"handed out like candy bars in online"


I've been wanting to write a reaction to last week's D&AD awards.

Now someone else has done it for me.

Here's a wonderfully thought-provoking guest post, by award-winning DDB London creative Rob Messeter.

I know it's the future and everything, and everyone seems to be wetting themselves with excitement over it (particularly marketing people) but, is it me, or is most online advertising really pony.

I’m not just talking about the big shouty garish banners, or the annoying pop up things, I'm actually thinking of the supposedly award-winning stuff.

For instance the Virgin Casino campaign that last week picked up a silver Pencil in the online advertising category. Let me refresh your memory, you click on the word 'Spin' and a chap dressed like a croupier, wait for it, spins around. In another execution, you click on the word ‘Stand’, and a man stands up. Genius. If I presented anything so woeful to my creative director he'd laugh me out of the room.

Have a look for yourself.

Of course this is just one isolated example, so lets look at another. Another pencil winner in the same category. The Mercedes GL Banner. It’s a shocker. Car drives around bumpy terrain, and glass of water doesn’t get spilt. Ford made a TV ad like this almost a decade ago.

But, these campaigns are over a year old, and things move quickly in digital. Lets look at something current. A recent campaign from the same agency that created the Virgin Casino work.

This time the work is for COI/Anti-Smoking, 'There's never been more ways to get rid of cigarettes.' Now, lets skip the 10 word endline and move straight to the series of 'games' a term used very loosely as in fact they weren't games at all. One of the ways to get rid of cigarettes is apparently to drop an elephant on them, or lower them into a vat of acid. The hottest campaign from the hottest digital agency in town? Hmmm. A strategy that will never make a smoker stop smoking wrapped up in a series of 'games' that would only engage/ challenge/ interrupt a 3 year old.

I think we need to get some perspective. Digital is still relatively in its infancy. As time goes on I’m sure we will begin to see more maturity in the work. But for the moment, everyone please calm down. Clients, throwing all your money mindlessly into digital might not always be the best answer to your business problem. And awards juries, please try and be a bit more critical. In a year when the brilliant Nike St.Wayne poster didn’t get a look in at D&AD, pencils were being handed out like candy bars in online.

There’s something not right there.

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