Vinny Warren from New York just told me about the most depressing thing I’ve heard in ages: The Gunn Report.

A book quantifying every agency’s creative ranking by the number of awards they’ve won.

David Abbott and I once proposed opposite motions to an EGM of D&AD.

I wanted account men to be credited in the D&AD annual, alongside creatives.

I thought this would give account men a lot more reason to care about making good work run.

David disagreed.

He said if we opened awards up for everyone they would become merely a new business tool.

Time has proved him right.

It didn’t occur to me that all anyone would begin to care about was winning awards.

Not the quality of the work.

This is the thrust of The Gunn Report.

If you win awards you’re creative.

If you don’t you’re not.

The book-keeper’s answer to understanding creativity.

I think you can judge the worth of awards by The Oscars.

For years Steven Spielberg didn’t win a single one.

He was the most successful director in the history of cinema.

And The Oscars continually ignored him

Eventually it became obvious that this was making The Oscars a laughing stock.

So, to save face, at the next ceremony they gave him 8 awards.

Just to grab onto his coat tails and save themselves from ridicule.

Spielberg was bigger than the awards.

Truly creartive people are.


Not any more.

Now D&AD is big business.

But in truth, awards are still what they’ve always been: either an honest bit of fun, or the other thing.

The most honest awards I’ve heard of was when Ian Hutton, an Irishman himself, chaired the Kinsale awards.

He stood up to address the jury, prior to judging.

Everyone expected the usual pompous chairman’s address on maintaining high standards, creative excellence, etc.

Ian simply said,

“Right, you all know the rules: vote for your mates.”

And sat down.