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Creative crisis

Free from the constraints of chairing the recent B2B Marketing Awards during which – as is proper in these circumstances – my personal thoughts on entries stayed firmly inside my head; I am now able to share them. I am sorry to say this will not make happy reading for several, and they'll know who they are.

You might wonder why I have chosen to be moderately outspoken on the subject. For this I must thank the many amongst the jurors who gave me encouragement to be so, prompted by our collective disappointment at some of the creative content we were asked to judge.

During three days we sifted through what we assumed to be the cream of the crop in B2B marketing. Campaigns that agencies and clients alike were thrilled and delighted with on all fronts. Indeed there were – buried in the sometimes dreadfully poor standard of written submissions – nuggets of sound thinking and evidence of commendable results. As for articulating the strategy in a simple, clear-minded and piercingly succinct way, this was sadly missing. Judging entries on 'understanding of the objectives' or 'effectiveness and results' was a relatively simple matter, as was recognising smart data or digital practice. It was when asked to evaluate the creative element of a campaign that we often did so with a heavy heart; so little was there to engage emotionally.