Scandal at the Lynx! A revised blog creates a stir within the festival.

March 19, 2009


My judging of the Dubai Lynx was not without controversy. With the festival over, I would now like to open a dialogue about the matter. I’d like your opinion…

I’d first reported (on Adfreak) about fairly dismal advertising entered into the TV category. Within hours, the festival asked me to tone down the blog for fear of queering the event. While my “reportage” was accurate, I willingly agreed to do so. After all, the Dubai Lynx is only a few years old and, upon further consideration, I agreed that my harsh review could do more harm than good.

You should know the jury ended up awarding several medals in TV, which were deserved. While it’s true the jury was disappointed by its first impression, the following day we had a healthy discussion and made adjustments.

Unfortunately, the RSS feed stayed the same and the discrepancy between the two posts was picked up by various press and bloggers. Have a look at one such blog and tell me what you think. Were they wrong to ask me to “remove or tone down” the story? And was I cowardly or brave to do it?

Scandal at the Lynx!


10 Responses to “Scandal at the Lynx! A revised blog creates a stir within the festival.”

  1. My first-blush thought is they were certainly within their rights to ask you to change it, but you were not right to agree to do it (there are always a million “right reasons” to hedge, but unvarnished opinion is the reason bloggers blog, so what’s out is out). But once it all became a cause celebre, you were right to air the issue, as you are doing. Idea for next time: stick to your guns–but if there’s any regret on reflection, do a second post amplifying on the first, not an edit of the original.

  2. SRP said


    Interesting perspective. I agree.
    In Cannes, the festival is amused by controversy: Scams! Poaching! Cultural bias!
    But Lynx is so new they fear for its integrity and wish to protect it from harm.

  3. Ash Chagla said

    I think the bigger question is: was it right for a festival judge to comment on entries during the judging process. You are absolutely entitled to your opinions, however i think you should have waited until your judging responsibilities were over.

  4. SRP said

    Another good view. As the actual judging is a process my premature comments almost certainly affected it. Ironically, the giving of X amount of medals may have been partly a reaction to early “negativism” as seen in my post.
    You’re right, Ash. Probably best to have just waited.

  5. David Burn said

    IMO, if the show brings in world class creatives to judge inferior local work–in a minor American market or an emerging overseas market–then the chips will fall where they may.

    I understand why you revised, but I also understand one’s need to be political when representing a global conglomerate.

  6. tom wilson said

    I agree that blogging about the lack of good entries during the judging may have been a bad decision. The request by the festival is even worse. It’s not like they were asking for a revision out of compassion for the entrants. Money was the more likely motivator. Awards shows, particularly international ones, are big business. Your obviously honest blog entry threatened their business to some degree so they wanted a revision. However, in the digital realm, once it’s out there, it’s out there for good.

  7. Andra Johnson said

    Is not the beauty of blogging that you get to hear the initial thoughts of the blogger? I have really enjoyed reading the raw comments on your blog for quite a while and I would hate for you to change. I believe editing your comments after the fact is sort of like erasing something from your journal.

  8. Nommo said

    I think your initial thoughts were right. The Middle East ad industry may talk about wanting to be on the world stage. But when it compares itself, it’s not there. That’s why you almost never see agencies from the likes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Jeddah, Riyadh or Cairo – which are the region’s main ad hubs – win at international awards.

    Your job, at their request, is to bring international standards and perspective – and not to be bullied into worrying that you’re not making allowances. Either the stuff is good enough, or it’s not.

    If you compromise then that does nothing to help raise standards in the region.

    Many Middle East agencies make big money by persuading clients they’re getting world class work. Sometimes they are – unfortunately it’s usually lifted from the previous year’s D&AD annual.

  9. Were this award show conducted in the West, I’d say blog your thoughts as they come as your perspectives are additive to the overall experience. Attendees, entrants, judges and others would assimilate them along w/ opinions from other sources.

    However, when I read your first post I remember thinking of the Bishop of Milan’s advice “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. As you were a guest in their culture, asking in advance might have been the best course.

    Having said that, I am a bit surprised they asked you tone down or change your post. As you were their guest, it must have been difficult for them. At that point adjusting your post was the appropriate thing to do. “Sticking to your guns” would have been inappropriate given the context.

  10. SRP said

    Loving all these POVs.
    In the new era of blogging (versus press) there are no texts. We are creating the protocol through trial and error.
    As for the situation in question, I was, and continue to be, conflicted about the right thing to do. I played it best I could.
    I didn’t want to irk my hosts but I didn’t want to issue a press release either.

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