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Note: This Is A Scam Article (We’re Running It Only For Awards)

David Droga (founder, Droga 5) once said that scam advertising brings great disrespect to our profession. Now as everyone knows, our profession doesn’t have much respect to begin with. Which makes scam advertising all the more dangerous.

But what exactly is scam advertising?

It is an annual practice, most noticeable in the last 2 months of the year, where creative people in agencies burn the midnight oil in order to create supposedly clever ad. These supposedly clever ads are meant not for the consumer, but for juries of award shows. These are like ads that almost never ran, since they’re only published in tiny sizes in publications with even tinier readerships.

Because the ads are free of certain binding responsibilities (namely, that they don’t have to sell the brand and they don’t have to worry about engaging, or more importantly, offending the consumer), they can get away with saying almost anything. Which they do.

Careers are built on the strength of awards scam ads win. People get promoted, they take home fatter pay packages and date thinner women.

In spite of the fact that scam ads give creative people the platform to exhibit the full prowess of their creative abilities, they are infested with problems.

For example, today a lot of young creative people are under the impression that advertising is not about selling products and ideas, but creating scam ads in December and demanding a fat raise in March. Many Creative Directors suffer from a similar delusion. (Or dementia.) What this results in is, creative people who are highly awarded but completely clueless about selling and building brands.

Wouldn’t it be much nicer if agencies won awards on real work? (That isn’t unheard of, Nike, Sony, Honda, Levi’s, Diesel, etc. regularly make ads that sell products plus pick up awards, all over the world.)

Actually, not only would it be much nicer to win awards on real work, it’d also be more honest, and, from a client’s point of view, far more reassuring. (Who do you think a client would prefer? A creative guy who created the Honda ‘Cog’ ad or one who won awards on a microscopic 10cc scam?)

Seeing how serious the scam situation is, we came up with a few helpful (and very practical) suggestions on how to stub out the epidemic :

o Let’s start with giving scamsters scam salaries. 10 to 50 lakhs a year, but only in monopoly money.

o Make them wear only scam clothes. 'No this isn’t Levi’s Sir, it’s scam jeans. See it has no pockets, no loops, no zip, no fly, no front, no back, no material, no nothing… but notice how well it fits you.’

o Give them scam cars that run on hot air and function only in December.

o Make them have only scam sex. That is, make them stand fully clothed and two feet away from their partners and then have simulated sex. Nine months after which they can have scam babies. (Unless they’ve used scam condoms.)

o And lastly, have a special scam award show for them where they can enter their scam ads. And win paper mice instead of metal lions. These awards are of course held every year on April 1. They're held on Marina beach, where we put up a banner saying 'Welcome to Goa.'


*Views Expressed here are personal. The writers can be reached at and

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