…is about ideas. Ideas that make people think, make people smile, make people laugh, make people change the way they behave. It’s about creativity. Creativity in advertising and design. Creativity in the field of poetry, literature and screenplays. It’s about art. Sharing it, discovering it. Trying to understand it. It’s about getting things done. Not waiting for someone else to do it, or relying on someone else to get it done for you. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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Where’s all the love gone?

What’s wrong with this list of proper nouns?

Mumbai, Delhi, Dublin, Portland, Minneapolis, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Dubai, Cairo, Perth (Oz), Boston, Boulogne, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Middlesex, Munich, Hamburg, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal…

It doesn’t contain the cities: Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds…

It is, in fact, a list of cities where agencies that won at Cannes are based.
So, if Middlesex and Perth can win at Cannes, why can’t we?

A recent article on The Drum asked whether Manchester agencies are world class. Well, apparently not. And here’s the proof. For anyone unfamiliar with the Gunn report, familiarize yourself with it.

It takes the most award-winning creative work from around the globe and scores it. (The scores are based on national awards schemes. And at the time of pressing ‘publish’ The Cross of Iron award isn’t recognized by the Gunn report.)

And what was the Numero Uno most award-winning print ad campaign in the world, last year? Nike? VW? Sony? Adidas?

Not on your nelly.


Yes, Dixons.

The high-street electrical retailer.

Not only that, this campaign didn’t need any fancy megabucks production values. No, S’ree. Just a great idea, brilliant writing and an endline to die for. Oh, and a good sense of typography. (Though, to be honest, I don’t actually think the type’s that great. But who am I to argue with the most award-winning print campaign in the world.)

If this campaign doesn’t inspire you to think ‘Hey, I could do that!’ Then I don’t know what will.

I’m not talking about taking over the world. I’m just talking about setting the bar a little higher. Or, as my mate, Markham says – raise the floor. I think we should all feel a collective blush of embarrassment at the lack of presence by regional agencies at global awards.

Do I have to bang on about the mighty Fallon starting in Minneapolis or the behemoth W+K whose origins are in Portland, Oregon?

What irks me most about some people’s views on the top awards is their inability to see the correlation between brilliant work and sales.

Because, as you can see, the likes of Nike, VW, Dixons, Ikea, Axe (Lynx) are all tiny little shop-window brands that just win awards and don’t sell very much in the way of product.

I put it down to love. (The emotion, not the agency. Though, the agency are one of the exceptions to the rule, producing some outstanding work.)

I don’t think there are enough people at the Top Table who love what we do anymore. And actually believe in the power great work. (I can think of a few who do.)

What was it Bernbach said about the recently departed Phyllis Robinson? She had the ability to differentiate between “creative work” and “creative acrobatics.”

Because that’s the stuff that sells. And that’s the stuff that wins all the top gongs.

Try telling, Messrs Bernbach, Ogilvy, Abbott, Hegarty, Trott, et al that ‘creative work’ doesn’t sell.

So, come on, Batley! Come on, Accrington! Get them pentels out and we’ll meet on the Cote d’Azur next year!

Most awarded film:
CANAL+ “Closet” by BETC Euro RSCG (Paris)

Most awarded print campaign:
DIXONS.CO.UK “Sandals”/”Middle England”/”Piers” & campaign by Mc Saatchi (London)

Most awarded digital campaign:
IKEA “Facebook Showroom” by Forsman & Bodenfors (Gothenburg)

Most awarded agency network: BBDO

Most awarded agency: Almap BBDO (Sao Paulo)

Most awarded brand: Volkswagen

Most awarded digital agency: 1= DDB (Stockholm), Forsman & Bodenfors (Goteburg)

Most awarded country: USA

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