Shine or bust


Dear Dom,

The award season is here again and I need to get as many trophies as possible. I hope you can share your wisdom so I can brief my creatives ASAP. Oh, and my general manager wants to cut the awards expenses. He tells me it’s a big scam. What should I say to him?

– In need of fame


Dear In need,

First, tell your GM he should manage a depanneur. Awards exist so that, as an industry, we aim for the exceptional. Without them, excellence in advertising would become an act of randomness. Tell him an award-winning agency attracts clients and money. It attracts talent, it creates momentum.

If he doesn’t buy this, quit your job. You have no time to waste there.

Now, about you: Are you absolutely sure you really desire all those (let’s say it) ugly trophies? It will cost you – and not just your GM’s money.

If you are ready to lose your mental and physical health and trade family time for fast-food filled evenings at the office, here are a few tips to get you on the red carpet in Cannes.

A)    Always look for an opportunity to go for the Gold, or even better, the Best of Show. Nothing less. It should be your sixth sense.

B)    One shot at it is not enough.

C)    Never trust your first idea. It’s been done.

D)    Get the right talent for the idea, even if it’s not who found it. That’s always tricky.

E)    Get the right talent for the craft. Don’t imitate something. Go for the real thing or bust.

F)    Stop thinking small. You can be bigger than life.

G)    Have many friends. It takes a lot of people and goodwill to accomplish greatness.

H)    Rework your script, your art direction. Good is not good enough.

I)    Stop looking at annuals. They are not manuals. When advertising feeds on advertising, shitty work happens.

J)    Be a maniac about your award entries. A sloppy job can erase all your chances.

K)    Be a child of your time. Technologically or socially. Rock our industry’s boat. It pays.

L)    Last but not least: advertise your creative prior to the jury sessions. Juries have so little time to decide. Be sure they’ve seen your work in 3,000 blogs – it will be much easier for them to shortlist it.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

– Dominique


Published in Strategy magazine, February 28, 2013

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