, if awards are the goal, there are ways and means. You can craft the perfect pizza, lobby for it in adsoftheworld and maybe stick a friendly voice on the judging panel.”

    If so, don’t try to tell me it’s a good ad, then. And don’t try to be proud of the achievement. If you’re saying that winning a Cannes isn’t about being creative, but having the right pull, fine. I’ll congratulate Laila the next time you win an award, Shehan. 😉

    Would your cynical arguments about award fixing and lobbying have been the same if GME had won at Adfest? Forgive me, but it’s sounding a bit too much like “umpire hora”.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  7. Don’t we just love blowing smoke up the arse? Isn’t scam really the tip of the ice-berg? I fail to see any agency head or creative professional being absolutely satisfied by winning awards for scam.

    Big deal so scam ads won. Isn’t the real issue the state of marketing and the ethics of advertising in Sri Lanka? By ethics I don’t mean dishonestly submitting an ad done for no rhyme or reason for awards. I question the ethics of the advertising process altogether. As advertisers do we not provide an essential service? Through competition do we not facilitate better choice and value for the customer? Does the industry fulfill this role?

    In my eyes the whole industry is a scam. Most marketers are a bunch of blithering idiots. They treat consumers like morons. Most of these buffoons (Marketers) hate a smart bit of copy. They shoot it down if it’s beyond their comprehension. They cannot swallow the fact that a consumer can actually be smarter. This is probably because they see marketing as a process of pulling the wool over the consumer’s eye. In other words – that’s right, scamming them! When I said blithering before I meant it. I have it straight from the horse’s mouth – Marketing to these idiots is: the gift of the gab (preferably in English) cultivated by putting together arbitrary words in a sentence. This is the primary skill of many a brand manager who carries a monkey on a typewriter in their empty heads.

    These very same idiots also insist on dictating visual language and tone to pander to the whims of their superiors. They endorse copyright infringement and stealing images. They underpay talent and overplay media. They skimp on research and lavish budgets on lies. Does a four letter word beginning with S come to mind?

    Whole marketing teams are swayed by petty politics and bipartisanship. Do they do their job or is it one big scam? Who pays the ultimate price? The Consumer!

    As advertisers how often do we test the validity of claims made by the aforementioned buffoons? As advertisers are we getting the message across in the most efficient manner? Do we take the responsibility of creating strong brand loyalty? Do we even take the effort to make a message enjoyable or fun? So where’s the scam? At the awards…

    I actually saw the coffee cup on YouTube sometime ago. I do admit it’s a very nice piece. No argument. Can someone however give me figures on how effective it really was? Did kids line up along Ward Place for a copy? Were there overnight campers outside Odel? I agree it is work that has potential… So why the F*@< is this potential never Fu@<ing realized? When will clients and advertising heads ever take responsibility? Stop buggering each other and get real guys!

    Comment by Tivanka | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  8. Not saying umpire hora at all. I believe coffee cup is a quality piece and deserves every accolade it gets.

    I was merely pointing out that the award thing is very much a game. That doesn’t devalue the achievement. In fact, it makes it all the more admirable.

    If you want to walk the righteous path with the shepherds, go ahead. I’m happy squatting in the ditches with the tyranny of evil men. Down here the bullshit doesn’t smell as bad.

    Comment by Shehan | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  9. Tivanka, the Coffee Cup won awards for creativity. If Leo enters it into the Effies, perhaps we’ll find out if it was effective or not. I earlier used the example of doing prestige ads for brands like Mercedes and Ferrari. I think there were crowds at Odel for the Harry Potter launch. I doubt you’d see queues down Ward Place ‘cos English readership isn’t high enough in Colombo for that.

    Shehan, you are devaluing the creative achievement if you claim that it takes lobbying to win. What is then admirable (if you wanna admire something like that) is the lobbying.

    And it’s not a case of being righteous, but of being true to oneself. If you’re really in advertising for the awards, or wanna right a biography to be famous, so be it, but there are easier ways. My admiration is reserved for musicians who just wanna play ‘cos nothing compares to that expression, and writers who wanna write cos of that inner drive. It’s the same with advertising. And if you wanna flatter yourself with melodramatic lines about evil men in ditches, go ahead, I just think the guys in the ditches are the inept mass that constantly needs a boot in the arse to keep going. The only difference is whether that boot is a Chillie or the hope of fame. The reason the BS doesn’t smell as bad is ‘cos you’ve got used to being covered in it.

