What makes your ad worthy of praise?

Campaign Magazine today announced their ‘Top 10 TV ads’ for 2008.

There are some truly memorable efforts on display. I was particularly fond of the Guy Ritchie directed ‘Take it to the Next Level’ viral for Nike, not least because I have often had a similar dream where Arsene Wenger plucks me from park-football obscurity and puts me in The Arsenal team alongside Cesc…

The point I really wanted to make however, is about the criteria (or lack of) used to determine these awards or accolades. It would be far from original for me to complain about the subjectivity of this list. By their very nature, all of these awards have a certain unavoidable degree of subjectivity.

What distresses me however, is that as far as I can see, Campaign make no efforts to qualify or explain their choices. Were these ads the most effective, the best directed, the most innovative, the most enjoyable? Naturally, these criteria are themselves subjective (communication is, they say, an art not a science), but there is something comforting about knowing the judging criteria that has been used to cement these ads in a supposedly prestigious list.

I worry that the list is created by five or six Campaign journalists who sit in a room eating Hula Hoops and Monster Munch, reminding themselves of ads that were critically aclaimed within the industry when they were launched.

Wouldn’t it be more interesting to ask consumers (those who we are supposedly trying to persuade of the merits of a particular product or service) which ads they most enjoyed? I wonder how different their list would be to that of the ‘industry experts?’ One thing’s for sure- The ads chosen by consumers would certainly be worthy of our praise…


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