Award-winning? So what?

That statue is called “Fearless Girl.”

It’s not just a statue. It’s a multiple award-winning advert.

Do you know who it’s advertising? What it’s advertising? Did you know it was an advert to begin with?

Unless you’re thoroughly invested in the advertising industry, the chances are that your answers are no, no and no.

But despite all of that, Fearless Girl just won McCann seven yellow pencils and one black pencil at the D&AD awards. Even though it’s a failure as an advert. Because you don’t know it’s an advert, you don’t know what it’s advertising, and you don’t know what action you’re supposed to take having seen it.

Unless it’s an advert for writing worthy and wordy op-ed pieces about corporate art, or a call-to-action for taking selfies, in which case it’s the best advert in history.

That’s the problem with advertising awards. They’re focusing on the wrong thing. How clever other creatives and marketers think a piece of creative or marketing is.

The fact it’s called “creative” as opposed to “advertising” is a whopping great clue as to why that’s an issue. The awards are more focused on what makes people who create adverts like as opposed to what actual customers like.

Here is a still from an advertising campaign that hasn’t won any golden pencils, chrome compasses or bauxite quills. I bet you know what this bloke is trying to sell you, even without the brand or product information. Especially when you’re reminded of his name:




That advert took a Hungarian cleaning fluid and made it a household name across the UK. BANG! And Mr Muscle’s market share was GONE.

The Cillit Bang adverts were formulaic, knowingly knaff, and somehow managed to charm and irritate at the same time. And they sold cleaning fluid by the tanker-load. That’s not award-winning creative. That’s good, solid advertising.

I know which I’d rather write.

And I know which will serve your business better.

Award-winning? So what? It’s time to reward the adverts that do their job. If we’re going to have awards, then let them hand out naff trophies to the people who shift the most product.

And I know just the man to host the party.

First published on:

What do you think?

Your email will not be published. ProCopywriters members: log in before commenting so your comment links to your profile.

Become a member

Join ProCopywriters

Connect with peers, develop your skills and extend your reach on our blog.

Become a member
Learn online

Online workshops

Every month we get an expert, an author or a professional trainer to deliver a one-hour presentation on copywriting, marketing or digital media.

Browse events