I never had anything against the ethos behind scam.
There's nothing wrong with an ambition to do great work, especially if that ambition is unfulfilled because you're in a not-very-creative agency, or you're relatively junior and not being given the good briefs. And there's nothing wrong with an ambition to win awards, and further your career.
It's just the lying I didn't like.
Entering scam work into awards meant pretending it had run when it hadn't, or not properly, at any rate. Sometimes it meant pretending a client had signed it off when in fact they'd never even seen it. And sometimes it meant pretending to yourself... that you were doing something worthwhile, when the reality is there's nothing worthwhile about a WWF print ad that's only ever seen by Cannes jurymembers.
But recently, I've noticed a few pieces of evidence which suggest that creatives' excess creative energy is starting to be put to better use.
Last year, there
was the 'Keep Aaron Cutting' project, which saw 3 BBH interns taking to
social media and raising 35,000 pounds to rebuild 89 year old Aaron
Biber's barbershop, which had been destroyed by rioters. Read The Case Study here.
Last week, another team (coincidentally also from BBH) Viv Yapp and AK Parker, created a web app called Amateur Art Restorer which mocked the efforts of Cecilia Gimenez, the cack-handed 85 year-old art restorer of Zaragoza, and allowed you to try your own.
Also last week, Melbourne-based digital art director Julian Frost created an iPhone app called Toybox, whose simple premise is it allows you to play two games at once.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, creatives are now starting to make side-projects that are not only more creative than a fake DPS for Save The Donkeys, but which get seen by more people, and which might actually make something happen - like raise money, either for a charity, or themselves.
Most importantly of all... if you were an ECD, what would you be more impressed to see in a team's book: a print ad for a charity that never ran, or something super-fun like the Amateur Art Restorer app?
If the trend continues, it will mean fewer ads for the nation's Dog Obedience Schools and Pedestrian Councils.
But it's good news for the rest of us.