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  • Writer's pictureNick Snelling

"And the award for ‘Best Trolling on Campaign Brief' goes to..."

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Hey there, hater! Now that award season is in full swing, I just wanna say HUUUGE fan of your work.

Forgive the ‘clickbaity’ headline but I wasn’t sure how else to lure you in. With all the anonymous put-downs, pithy posts and fully-sick burns, you’re a bit hard to high-five otherwise. Then again, if you did sign your real name, it might prove a tad career-limiting, right?

But before you second-guess yourself, no… it’s NOT cowardice to use a pseudonym in the Campaign Brief comments. Nope, not spineless at all. That flippant little handle you coined in lieu of revealing your actual identity is so cool. Besides, you’re not really that incognito, are you? People might not know who you are, but they sure know what you are – a criminally under-rated creative virtuoso whose own work has never been given the chance to shine like it deserves.

Or perhaps that’s wrong? Maybe you’re sporting a mantelpiece bristling with gold trophies and just get a kick out of punching down?

Either way, kudos. Lurking beneath bridges to waylay unsuspecting goats is a truly laudable pastime, and it’s high-time you got the credit you deserve. Your personal crusade against mediocrity has been an ongoing inspiration for so many of us in Ad Land. In fact, it’s fair to say your brilliance might have forever gone unsung if not for how you take every possible opportunity to deposit a big steaming dump all over your fellow creatives’ work.

How you still find the time to creep onto Campaign Brief — in between dreaming up brave, change-making campaigns and penning copy so sparkling it deserves its own GIA-grading system — to deliver such killer smackdowns is amazing. The mind boggles at the mad skills to be that mean-spirited. That merciless. Sure, there’s a fine line between ‘witty’ and ‘fuckwittery’, yet you manage to straddle that distinction with all the poise of a sumo wrestler performing Swan Lake.

The snarking. The sniping. The sneering. The sheer spite of it… Bet your Mum must be mega-proud of how casually you’re able to crush another creative with an off-the-cuff comment. One can only imagine all the dumb kids you made cry in high school when trolling their social media.

Don’t trouble yourself for one second wondering whether teachers or nurses or farmers or social workers also sneak onto their respective industry message-boards to anonymously shit-can their peers’ work. Nor ponder what it says psychologically about someone who does. Because… pffft… who gives a rat’s arse? What those losers do is low-status menial crap compared to what you do. You work in advertising! You’re a freaking ROCK STAR!

Remember back when you used to think ‘Schadenfreude’ was some infamous coke-addled Austrian shrink with an Oedipus complex? But now you know Schadenfreude is actually a higher plane of existence — a true calling — and you don’t you just revel in it like the proverbial porcine in poo. After all, delighting in the perceived failure of others to meet your own exacting (albeit arbitrary) standards of what constitutes ‘good work’ is one of the few guilt-free perks left in the gig, right?

It matters naught that said standards never apply to your own work (or lack thereof). Because that’s not even your fault! Lord knows you’ve had a veritable shit-tonne of Cannes Lion-skittling ideas over the years, but the bloody ECD nixed them all. Or the stupid client didn’t get it. Or the suits screwed it up. Or the director was crap. Or the talent sucked. Or the media team dropped the ball. Or the consumers are idiots. If it wasn’t for them, you’d be feted and fellated by every Ad Land mag on the globe!

And that’s why, as someone whose wondrous endeavours rarely see the light of day, you (and only you) are uniquely qualified to take the hatchet to another agency’s creative output. How else, as the thwarted genius you are, do you get to flex your ‘wunderkindery’ other than with a withering one-line appraisal of how LAAAAME everything is?

But you know what’s most admirable? It’s how easily you forget that trying to shepherd any idea off the page (much less a good one) and all the way through to dispatch is actually a high-wire act fraught by all manner of booby traps, budgetary constraints and bad calls.

Forget that every piece of advertising invariably entails a creative compromise of some kind, and often the dilution of a superior initial idea.

Forget that maybe the funniest gags got cut because… well, legal.

Forget that the clunky line in the script (the one you hate and could have written so much better) was probably included at the brand’s insistence because they are the client.

Forget that perhaps the best shots got left on the editing room floor because some algorithm-enslaved flunky at the media agency was adamant that the human brain has devolved to the point now where it can only ‘engage with content’ in 9:16 format for six seconds at a stretch.

Yeah, the work could always be better, and no doubt would have been, if only YOU had won the account, gotten the brief, written the line, designed the KV or scripted the spot. But alas, you did not.

A final thought…

Sometimes I wonder if Campaign Brief could install an automatic cam-function that snaps off a candid photo the instant its users post a comment. Imagine that gallery of unguarded selfies, can you? The curled lips. The supercilious smirks. The sadistic relish. The vicious contempt. The offended scowls. The rolled eyes. The huff and the puff. And the ugly, embittered expression on YOUR mug every time you pen some snide aside that belittles another idea or another agency that isn’t your own.

Anyhoo, it’s a shame the industry can’t properly reward you for all your contributions with a gold trophy of some kind. I’m sure we’d all applaud in witnessing that much-deserved moment in the spotlight where you finally get crowned with a big blunt object.

[Cue the furious scrabble of keyboards...]

Nick Snelling is a creative who’s curious about where all these meanies in the advertising biz come from, because all the folk he knows are super-nice. On the upside, he’s at least gratified to know that once AI renders all our jobs obsolete, they’re probably a shoo-in for a plum role working in a Russian troll-farm somewhere.

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