    As TS Elliot said:

    The last temptation is the greatest treason:
    To do the right deed for the wrong reason

    Comment by David Blacker | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  10. I don’t fault the creativity David. The queues were just a reference to select Harry Potter worldwide launch events. The only queues we see are for seasonal bargain sales at House of Fashion… Odel early days in Wella… Paan Polima during hard times… etc. The ad industry had very little to do with these turnouts. That’s my point – The industry does not mobilize people.

    The following statement got me TILTING.

    “In my opinion…yesterday the only man who made some good sensible points on scam was a client fella from unilever. I think he said something to the effect that it’s really pathetic to see scam ads winning top awards while marketing and advertising fraternity watch and cheer on the comedy show”

    I know of marketing morons who flaunt their advertising budgets as phallic symbols. Agencies happily pocket the 15% without a qualm. That’s costing the consumer an additional Rs. X for a bar of soap. I just felt the above quote had a ring of self righteous BS.

    Take the top award winners at Chillies. I feel they were ads with very little or no budget. You stated that award winning ads are ads with potential to work. In the current environment – Yes! But wouldn’t a better environment nurture award winning ads that also actually work? Shouldn’t the industry focus on creating such an environment in the wake of its successes instead of making a song and dance over scam?

    Can Sri Lanka go to Cannes and stand tall with a great concept that was also effective. I have yet to see amazing work for Unilever for example. (The client fella)… (A tactical product variant launch of scented sunlight cannot be counted as award winning advertising – however catchy the jingle was)

    The past 10 years Clients and Agency Heads have bludgeoned the industry into a whimpering scavenger. Now as it rears its head for a good howl they are at it again beating it into a cowering cur. They have stifled the industry and – in your words – work with potential.

    What gets my gall is that all this squabbling diverts attention from inadequately qualified marketing personnel and immoral advertising practices among agency heads (not scam ads but greater scams for which the consumer pays the ultimately price). Clients need to get their act together. So do agency heads. All this goes to prove that the only environment that nurtures creativity, right now, is the realm of scam.

    Comment by Tivanka | April 4, 2008 | Reply

  11. Tivanka,

    Don’t know if the “clients are arseholes” argument works. Clients don’t care if the art director wins a D&AD and why should they? They want to build brands that bring in sales and they’d settle for just the latter. If I was a client, I’d behave exactly the same.

    David, I hear you about the writers and the musicians, but I don’t believe what we do is a glint of a shadow of a gasp of what they do. Perhaps there is potential for paradigm-shifting greatness in what we do. I just haven’t seen it yet. All I see is a shallow business filled with shallow people.

    I know you as a man of the world and find it difficult to believe that you believe in your own idealism. So I’ve come to two conclusions. Either you’re standing on the pulpit to curry favour with potential clients/agency heads. Or you’re playing devil’s advocate for the sake of argument.

    You honestly don’t strike me as an boot-kisser. So I guess you must be Keanu. 🙂

    Comment by Shehan | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  12. Tivanka, I explained why you won’t see that sort of turnout in SL for a booklaunch. Same way you won’t see people queueing up for Star Wars cos they’ve seen the pirated DVD. Doesn’t mean the work wasn’t good. From what I heard, Odel asked for a poster, and got the Coffee Cup. Job well done, I say.

    As for the rest of your post, I mostly agree. But I feel the media industry is fuelling merdiocre advertising by offering such cheap rates. Why be daring and memorable when you can be repetitious, is what the marketing guys say. Why risk a creative ad when you can bombard the consumer with a boring 30-sec every ten minutes?

    If a client can only afford one spot a day, you can be damn sure he’ll want something creative.

    Shehan, I wasn’t comparing ad people to musicians or writers, just using the example. There are bands and then there are boy bands after all. I think you take my point.

