Industry associations are very important - they help sustain a cluster of people who do good work all of the time and, while they compete like hell with each other, help move ideas around and support continuous improvement.
They also offer, at least one night a year, a good dinner.
The advertising agencies and their associated support were on show last night at the ACE (Advertising Club of Edmonton) dinner at the Shaw. 500 people showed up for a good meal and 800,000,000 awards (felt like that at times). Lynne and I were the guests of one company - the "most winning company, I should add" - and enjoyed the evening.
Have you ever seen the programme What Not to Wear - not the tame, timid and tired US version of this show, but the UK original with Trinne and Suzanna ? They were featured on Oprah last Friday. These two would have had a field day - very large women wearing tapered pants (one pair looked like a bathroom wall from behind); a woman who was so thin I though she was a zipper; a woman who'se fold-over skirt didn't, a man in his late fifties trying to look "hip" with long scraggy hair, a white jacket, black shirt and white tie supported by blue jeans - one could go on. The Shaw was a fashion crime scene. It was like some evil fashion virus had hit the place.
I have always liked ads. My favorite TV/Cinema ad is a DDB ad for hot sauce where a fly lands on a guys plate as he is eating outside, tastes some hot sauce, flies away and explodes into a mushroom cloud with the strap line - "that's one hot sauce!".
My favourite poster / billboard is in Seattle for a strip club (watch this blog and I'll post it) - "Fifty Beautiful Women, and Five Ugly One's" (bet they never get sued under the Trade Descriptions Act).
We always go to the cinema to watch the world's best ads each year and, for several years, I had a source for failed ads or out-takes.
But it is a real skill to communicate an effective message in a short time span in a memorable way. The good news is, I know people who do this. They invited me for dinner.