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How to scam and win ad awards.. and not get caught

Forget super jury verdicts, here’s a check list that’s actually useful in winning advertisement awards by successfully scamming.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 24, 2013, 05.14 AM IST
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If you want to scam to win ad awards, you must also learn how not to get caught.
If you want to scam to win ad awards, you must also learn how not to get caught.
It's not enough to be the brightest. It's not enough to be the most creative. And it's most certainly not enough to have your boss on a jury. Because if you want to scam to win ad awards, you must also learn how not to get caught. So if you are going to, you may as well learn how to do it right. Here are our top tips (gleaned from a happier time when people were still willing to give them), in no particular order.

Don't copy, be inspired

Here's what you don't do — copy. Or cheat blatantly. In the age of internet, zero privacy and total transparency, crusades for the truth and what not, there's no such thing as stealing and not getting caught. What you ought to do is find points of inspiration, and give your sources credit if you must. We believe the approved term to describe this creative process is "homage ."

Make it look real

Yes, it's very easy to follow conventional patterns and tried and tested formats , but there is such a thing as too good to be true, you know. Sure it's the best piece you've ever done, but then stop a while and think "what would the client do?" Once you've got past "laugh me out of the room for coming up with this" add a few blemishes here and there. A noticeable logo/packshot or artwork that's a little too unpolished to look like it's a shoo-in for the Tate Museum of Modern Art, should do just fine. It may cost you a top drawer award, but hey, you don't lose gold, you win bronze. And that's worth a lot more than losing face and Grand Prix all at once.

Scam for a cause

There are plenty out there — famines, floods, malaria, polio, vegetarian societies, human rights, animal rights and literacy among others. And of course that old favourite the Cancer Patients Aid Association that has launched or buffered the careers of so many of our creative legends. Take your pick. Who'll call your bluff when your only crime was that you tried to make this world a better place? Also, if possible, steer clear of very hot causes . Find last year's cause du jour and recycle.

Who made you scam police?

Remember the old cringe inducing chestnut about how when you point a finger at someone else there are three fingers that point right back at you? Also didn't your ma ever tell you that pointing fingers is rude? So keep mum and take your gold home.

If you win, keep it to yourself

Don't tweet about it. Because if it's not '100% real work' you will be caught napping with you pants down. If people question your apparent lack of enthusiasm after winning a Grand Prix, put it down to humility. Lines like "winning in the marketplace for my clients is my greatest joy" never fail to draw a tear from the more susceptible.

Win in the marketplace!

A tough job, this. One that requires not just your thinking cap but whatever headgear shields you from incredulous clients and boneheaded servicing people. But if after a couple of great campaigns that shifted units and/or got the consumers humming along, you slip in the occasional scam, a forgiving public will put it down to a youthful indiscretion. Even if you are not particularly youthful any more.

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