BBDO, Saatchi Boycott Kancils After Riff-Raff Allowed Onto Jury Panel

Last Updated Sep 4, 2009 10:43 AM EDT

BBDO/Proximity and Saatchi & Saatchi are boycotting this year's Kancil creative awards in Malaysia because the jury panel is not as elite as they'd like it to be. BBDO and Saatchi have historically dominated the Kancils, and last year some intimated that BBDO won most prizes because BBDO ECD Ronald Ng chaired the jury (BBDO denies that).

This year, the Kancils expanded the jury to 48 judges. And there will be 10 new Best of Show Kancils; the overall Best of Show has been dropped.

That expansion has not sat well with BBDO and Saatchi. They liked it better when the jury was smaller, and to qualify as a judge you had to look more like a BBDO executive creative director, per the Star:

In the past few years, Kancil judges were chosen from the best performing agencies at prestigious regional and international creative award shows, namely AdFest, Spikes Asian Advertising Awards, Cannes Lions, Clio, One Show and D&AD.
You can see how easily such a self-reinforcing judging system would lead to an oligarchy of creative superstars, who are often divorced from the reality of everyday agency life (a bit like the way DDB Brasil became unmoored by its lust for Cannes Lions).

This year, the Kancils wants some people on the panel who spend a bit more time in the trenches and a little less time sitting in Business Class:

4As president Datuk Vincent Lee defended the jury selection this year, ... they were "real agency creative directors and their agencies have done tremendously well in increasing their clients' business."
"I also invited some very senior creatives whose credentials are superb, but have since the last century been too engaged with managing an agency to have time to think of awards," said [Kancil Awards jury chairman S.P. Lee].
BBDO's Ng said the current jurors were "just ... names being thrown out":
"To be selected as a juror, a person must be from a top performing agency of the year, not just selected from names being thrown out," he said.
Irony alert: If the Malaysian 4A's reverts to Ng's "meritocracy" next year, that could only hurt BBDO and Saatchi's chances of getting their folks back on the jury, as neither agency will have won Kancils this year. So watch for some sort of "compromise" to be announced between then and now!