    I’m not talking about idealism, but in believing in what you do. If you think advertising’s a shallow field with shallow people, then what are you doing in it? Do something you believe in.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  13. Tivanka, another thing. You pointed out that the award winning ads at the Chillies were for clients with little or no budgets. You’ll find it was the same at Adfest, and will be the same at Cannes. The reason is that the big boys (in SL, people like Hemas, Unilever, and Nestle) are less open to creativity, ‘cos they feel tried and tested formulas, repeated endlessly, work, and creativity doesn’t. The little chaps let their agencies freer reign, ‘cos they’ve less to lose. No one cares if Leo fucks up the Harry Potter launch or if garbage continues to be dumped. Until good work is got past the big guys and awarded, this trend won’t change.

    Which brings me back to my main reason for disliking scam. The more the latter is awarded, the more the big clients will tell me that creativity is for the small fry with no mediaspend. And they’ll be right. If you have money to burn, you don’t need creativity, ‘cos creativity saves money by doing with one ad what a mediocre needs ten ads for. So the gap increases.

    Your suggestion that advertising does little for some brands beyond adding to its product cost, I’d tentatively agree when it comes to a lot of those household products that Unilever and some others sell. I mean there’s very little to advertise between one washing liquid and another, but they insist on doing it, whereas in more developed countries those products are no longer advertised, relying instead on POS.

    So if you’re leading up to the inevitable “is advertising necessary?” I’d say “it depends”. But if a client wants it, we provide it.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  14. Tivanka
    I see you’ve go all heated up after my statement about that unilever client 🙂
    As i’ve said clearly there… from what was discussed on the the “scamming” topic…everybody else was just blabbering rubbish. The day ended without reaching a clear consensus or at least some form of intelligent dialog between the warring parties. The client fella had a firm stand against scam and he was vocal about it…i respect that than those who were trying to justify scam but didn’t want to do it openly 🙂

    I’m not defending the marketing fraternity…hell i’m also in creative dept and i do agree with some of your comments. But at the same time when you look at certain research reports etc etc… absolutely dumbass ads have worked too… so it’s very difficult to take on clients when they come up with case studies like these… I’m sure most of the agency folks present here would agree that this is one of those battles that has been raging on since the birth of advertising and marketing… This maybe why that even in highly developed markets like US, UK majority of the ads are absolutely crap. But their good stuff is absolutely great stuff…which is where we should be trying to move towards…
    David has nicely summarized why we need to be creative so i wont go there. And he has also done a good job in explaining why big marketers are too “safe”. But imho, ad agencies also haven’t really come up with breakthrough strategies and world changing ideas. If you really analyze majority of the work, most ads don’t have proper thinking behind them.
    When agencies can’t get their thinking right and try to be clever for the sake of being clever without having the brand’s interest at heart i think it’s unfair only to blame the client.
    This is also why that we don’t even have great ads in our graveyard category…cos our thinking still needs a lot of work…

    We all have had many good ideas shot by the client for no reason at all. But rather than getting bogged down and blasting the client you try to better your ads. get everything bulletproof so the client can’t shoot it. If the bugger still shoots it down…maybe its high time you fire the client and move onto something else. Some clients are actually so dumb it’s not worth wasting your time on them 🙂
    Or you agree to do the “dumb” ads and tolerate the dumb client for the sole reason to make money and money alone.

    And onto potter cup… Yes it will be going to effies and according to stats we have it was a huge success.
    David has nicely summed up reasons as to why we didn’t see long queues on the roads but in numbers the client sold more books than anybody else in the country in record time.
    And those who experienced that piece of work first hand will probably never forget it and they will never forget ODEL… I think that piece of work has done it’s job to perfection.
    “Sri Lanka can” i’d say :o)

    Comment by Ranil | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  15. btw david
    didn’t see you around in DN in a while :o)

    Comment by Ranil | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  16. I don’t go to DN much, Ranil. Having to deal with the constant abuse just isn’t worth the effort. Heck, most of ’em haven’t a clue about what’s really happening in SL, and don’t wanna be told. I just read the articles and don’t bother with the forums, but even the news there is now usually stale and less detailed than on other sites. Pity, ‘cos the site had a lot of potential.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  17. DW seems to come up with some more hands-on info these days.
    good to see theses types of portals coming up to combat the rubbish propaganda both sides seems to be very good at…
    i think DN still is a pretty good portal…just that some bloggers there tend to worship certain political ideologies and leaders without properly analyzing ground realities… both on and off the battlefield.

