Some serious soul searching is required

So Ramsey Naja was right. The aftermath of the Dubai Lynx has descended into a war of words, with fingers being pointed all over the shop.

There is genuine cause for concern surrounding some of the winners at this year’s Lynx and an investigation is fully justified, but there are aspects of the fallout that remind me of the worst traits of the region’s media industry. If certain individuals spent as much time trying to move the industry forward as they do spouting anonymous vitriol, we’d be in a far better position than we are now. This should be an open debate, not an anonymous argument.

Euro RSCG’s Steffan Postaer must be sitting comfortably back in his office in Chicago wondering what the hell’s going on. Here’s a region, according to him, that’s stuck in the 80s and can’t be judged by international standards. That is a worry. How can an industry progress if it is being treated like a child? And – others have already said this – what must the world be thinking as it looks on at the mess that this has become?

Still, all this talk of copycats, scams, frauds and cheats is only one of the industry’s worries. This was not a vintage Lynx year. Apart from the odd exception, the industry appears to have regressed, not progressed. Where was the brilliant and genuine outdoor, where was the inspiring print, why were there so few entries in the integrated category, and why is the industry so fixated with traditional media when the rest of the world is moving on? The organisers of the Lynx went to great lengths to provide valuable seminars that offer guidance into the murky waters ahead. And if you made it to the seminars held by Strawberry Frog founder Scott Goodson and chief creative officer of Pereira O’Dell, PJ Pereira, you would have discovered that the future lies in the creation of bona-fide cultural movements, not two-dimensional executions.

The big danger from all of this, of course, is that agencies will be discouraged from entering future Dubai Lynx awards. That must not happen. It’s the only credible awards show we have, and I doubt we’ll get another. If Cannes Lions can’t succeed, no one will. That’s why the organisers are acting quickly to make sure the integrity of the awards is kept intact and that those who have cheated are punished accordingly. But it’s time for some serious soul searching, because without each other, without a respectable awards show, and without an eye on the future, the industry is going nowhere.


3 Responses to Some serious soul searching is required

  1. Shahir Ahmed says:

    Kudos, Iain.

    I just finished reading this week’s issue and I must congratulate you on your very measured response to this hyped up non-event. While the jackals are abroad, ramping up their mock outrage, the absence of sensationalism on Campaign’s part was quite inspiring.

    We’ve learned some valuable lessons in the past few days. The industry clearly hasn’t matured yet. The practitioners within it, even less so. It’s clear that creative people need to get a better grip on reason and reboot their sense of entitlement.

    I remember joking about the Aramex-FedEx thing the day after Lynx, but do I really believe that an agency with 40 great ideas had to steal one of them? Of course, not. The same goes for Kwik. This is a campaign done by a team that’s busy coming up with ideas and not researching archives. Brain-O-Brain takes the cake, though. This campaign has produced more envy than I thought humanly possible. Two million creatives saw the poster and saw art. One creative saw an ad. By all means, let’s crucify him.

    Amidst all the grumbling and walking out, my take on Lynx 09 can be summed up in just three words. Cairo. Cairo. Cairo. While this region’s work is getting increasingly international and ultimately bland, Cairo is rapidly developing its own advertising patois. The work they’re producing is charming and sticky as hell. I really can’t see the region’s first Cannes Grand Prix coming from anywhere else. Well done, Cairo. You make us all proud.

    As for the people at the Y&R Dubai table at Lynx, we applauded everybody. Including Agency of the Year. We love winning awards. But we love advertising more.

    Take care.

  2. Tom Roychoudhury says:

    I have to agree. I did see perhaps a couple of really, really good stuff. I did like the Heinz stuff and the Coke tv from Cairo. Grand Prix winners both. But not much else had me standing, whistling and rooting. I didn’t see this year absolute wonders like the Cannes gold winning Medal of Honor. So, I agree with Campaign, we took one step back. Not sure if we went all the way to the 80’s (and that’s one rather big wounding comment), but yes, we did.

    I am appalled at the lack of interest in digital and interactive, and in the integrated engagement of the consumer via multiple touch points, multiple senses, multiple channels. What we saw this year is so two-dimensional at most, it’s worrying.

    The sanctity of the regional awards is important, the prestige of it equally so. And it won’t be cleaned up, and polished, just by punitive action on scammers and copy cats, it will be held high only by enthusiastic participation, well rounded content, and honest to goodness trying all year to produce good work.

    One other note. Through the absolute filth that has surrounded this year’s Lynx, there are a few, count them on one hand actually, that have stood by, watched, observed but not participated in the witch hunt. Well done Team Y&R.

  3. anubis says:

    one copycat agency complementing another. bravooooo.

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