Mount Everest was the peak every climber aspired to.
Then, in 1953, two people actually managed to get to the top.
They were the first, so they had to find a way, or make a way, as they went.
They were on their own, so they had to carry all their gear on their backs.
In the years afterwards, one or two more expert climbers managed to climb Everest.
Over the next few decades, the best climbers would prove they were the best by climbing it.
It was a major achievement, to climb the tallest mountain in the world.
But gradually that changed, gradually it became a business.
Climbers began forming companies that would guide groups up Everest.
Dozens of people, with little or no climbing experience, could be helped up Everest.
It became an item on rich people’s bucket lists.
It cost tens of thousands of dollars per person, and teams of Sherpas would carry their equipment for them, so they didn’t have to struggle.
Rope bridges, rope handrails, ladders over crevasses, had all been laid out by the experts.
There were so many climbing companies that the different groups had to queue up at bottlenecks.
Around a thousand people attempt to climb Everest every year.
And all these people leave things behind them: camping gear, food packaging, empty fuel tins, beer cans, oxygen containers.
They leave around 50 tons of garbage on the mountain each year.
But of course, it’s not just packaging they leave behind, they also leave around 6 tons of human waste.
When the weather gets warmer, and the climbing season is over, this waste melts and runs down the mountain, polluting the water supply.
The Nepalese government has made an attempt to clean up the mountain, but last year they brought down just 11 tons of garbage, plus 4 dead bodies.
That helps, but there are still around 200 dead bodies left up on the mountain.
Tech Times describes Everest as “the world’s highest garbage dump”.
Quite a change from the peak that the very best climbers wanted to reach.
Because money turned it into a business and, to make more money, they made it easier.
And the easier they made it the more people could do it, so the more money they made.
It used to be the goal for the very best to aim at, it used to really mean something.
Now it’s been spoilt.
Years back, there was only one advertising award that meant anything: D&AD.
It was started by creative people who worked in advertising and it was really difficult.
There weren’t many categories and, if the work wasn’t good enough, some years they didn’t even give out an award at all.
So to win one really meant something.
On the night your name was read out and you went up to collect your award, then the annual came out with your name next to your work.
Every ad agency had a library of D&AD annuals, with an index in the back of the names of the people whose work was in the book.
All creatives used to go through those annuals year after year, for inspiration.
Compare that to today.
Awards are easier and easier for more and more people to enter making more and more money for the organisers.
There’s even an award scheme for advertising that never ran (so it isn’t even advertising).
There are so many award schemes it’s difficult to keep up with them all.
You even do a video explaining the brief for your advertising, and how successful it was, to persuade the judges.
And on the night, there isn’t time to read the names of the people who did the work, just get them on stage and get them off quick, like a conveyor belt.
And something that once meant so much is now just another way to make money.