Some serious soul searching is required

March 29, 2009

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.

Steffan Postaer explains his Dubai Lynx outburst

March 17, 2009

steffanThe judging of the Dubai Lynx’s TV and cinema category got off to a controversial start on Sunday thanks to comments from international judge Steffan Postaer (see post below).

In a blog first leaked by mUmBRELLA, the  chairman and chief creative officer of Euro RSCG Chicago described the region’s TV entries as “primitive”.

Here he explains himself exclusively to Campaign:

“The festival was cross with me for being so harsh and I didn’t want to make enemies in this part of the world so I told them to go ahead and cut it [his blog posting] down if it makes them happy. And they did and that’s fine and in the end we will be awarding television campaigns so all is not lost, it’s not that big a drama.

“In the end when you look at it from different perspectives the second and third time, there was quite a bit of work that had merit. I, and the rest of the judges, on first pass were pretty despondent about the whole lot of it actually. I rushed to my computer to file this blog and I shouldn’t have done that. If I’d just waited a day to discuss it, some things would have risen further up than they did.

“I think you’re moving towards international standards but international standards might have made for a much harsher awards show. We were reminded with all due respect that this was a regional show and not an international show from around the world, it’s from the region. While we’re judges from Europe, Asia and the States we shouldn’t be looking at the work purely from our own feet, so it’s a little bit of a grey area.

“The good news is I saw a lot of very excellent work in print and outdoor, as good as anywhere. There’s really some beautiful pieces from a bunch of places, from a number of clients in posters and in press. It was the radio and television that I found lacking.”

The TV/cinema shortlist is announced today.