Saturday, 16 February 2008

Award talks

The Ego Game
I flew to London to pick up my second Gold statue at the London International Advertising Festival held at Sketch in downtown Picadilly Circus.

The winning work was conceived for Chanmi's eye studio as they needed a trade ad to run in the coming advertising directory then. They have been asking me to develop ideas for them since years ago so I helped out on this project in order not to disappoint them.

The crowds were cheering when I arrived at the venue. Every winner was in high spirit. Out of 18,000 entries, only 3% was selected as winners from across 60 countries around the world. A pretty tough show to win as there is only one gold for each category.

The moment came when my name was announced and i went up the stage to pick up mine. It probably lasted no more than 1 minute. And I was back to where I sat, among the crowds again.

Back to the hotel that night, i stared at the gold winged statue on my bedside table, thinking if I had changed to a different person with this award. The answer was of course no. I wasn't even getting smarter or greater, but my ego, i believed, must have grown a bit bigger.

Awards are strange things. The more you won, the more you want. For the past 7 years I have won no less than 180 awards locally and internationally. From Cannes, One Show, Clio to London fest, New York Fest and Asia Pacific Adfest plus many others. You might say I have won more than enough to be ranked Top 5o most awarded creative people in Asia. But the truth remains the same: It's never enough!

That night in London I had actually began to see the ugly truth hidden behind those glittering awards. So many young creatives nowadays are crazy about winning awards. Many of them become creative heads without even mastering their basic advertising skills. And the ad people who hire them are also blinded by their creative ranking without questioning first their true capability. Needless to say, the whole industry is swarmed with big creative ego heads.

If this vicious cycle continues, the whole ad industry will no doubt be in trouble. Do I still want to work in an adland full of pretentious people? Maybe not.

For me I would rather win a finalist certificate for a piece of work for real clients than to win a gold for doing "ghost ads" for invisible clients. The furthest I would go is to develop initiatives for existing clients, but if they are rejected I would not even resort to doing scam stuff.

I do not want to win in a game which in actual fact I am losing to my own egoistic pride.

Trade ad for Chanmi's eye photography studio. 

On stage to receive the gold statue from Bob Garfield.

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