Spooner on…Craig Joubert and the DMA judging

spooner newDark and bitter times for the Celtic Fringe where, despite my ‘hairstyle’ (see above), I feel that I belong – as a life-long WRU supporter (Welsh mother, look you).
After the Saxons were eliminated in the pools – and despite passionate and sometimes heroic efforts from the Welsh, Irish, Scots and French – the Northern Hemisphere is now unrepresented in the semi-final stages of the Rugby World Cup.
The media do not lack for bitter Scotsmen to interview (a favourite of mine here), lachrymose Welshmen’s lyrical laments, nor indeed the repining of Frenchmen, Gaels nor Englishmen. In fact, I haven’t heard such a woeful chorus since WWAV Rapp Collins relocated from Bayswater to Hammersmith.
The substance of the complaint seems to be the arbitrary nature of a number of refereeing decisions during the knock-out stages. But this is to miss the point. Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are all in the final four on merit. They won their matches and move on. Each competing team had consulted with the referees before the tournament and knew what to expect. Quite simply, the Southern Hemisphere teams have played consistently better rugby.
Which brings me to the DMA Awards. Much has been made of the fact that Lida has knocked OgilvyOne off the top-spot for nominations this year, not least in this indispensible publication itself. Now I could begin a complicated analogy where Lida is Australia, OgilvyOne the All Blacks, AIS Argentina and Havas Helia the South Africans, but, frankly I can’t be arsed and the analogy would be monstrously tenuous and wouldn’t further my argument, so I won’t.
What I will draw your attention to is a previous column in this magnificent organ that I wrote in 2011 after judging that year’s awards.
Again, this year, there will be those who moan about the iPad judging process, those who believe that the DMAs have now become (I quote an industry luminary) “a f***ing film festival – where all we’re judging is how good an agency is at making a three-minute entry film”, those who say that they regard the awards as a measurement of budget rather than creativity, and those who offer any number of variations on the familiar sporting theme “we was robbed”.
But as Craig Joubert so emphatically reminds us; it doesn’t matter, THE WINNER IS THE WINNER, however the result was achieved. Like the Northern Hemisphere teams, every agency knows what the judges/referees are looking for at the set-piece and the breakdown.
Everybody knows they should make a film. Everybody knows that the collation of results in a comprehensible manner is crucial. Everybody knows that they should craft their entry meticulously. (Manifestly, not everyone knows they should get a proof-reader to look at it or a copywriter to make it work, but that’s by the by.)
I probably won’t agree with the results, I probably won’t even agree with the results in the categories I judged.
But everyone knows the rules of the game and everyone knows that the judge’s/referee’s decision is final.
Personally, I think the DMA does a fantastic job of convincing the majority of us that we work in an exciting business where creativity is the most highly prized commodity.
Which is fair enough.
What isn’t fair, though, is South Africa fielding a sixteenth man by the name of Wayne Barnes.
Come on the mighty Pumas!

Jonathan Spooner is executive creative director at Tangible

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