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An argument against scam ads


What is your stance on scam/ghost ads? You know, ads, that are either outright fakes that are passed off as real, or are done for an existing client but never really ran (besides maybe in their own office halls)?
There are famous CDs that I have worked with at large, otherwise professional agencies who have built entire highly-paid careers off scam.
Many people I’ve worked with feel the pressure to make scam ads, and don’t see much harm. My argument is that scam is bad for 4 reasons: it is outright unethical – same as blood doping in sports, falsification of sources in journalism, etc. It can lead to the dishonest award winners getting the few coveted jobs over those who are honest. It means people who have no skill at solving real problems over fake ones could be hired to lead key pieces of business for clients. And lastly, scam/ghost ads misrepresent both client and agency.
That’s my take, and I can’t find a way to defend it. But what is your opinion? Do you think there is any way to control the scam, and would you support a system that does?

intro An argument against scam adsWe share your perspective and it makes us sick for all the same reasons. How to put an end to it? Nothing’s worked all that well so far…Cannes promised to clean up the scams (considering the fakes keep being revealed after the fact we’d have to say that hasn’t happened yet), the One Show requires tear sheets and other proof ads that are entered in their show really ran (the closest we know of to being an effective screen). On most juries if a judge suspects a scam the show will then dig for the truth. A friend of ours just suggested it would be wiped out in a second if those caught had their entire network’s work penalized. Ah but then think of the lost revenue to the shows (don’t forget most are businesses that are primarily funded by entry fees). Such a shame that coming down really hard on scams for some shows is kind of a conflict of interest.

You outlined all the reasons it makes sense to not cave to temptation. Let your conscience and good sense be your guide. And know that there is no humiliation like being outed for a fake. Those that go that route risk being busted sooner or later.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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