    Comment by Ranil | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  18. Hi Shehan,

    I agree with you that advertising is oftentimes a shallow business. But for all the frustration and stupidity we have to deal with, I can think of few other industries that offer such opportunity to learn, to think, to express, and to have a little fun.

    I also agree that we have our fair share of shallow people. Unfortunately, a bunch of blowhards, hustlers, charlatans and juveniles seem to be the public face of our business these days. But at the same time, many of the most genuinely interesting, intelligent, thoughtful and compelling characters I have ever met have been in advertising. The list is too long to mention, but some of them are actually in your creative department. Surely you know this to be true.

    Finally, inasmuch as you are surprised by David’s ‘idealism’, I’m frankly a bit surprised by the depth of your cynicism. I know we’re not here saving the planet or spreading joy or anything. But anyone who speaks up for doing good work for its own sake is an ass-licker? Winning an international award is all about arm-twisting judges? Oscars only go to unwatchable movies? Do you honestly believe all this?

    Didn’t you like American Beauty?

    Comment by rajivmw | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  19. I loved American Beauty.
    But I think we’re living in a bad Oscar decade.
    Check this out.

    Here’s a sample of Best picture winners from the 90s.
    Dances with Wolves
    Silence of the Lambs
    Unforgiven
    Schindler’s List
    Forrest Gump
    English Patient
    Braveheart
    Shakespeare in Love
    and of course, American Beauty

    Here are a few best picture nominees from the 90s.
    Pulp Fiction
    Shawshank Redemption
    Fargo
    Saving Private Ryan
    A Few Good Men
    The Sixth Sense
    JFK
    In the name of the Father

    Not too shabby, you might say.

    What has this decade had to offer?
    Here’s our last 6 best picture winners.
    No Country for Old Men
    The Departed
    Crash
    Million Dollar Baby
    LOTR3
    Chicago (!)

    Nominees have included
    Seabiscuit
    Capote
    Babel
    In the Bedroom
    The Aviator
    The Hours
    and yes, I mean yawn, Atonement

    Pretty grim huh?
    Don’t even get me started on the Grammies.

    Comment by Shehan | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  20. So Hollywood made crap movies in the last decade. Having said this, Shehan:

    “But awards have as much to do with great advertising as the Oscars have to do with great cinema”

    What exactly is your point? Could you get to that before you slash your wrists? Thanks.

    Oh, and Keira Knightly getting banged against a bookshelf? I think that’s great cinema 🙂

    Comment by David Blacker | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  21. rajivmw,
    What’s a blowhard? They sound like fun. Little I can add to such an informed debate. Enjoyed American Beauty if that helps?

    Comment by Nils | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  22. The Oscar digression had absolutely nothing to do with anything. Apologies.

    But let’s see if I can construct a clumsy analogy. Hollywood spends 90% of its resources making popcorn fare and sequels. Then come awards season, out come the literary adaptations and the art films. You guys seem to be suggesting that instead of independently financing an American Beauty for awards, we should try and weave an existential unrequited homosexual interracial love story into Rambo 4.

    Good luck with that.

    Comment by Shehan | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  23. And Nils, you may be only hererosexual male on the planet to utter the words, “Blowhard? That sounds like fun!” 🙂

    Comment by Shehan | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  24. Shehan, either your analogy’s incomplete, or just too clumsy for me to grasp, but let me try to clear it up, ‘cos there’s always the danger in such discussions for the analogy to become the object.

    Movies are about entertainment as well as expression, but more the former than the latter. The movie maker uses an entertaining script to express a message. He or she baits the viewer into accepting his world view. American Beauty did both very well and was awarded. Rambo 4 entertains (I’ve not seen it but I assume it does) and (I suppose) expresses a message. But it does it crudely and is unlikely to win anything. Then you get the art films that entertain at a certain level, but don’t necessarily get the message across. These sometimes win awards, but often don’t. Either way, they are all genuine work and not scam. I don’t think you get any entries at the Oscars which were aired in a private cinema in the last week of December.

    Advertising also needs to be entertaining while delivering a message. However, in advertising, the message is the bottom line. If the target market doesn’t get it, it has failed, no matter how entertaining. Ads that are awarded are entertaining and (within the view of the judges) understandable. The Unilever model of ads which deliver a message, albeit boringly, don’t get awards. Neither does scam which merely entertains, but has no message beyond one cooked up to retain authenticity.

