A response to your work is the ultimate recognition. An acknowledgement that it got noticed, that it connected and that it moved someone. Whether a purchase; a view; a like; a laugh; a tear; a share; a comment; an homage…it’s all good.
Awards are just one form of response and recognition. They are seductive and still the main industry barometer of our ideas, but they’re also destructive and increasingly devalued. Throw a stick down any London street and you’ll probably hit ten ‘award-winning’ Creatives. All of the awards I’ve won are nice, and I’d be a fool not to be particularly proud of one or two, but to judge our work purely by awards and obsess about their accumulation is to miss the point about what we do.
Below are the moments of recognition that mean the most to me. (There is some selective awards-boasting afterwards, where the accolade seemed to merit it.)
Hearing stories of whole cinemas singing along to the Honda ‘Grrr’ commercial.
Witnessing a cinema audience applaud the launch commercial of my new Gordon’s Gin campaign.
Being rung up by a man who wanted a life size copy of a Gordon’s Gin 48-sheet poster so he could stick it on a wall inside his huge 16th century mansion.
Bumping into someone outside of advertising that I hadn’t seen for years and discovering that he had stuck one of my long-copy press ads for Compaq Computers onto a wall in his office, and had urged all his colleagues to read it.
Writing the most successful worldwide spot in P&G history – Biactol ‘Twins’. (Meaning the commercial most often run or re-made across all global markets.) This was also the first commercial I ever wrote.
Making a million parents ring a government Child Literacy Helpline to ask for a leaflet. (The official govt. target is 25,000.)
Selling 21,766 Honda Accord diesel cars in the UK in 2004, the year that ‘Grrr’ ran (bringing £544m in sales). The previous year Honda had only sold 518.
Having a Land Rover finance press ad used as a question in an English Language A-Level paper.
Having a Toyota Prius 90” film be the first commercial made for Europe to also be embraced and run by the Japanese market.
Writing a quirky, anti-fashion, posters-only campaign for Mitchum which made the brand the fastest growing anti-perspirant in the sector, and led to Boots moving it from the bottom shelf to the top, where it remains to this day.
Conceiving the Maltesers ‘Little Balls’ campaign in 1997 and seeing it still running 19 years later.
Reading the national media coverage generated by some of my advertising ideas down the years.
Reading the warm reviews and comments on my rather odd little golf book.
Being invited to judge the Film category at Cannes Lions 2003.
‘Campaign Of The Decade’ for Honda ‘The Power of Dreams’, as chosen by Campaign magazine in 2010.
‘Campaign Of The Year’ for Honda Diesel ‘Grrr’, as chosen by Campaign in 2004.
The most awarded commercial ever made – Honda ‘Grrr’. (As far as I can make out, this ambitious claim is indeed true.) Cannes Film Grand Prix. Cannes Gold Titanium. The Grand Prix in every other major awards festival around the world. 2 D&AD Golds. 8 D&AD Silvers. Adweek USA ‘Commercial of the Decade’. (Which was very nice of them seeing as it never ran there.) The One Show ‘Best Car Commercial of the Past 25 Years’. Clio ‘Hall of Fame’. The Gunn Report’s ‘Top 20 Ads of the 21st Century’.
Gold Lion at Cannes in 1990 for a McDonald’s golf sponsorship press ad appearing in a charity dinner brochure: perhaps one of the un-sexiest briefs ever to win a Cannes Gold. (Also, at that time, Leo Burnett London never won big awards.)
D&AD entry in the late Nineties for the early ads in the Maltesers ‘Little Balls’ campaign. (At that time, Mars advertising never won awards.)
D&AD entry in 1988 for the Biactol spot cream radio campaign in 1988. (At that time, P&G advertising never won awards.)
First ever print campaign wins a Campaign Press Silver in 1986 for Clark’s Desert Boots, shot by Helmut Newton.
Nominated for ‘Best New Sports Writer’ at the National Book Awards, following the publication of ‘My Baby Got The Yips’ golf book.