LionAddict

Dealing with award addiction

One chief creative is starting down the long road to recovery

My Fellow Co-workers,

I am sending this note in regards to the email that went out a couple weeks ago saying I was on a commercial shoot in Prague. Given TV spots don’t exist anymore, as you rightly assumed, that was a bold-faced lie. The truth is that I am spending some time at an Awards Addiction Treatment Facility in Muskoka. Now, as I sip a coffee in the Omnicom Café (they bought naming rights), I reflect back on the circumstances that led me to this very spot.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when my addiction started, it can likely be traced to when I was first shortlisted for a Cannes Lion and began referring to myself in the third person. Memories from that crazy time in my life are fuzzy at best but, I do know that by the time I took to the stage to accept a New York Festivals’ certificate in the Direct & Collateral/B2B/3-Dimensional Mailer/Craft/Humor category, the addiction beast had its claws tightly around my neck. My behavior at the 1991 Clios is something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.

It was a high that I’ve been chasing ever since. As I’ve risen up the ranks of our industry, my awards dependence has grown increasingly intense. So when a few weeks ago the office cleaning staff found me passed out on the floor “clutching” a pair of London International Angels, I knew that I had hit rock bottom.

Not that getting me here to the addiction facility was easy. Fooled into thinking that I would be meeting someone with a trunk-load full of Black Pencils, you can imagine my rage when I discovered it was all a well-conceived ruse. I’m not going to lie; the first few days at the treatment facility were really rough. The lowest point came was when holding a ketchup bottle, I climbed on top of one of the cafeteria tables and gave a rousing acceptance speech.

Thankfully everyone here has been really supportive. The group therapy sessions are literally a who’s who of industry heavyweights. For privacy reasons, I can’t disclose the names of my fellow patients but the multinationals are sleeping six to a room. The stories they share are heart wrenching. The slash-hunting art director who demanded to be credited on the McDonald’s campaign because he sat across from the guy who wrote the YouTube description for the video case study. The copywriter with the ‘I Am Canadian’ rant on his Behance site even though he was nine years old when it first ran. The creative director who petitioned his former agency to include him on every awards submission in perpetuity because his “spirit was still very much alive in the halls.”

But really, who can blame them? Awards are important for keeping creative talent enthused and motivated as well as to attract new converts to one’s creative mecca. And new business prospects often inquire what an agency has won. Not to mention Canada’s lingerie shops and amusement parks who sit ever so patiently by the phone waiting for an agency to call them with the opportunity to slap their logo on award-worthy work. Tell me, what would fill my shelves if it weren’t for ad awards? Pictures of my kids? I’m sorry, but putting Instagram out of business is not my idea of a healthy, capitalistic society!

Well, it’s time for our nightly after-party so I really should get going. Besides, I just got an email from the Mobius Awards that they’re open for entries.

-Andrew

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