The cutting room floor - Chip Shop Awards
To celebrate the launch of this year’s Chip Shop Awards – the annual celebration of great advertising ideas – The Drum asked creative directors to delve deep into their drawers and cherry-pick some of the best ads they’d dreamt up which never saw the light of day.
According to Warren Gaskell, creative director of Gyro International’s Manchester-arm, having a great idea knocked back by the client represents one of the most frustrating aspects of his job.
“You’ve done something you’re excited about, something that gives you that feeling that says ‘this will get me noticed’,” says Gaskell, before the wide-eyed enthusiasm pales into weary discontent. “Then, three weeks down the line, the client says they liked it but thought it wasn’t quite on brand, or on strategy, or whatever.”
Gaskell admits rejection is hard, but the protagonist of the lashes ad which didn’t quite suit the client says it isn’t worth bearing a grudge. Well, kind of. “I don’t still hate that god damn, short-sighted, number crunching, spineless, traditionalist, unadventurous, vanilla, unimaginative, narrow-minded son of a bitch who decided it wasn’t quite ‘on strategy’,” he clarifies, tongue firmly implanted in cheek.
Chester-based Sequoia’s Andy Johns can empathise with Gaskell, explaining the rationale behind his agency’s ‘Cork’ ad. “This is one of a series of executions echoing the romance of cork versus the cheap and nasty nature of screw caps. We particularly loved the heart shaped shadow that the cork makes and when combined with the copy we really believed it was a winner.
“Anyway, it wouldn’t be here if it had won and it didn’t. So, there was no popping of champagne corks when we got the news and to this day we still believe there was something dodgy going on in the pitch – probably a bung or something.” Johns adds, wryly.
Big Communications has proffered work the agency produced for Lil-Lets and Berghaus.
In the end, creative Richard Davis says, the client just preferred a different direction.
Indeed, it’s not uncommon for a client to get itchy feet over an ad, and changing strategy last minute is an occupational hazard for many a creative. Rarely will a client cite the ‘language barrier’ as a hurdle for running though, as they did with Uber’s Bosch spots.
Director at the Sheffield-based agency, Richard Benjamin picks up the story. “The UK Bosch marketing team were very keen to run with the van press ad as a washroom poster but they struggled to get the German head office to fully grasp the humour. Even though the poster was for UK only, the Germans couldn’t sign it off as they didn’t get it. Methinks the UK marketing department should be trusted to understand its own market!”
So, sick of hearing your client say, “nein”, or – perhaps more likely - “we love it, we really do, but…”? Then get your entry ready for this year’s Chip Shop Awards.
With no rules, guidelines or clients to get in the way, the Chip Shop Awards are unique among industry bashes. Not just for rewarding unblemished creativity, but also for offering up a bag of chips instead of the usual three-course fare for dinner.
So, if a bag of chips and maybe an award to boot sounds tempting, keep your eyes open for the call for entries which will be sent out in February, with the deadline for entering 23 May.
The Chip Shop Awards will be held during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Thursday 21 August.
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