For those of you that don’t know, or haven’t heard about the Chip Shop Awards, it’s part of The Drum’s yearly awards calendar. The difference? Chip Shop Awards entries don’t need to be for a paying client. These ads don’t even need to be published. It’s all about the creativity and the concepts. Our Head of Content, Gareth Alvarez, Head of Content, entered this great ad. He was nominated in the final selection, which of course meant Social INK went to the Chip Shop Awards in 2019.

Gareth’s entry to the Chip Shop Awards 2019

Attending the Chip Shop Awards 2019

We often talk about One Minute Briefs (OMB). The Chip Shop Awards outing was a chance for us to congregate with some of the other OMBles that we had only ever met virtually online. Until now.

The awards ceremony itself was a great chance to celebrate creativity from a whole mix of participants: some from agencies, and some from individuals just looking to flex some creative muscles. That’s what’s so great about the Chips. It’s about the idea, nothing else.

Now, you’re probably thinking the Chip Shop Awards were a couple of weeks ago, why are they only just writing about it now. The recent controversy from within the advertising industry regarding Cannes this year made me realise this was a good time to speak about it.

Award-Winning vs. Sales-Generating Ads

We love seeing adverts that are clever. An idea that’s different, stands out, and really catches our attention. But we’re in marketing, which means we’re looking at it through a very different lens than the target audience would.

In Cannes this week, an advert seems to have polarised the industry, with some thinking it’s great (such as the judging panel) and others thinking that the creative advertising awards have lost the plot. We’re leaning towards the latter at this stage, but we’ll let you judge for yourself and not just take our word for it.


Does it make you think twice about sending emoji-laden messages whilst driving at 85kph?

Are you motivated to buy a Hyundai as a result of seeing this ad?

What if we now told you that, as it transpires, this award-winning ad was just a stock image?

Look familiar?

How about if you flip it 180o?

The only difference between a quirky stock image and an award-winning ad is some simple copy and a brand logo.

There has been plenty of vitriol levied at this advert. And who can blame people for feeling so strongly about it? It makes a mockery of the industry. It reduces the creative process to something anyone with a laptop can whip up in a minute. And, consequently, it devalues the hard work, experience and professionalism of the majority of people in marketing and advertising.

If this is what wins awards, how can any client ever take you seriously?

What Makes a Good Advert?

Well, a good advert used to be one that sold products. That’s always been the main function of an advert. That’s what clients want. It’s what they pay creative agencies for. So, going too far towards the conceptual, the creative, or the downright strange seems like we’re losing the focus on what the goal is in the first place.

There seems to be a split materialising. A split between creating content to win awards, aimed at impressing judges and ad people. But then, at the same time, the need to create content that really works for our clients and that sells more product. Right now it seems that the two are drifting further and further apart.

The most iconic adverts from the past 70 years are iconic because they were clever, genre-creating, but most importantly, because they worked. For example:

Comparing this advert to the winner from Cannes this year is impossible. Talk about playing in a different league. This is more like a completely different sport. And we’re seeing it more and more across the board.

Ultimately, we’re in this business to serve our clients with creative work that appeals to their target market. Marketing collateral that convinces, converts, and sells.

You saw Social INK at the Chip Shop Awards 2019 showcasing our creativity. And we hope you’ll see Social INK at the Chip Shop Awards 2020, too.

You’ll have seen Social INK win the KFC brief with OMB.

You may even have seen Gareth, representing Social INK, coming as runner-up to the WWF brief with OMB.

But, by and large, these awards and competitions are just a way for us to express ourselves creatively and showcase the work we are capable of doing for any brand, big or small. Because most great work doesn’t get shouted about. It’s busy doing the job it’s supposed to do, without fanfare. Selling and promoting our clients.

And that’s as it should be.

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Chris Bruno
Chris Bruno

Chris, founder and CEO of Social INK, has devised and consulted on more digital marketing and social media marketing campaigns than you can shake a stick at. He’s also got a bit of a thing for online advertising and social media advertising.