Shut the f@#* up!

Greg Graham, GroupM
By Greg Graham, GroupM | 17 March 2015
GroupM marketing & new business director, Greg Graham.

I attended the AdNews Agency of the Year Awards prepared to celebrate everything that is good about our industry – strategic thinking, problem-solving creativity, cutting edge innovation, successful businesses and talented individuals.

Despite the great staging, the Lego-headed dancers, and the slick production of the evening, I was embarrassed and appalled by what I experienced. The 800-plus crowd of industry revellers talked all through the awards ceremony, most of them were rude, disrespectful and showed no manners. From the very beginning, throughout editor Rosie Baker’s speech and then while finalists and winners were announced, the loud talking did not stop.

The chatter probably wasn’t helped by a long skinny venue with terrible acoustics, but that just heightened the problem – it didn’t create it. Surely it’s not a huge ask to expect people to show some respect when celebrating the best work our industry has to offer rather than acting like a pack of idiots.

Taking his cue from the crowd, in the MC's efforts to quieten the crowd he treated us like a pack of idiots, too; stereotyping us as drunk, drugged and sex-crazed individuals. Sadly, we lived up to his unflattering picture of our industry.

When I was young, my mum used to say to me: “Gregory, you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as hard as you talk.” I wish some of those people at the AdNews Awards listened to my mum.

At the GroupM table, we were proud to have with us one of our newest employees – a young talented MGrad and newcomer to the industry – who was surprised by the crowd’s behaviour and asked me if it’s always like that at advertising awards nights. In my experience, it was always bad but this appalling behaviour has worsened over the years.

As an industry that faces constant challenges and furiously fast-paced changes, how can we expect to show our clients how much value we bring to their business, and demonstrate how invaluable our role is in helping them solve their marketing challenges, when we act like this? Such disrespectful behaviour simply demonstrates that we don’t value our own industry.

I implore everybody in this industry – if you are going to attend any awards night, while the presentation of those awards is happening, please shut the f@#* up and show some respect to your colleagues, competitors, the clients present and the awards organisers, and celebrate the industry rather than drag our name through the mud.

Go on. Lift your game, show some respect and celebrate all that is good about what we do.

Scott Whybin's speech on the night, on acceptance of his induction into the AdNews Advertising Hall of Fame, also touched on the value of the industry. Watch Whybin's speech here.

Greg Graham
Business development and marketing officer

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