    Finally, and where the film analogy must end, is the fact that the Oscars and most other film awards are races. There is only one award in each category, and these are always awarded. At worst, the least bad movie will win (like at SLIM). So the Oscars do reflect the movie industry — the best movies win (or the least bad). If (as you say) ad shows do not reflect the ad industry, then it’s ‘cos buggers like you try and enter scam. Send in good, genuine work, and when it wins, it’ll pull the rest of the industry along to the point where the mean average rises dramatically. In this process, the pinnacle of the ad shows might drop a tad in the short term, but at least it will be relevant to the industry.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  25. “Oh, and Keira Knightly getting banged against a bookshelf? I think that’s great cinema”

    whoah when did this happen? 🙂

    Comment by Ranil | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  26. You know, the famous green dress sex scene in the library in Atonement.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  27. err i’ve not watched that movie just yet 😦
    thanks for giving me a very good excuse to hit a dvd joint to check it out 🙂
    not before trying my luck on youtube though 😉

    Comment by Ranil | April 9, 2008 | Reply

  28. I have been tilting at windmills – much to my own amusement. I do however appreciate your comments; David. You’ve given me some valuable perspectives.

    I am glad that the Harry Potter launch won an award at Adfest. Please accept my sincere apologies for some of my sentiments seem to belittle the efforts of this creative piece. This, however, was not intended. I do accept the “Self stirring tea cup” as a simple and engaging piece worthy of much praise.

    The advertising industry of Sri Lanka, I feel, is at a pivotal point. The window of opportunity is open for some bold initiatives. I see that the betterment of the industry lies in the hands of many parties. Good work firmly remains the responsibility of agencies and staff. However clients and media institutions also play a vital role in creating an environment in which such work may consistently thrive. What steps must we take today to ensure higher quality of advertising? Work that is submitted for awards are also shaped by clients and media… What role if any can/will they play in shaping Sri Lankan advertising?

    I see scam as the gung-ho front line revolutionary of our ad industry, today. It is bound to find its ignoble end soon. When it does however, I hope we can expect an industry that is wiser and greater to arise from the ashes. (I don’t mean Phoenix…). May we live in interesting times!

    Comment by Tivanka | April 20, 2008 | Reply

  29. “I do accept the “Self stirring tea cup” as a simple and engaging piece worthy of much praise.”

    It was a cup of coffee, though some people have pointed out that tea would’ve better reflected the brand personality, since Potter’s English 😉

    I’m not sure whether SL advertising really is at a pivotal point right now. Creativity certainly is, with this first breakthrough into one of the big international shows. Personally, I feel advertising has lost a lot of ground in SL in the last 8 years or so, and no longer holds the pole position it once did in a marketer’s mind. This is even more true where ad agencies are concerned. Many of the larger shops are still controlled by people who are living twenty years in the past, and haven’t adapted to changing times, thus allowing freelancers to undermine their position. ten or twenty years ago, a big agency such as JWT or Lintas had a diverse portfolio of brands and clients providing them with daily rice & curry work. That has changed, with many of the big agencies now depending on one or two big clients, like Hemas or Unilever. Smaller brands have been snapped up or eaten into by the faster smaller fish. This lack of smaller brands has disabled the big agencies outlet for regular creativity.

    It’s a huge spiral to which media houses and a general lack of agency strategy has heavily contributed, and is just too long and convoluted to really get into in a forum like this.

    You ask how we can improve ad standards, and that’s the million dollar question. But is it the right question? Ads only cater to a marketer’s demands, and as long as the demand for quality is low, the ad will remain low in quality, except for the occasional coffee cup and painted wall, and the sackload of scam we churn out each December. And this’ll do fuck all for SL advertising standards. The only way the marketers will demand better ads is when media skyrockets. Right now they’re as happy as pigs in shit.

    Til then we can improve quality by better exposure. Send more creative people for award shows in the region, and better still engage in long-term exchange of personnel with better devoloped ad markets such as India, Thailand, Singapore, etc, and at a mid-level, not just ECDs and CSDs. We need to send people out to get the exposure we need.

    Comment by David Blacker | April 20, 2008 | Reply


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