Advertising will eat itself

May 27, 2014

OK yes, I have won a couple of awards eons ago (have to be entered to win them) and yes, you do feel smug and proud and yes, it does look good on the CV but at the end of the day in the real world... I read this from a link on oneminutebriefs.

From The Gate

In 1998, Dave Droga was a judge at the Clio Advertising Awards.

The judging was held in New York at the hotel Dave was staying in.

It went on all day so there were lots of breaks.

During one of these, Dave went off to make some phone calls.

He thought he’d pop up to his hotel room to make them in private.

As he got in the elevator, there were five other guys in it.

They were wearing identity badges similar to the one Dave had on.

As they talked, he looked at their badges.

They were all attending an international symposium on bathrooms.

The hotel obviously hosted lots of awards shows and symposiums.

As the elevator went up, Dave overheard their conversation.

“Can you believe how big Italian tiles are this year?”

“They’re just copying what was big last year, they’re already on the way out.”

“Yeah, we started importing those tiles years ago, they’re just copying us.”

“Talking about copying man, did you see National’s stand with all those vanity mirrors?”

“Yeah, pretty crappy designs though”

“True, they didn’t do it as well as they could have.”

“They’re too big to be really innovative.”

“They just worry about the bean-counters at head office.”

“Saw some great bathrooms today though.”

“That’s a fact. I feel pretty inspired by some of that.”

“Some amazing product in there this year.”

“Yeah, exciting times to be in the business.”

And then the elevator reached Dave’s floor and he got out.

As he walked to his room, he smiled at the conversation.

How could they care about stuff like bathrooms?

How could they think anyone else cared about bathrooms?

Who would think there would even be such a thing as an international symposium on bathrooms?

At least he was here for something exciting and glamorous.

An international advertising awards show.

Then he stopped.

And he thought “Fuck, that must be just how we sound to the average punter”.

And he suddenly got advertising’s place in the world.

He realised, we build what we do up as if it’s the most important thing there is.

As if everyone cares as much about advertising as we do.

When actually it’s no more important to most people than bathrooms.

Most people will find it hard to believe there’s an awards show for advertising.

Much less believe there are dozens of awards shows for advertising.

And everyone cares desperately about every award and who won it.

And that was a wake up call for Dave.

That we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

If we do, we’re just doing it for ourselves.

When we should be doing it for real people in the real world.

And he always remembered that conversation in the elevator.

Later on Dave Droga would go on to open his own agency.

It would be incredibly successful and have branches in New York, London, and Sydney

And, incidentally, it would win every award there is many times over.

By realising that advertising shouldn’t take itself too seriously.

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