This article originally appeared in AdNews.
Cannes is done for another year and once again I’m left with a slightly itchy feeling that all is not quite right in the world.
Sure, the ads were good (great, as our industry likes to call them) and it looks like many a good meet-up, piss-up and hook-up was had. No problem with that.
What bugs me is the possibility that maybe what we award in this world is not always what we should award in this world.
This year, like every year, the most creative ads are for the worst products. Junk food to fat kids, soft-roaders to yummy mummies. Advertising creates demand. So do we ever stop and ask what we’re creating demand for?
Is it the advertiser’s fault? No. It’s their job to make us want their stuff.
Is it the agency’s fault? No. For all their talk of building purpose into brands, they have none – they just exist to make money.
So now, I’m looking at you, dear reader.
Every time you create a ‘great’ ad, you cast a vote for the world you want.
Awards are good. Everyone likes winning. But they twist us. As creatives, they give us something to aim for, a purpose. But, like Cannes Gold, it’s not real gold.
Real purpose comes from the impact, or outcome, you create. An ad is not an outcome – it’s a sales tool to reach an outcome. An award is not an outcome either, it’s recognition for an ad well made.
The real impact is sales and if those sales bring more things into the world that, in your heart of hearts, you know the world doesn’t need, then it might be worth reconsidering the impact you create and your purpose as a person.
Creatives have the power to create. Advertising has the power to change the world. So isn’t it time we thought about changing the world for the better?
That, I’d give an award to.