It’s official then, British agencies are rubbish at TV – since 2008 and that gorilla anyway

Cannes isn’t the be-all and end-all of the creative world (much as it would like to be so) but the pathetic performance of UK creative agencies in 2011 is really quite staggering.

From 275 entries in the film category (the most after the US) UK agencies managed to pick up just two silvers and eight bronzes out of a total of 101 lions awarded.

The UK hasn’t won the Grand Prix since 2008 when Fallon won for its Cadbury’s ‘gorilla’ ad and since then it’s been downhill, sharply downhill, all the way.

This year there was nothing that was likely to trouble the Grand Prix scorers despite UK clients pouring tens of millions into new TV ads.

Why should this be so?

Well we offered a few reasons just two days into Cannes when it seemed obvious that the UK was going to have a duff year.

We pinned the blame on the big marcoms companies who are only interested in global accounts and think that global clients aren’t interested in creativity (or not creativity from the UK anyway). And who aren’t interested in local accounts, often where you get the chance to do the best work.

But this is a pretty pathetic state of affairs.

If you’re a highly paid creative director or a creative in a top London agency (not necessarily well-paid) you should at least be able to make a decent film.

But London agencies (the management at least) are obsessed by digital and the demands of their marcoms masters.

They seem to have forgotten how to execute advertising’s core craft.

Current IPA president Nicola Mendelsohn of Karmarama keeps telling us that she’s trying to shake up UK agencies to equip them for the digital age. This seems to mean lots of trips to Silicon Valley.

But if the useless so-and-so’s can’t knock out a decent commercial it’s a bit of a wasted journey isn’t it?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.