Art Directors Club Bans Scam Ads ... Except for Those in Its Scam Ad Award Category

Last Updated Oct 14, 2009 11:20 AM EDT

The Art Directors Club has issued a stern warning to agencies tempted to enter scam ads in its awards show (the "Cubes"): the penalty is disqualification. Scam ads have been in the news lately after an offensive ad for the World Wildlife Fund by DDB Brasil, featuring a remake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade center, was entered into the Cannes Ad festival.

However, the ADC is encouraging scam ads to be entered into its four-year old contest especially for scam ads, the "Playground" category:

# Your secret is not safe with us. If we find an entry to be fake, the agency and client in question will be disqualified. Then, for the first time starting this year, we'll take the additional step to communicate directly with other industry awards organizations and inform them about the scam ad so they too can be on the lookout and take action. We call upon other awards organizations to reciprocate.
# ADC realizes some interesting creative ideas never get approved or run. In cases like this, agencies may enter the work in the ADC Annual Awards Playground category, created four years ago specifically for work that for one reason or another never got approved by the client, or never ran.
That's right. ADC gives out an award to anyone who can produce an ad that a client didn't approve and never ran in any media. In other words, it's a category for random stuff that other creatives think looks cool. This is like giving an Oscar to a movie that no studio wanted to make, or a Pulitzer to a reporter who just made something up instead of actually reporting the facts.