Friday, June 30, 2006

The ghosts at Cannes!

I found this really nice guest article at agencyfaqs.
Thought I should share it here. Hope you enjoy it too!
Where are all these ads from India that have been shortlisted or won Gold at Cannes?
Have you seen them?
No? Neither have I.Oh, the ad ran you say?
Sometimes an ad may have run in one medium on a very limited scale and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a scam ad.
Even if an ad legitimately runs on TV, if it is aired once on some obscure channel at midnight with a 0.000314 rating, what would you call this TV commercial?
In the process, a small client doing outstanding work suffers as his legitimate work, too, is seen as a ghost ad.
But you just can’t go wrong with the big global brands.
Ghost ads range from obvious fakes never approved by clients to ads that technically qualify because they ran once, sometimes at the agency’s expense, simply to be eligible for ad show Truchos (as the Spanish call them) or “fantasmas” (as the Brazilians refer to them). They serve as an outlet for frustrated creatives subjugated by the bean counters posing these days as advertising professionals.
You sat for a zillion hours in mind-numbing meetings all through the year, you wrote headlines dictated by the client's wife’s third cousin, you increased the size of the logo by 5000%, you tossed screaming starbursts around your layouts like confetti.
So they throw a bone. Cook up a ghost ad for Cannes. (A business that generates millions of dollars in profits. More than the billings of a mid-size agency.)
I would even go so far as to say it is okay to indulge in this huge self-congratulatory exercise, but please spare us all the interviews galore in the media.
Nobody is perfect. Let him cast the first stone he who has not sinned. There are shades of grey and all that.
However, don’t delude yourself into believing you are doing truly outstanding work. As the Bard said, “To thine own self be true.”
When the Roman Empire was in its decline, power-crazed senators had gladiators fight at the Coliseum to distract the people from the ills that plagued the government.
Cannes is advertising’s Coliseum. All of us need to be like Spartacus, who famously led a slave revolt and refused to fight for the powers that be.
Or we can go about our old ways and, like the gladiators, say, “Ave Caesar, Morituri Te Salutant (Ave Caesar, Those About To Die Salute You).”
(The writer is a creative director with an agency called The Flea in Mumbai, India. You can write to him at

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