I recently read a blog about the latest D&AD Award winners.

Someone commented that they had no relevance to average people.

They were just sophisticated ‘art’ made to win awards.

The next comment was as follows:

“Fuck average people. Award shows aren’t for them.”

For me, that sums up award shows.

It was written as a defence, everything that person loves about award shows.

But for a lot us, it’s a lot of what we hate about award shows.

Either way, it sums up their relationship to the outside world:

“Fuck average people. Award shows aren’t for them.”

Ordinary people know nothing about art, most of them have never even been to an art gallery.

They never watch foreign films, or theatre, or ballet, or read poetry.

Why would we care what they think about what we do?

“Fuck average people. Award shows aren’t for them.”

Well, let me introduce a tangential thought here.

Ordinary people buy the products that are paying for those ads.

If the ads don’t work the companies will go out of business.

So the ads aren’t actually sponsored pieces of art.

They are supposed to do a job.

That job is to communicate with ordinary people.

So ordinary people actually are the job.

I’m sorry if that makes you feel dirty.

I’m sorry if you were lured into this business under false pretences.

Believing the job was to make art for other cultured people who can understand what you do.

Now you find you are expected to care what peasants think.

No wonder you are angry:

“Fuck average people. Award shows aren’t for them.”


Award shows are about making small pieces of art that win awards.

Because we are artists, not trades people.

And the two things have always been totally incompatible.

But have they?

John Webster won more awards than anyone else in the business.

More awards than most agencies in fact.

He also won more awards where grubby little “average people” voted for their favourite ads of all time.

What did John have to say about awards?

He said “If you want to do art go and do art, if you’re in advertising you’ve got to relate to ordinary people.

If anyone wants to give me an award that’s fine, but writing an ad merely to win an award is terrible.”

And yet we all act as if awards are more important than what ordinary people think.

In fact the comment from that blog explains what’s happened to advertising.

It also explains the rise of ad blocking technology.

If advertising ignores ordinary people, ordinary people will ignore advertising.

Remember that the next time you sit through a commercial break and your wife, or child, or mum says “What was that all about?”

Remember, they may not be intelligent enough for the ads.

And remember, that doesn’t matter to us.


“Fuck average people. Advertising isn’t for them.”