Why Sir John Hegarty is backing Little Black Book's global Immortal Awards' scam ban

Sir John Hegarty 1.jpg'There's no point in being fake': why the industry needs to celebrate real creative work with a real-world impact

The persistent problem of scam ads at award shows is damaging client trust, distorting the industry and undermining creativity, says Sir John Hegarty, Chairman of Little Black Book ~ represented in Australia and NZ by Campaign Brief.

That's why he has proposed a 'scam ban' for the inaugural global Immortal Awards. Under the rule, any agency found to have entered phony work will be barred from entering for three years.

"My analogy is always the same; it's like drugs in sport. And the sad thing is, like the Tour de France, people don't really trust it any more. So, it doesn't have the value that it once had," he says. "For me, The Immortals has a chance to rise above that and make a stand and say we will not tolerate it."

Agencies' desire to top award show rankings to impress number-crunchers is having a distorting and damaging effect on the advertising industry and clients' trust - proving Goodheart's law: when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
Pointing out that certain Chief Creative Officers have been known to brief their networks to create fake work, Sir John said that such scam undermined the purpose of award shows, which is to celebrate work that has made a real impact and to show clients what really is possible with the power of creativity.

"We are not here to celebrate winning an award, we are here to celebrate impact. We're here to celebrate progress, we're here to celebrate a conversation with our audience and public and in that way,  we make advertising a part of culture as opposed to an irrelevant voice in the wilderness, which is what I think it has become."

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