Despite a Unilever exec’s “Woke-washing” warning, the Cannes Lyin’s Grand Pricks this year didn’t seem to get the cosmic cultural memo that empty-headed, lazy virtue signaling is on the wane.
We saw the usual parade of holier-than-thou lecturers and secular preachers (preaching cultural division more than anything else, let’s note) rewarded by the would-be societal programmers at the Lyin’s: mediocre QB but superb controversy Colin Kaepernick; the smugly naive kids of March for Our Lives; the almost always stridently wrong when it counts New York Times; whatever the fuck that Childish Gambino thing was; etc., etc.
We won’t go through ‘em all, that’d be unbearable, but we’ll touch a couple of the key ones most deserving of contempt.
Burger King. Holy shit on a hamburger bun. Three big awards splattered for a fast food feeder producing slow-kill poison that harms your health as it supercharges kids’ obesity. If BK didn’t spend billion$ on bullshit badvertising, few would ever dream of eating there. So if you work that account you’ve got bloody stool all over your hands IMHO. Awarding a Grand Pricks for helping a disgusting slop shop like Burger King sell more of their degenerative garbage is like giving Joseph Goebbels the Pulitzer.
But what about honoring a cobwebbed feel-good story from nearly four decades ago for a despicably dishonest company like Johnson & Johnson—which knowingly sold cancer-causing powder to your babies? It doesn’t matter if you had to go back 36 years to find some past-tense propaganda to say about yourself, if you can tie it to brave women treating HIV infected men during Pride Month. That’s like going full retard in reverse.
If there was any morality in the advertising business, agencies wouldn’t work with these contemptible humanity-devolving clients, much less give awards for it. Then again, if there was any morality in the advertising business, there wouldn’t be an advertising business. So let’s move on.
When I read that the Cannes Lyin’s had awarded their Film Grand Pricks to the recently-acquired-and-almost-sure-to-soon-degenerate-not-that-they-were-really-all-that-great-to-begin-with Droga5, for their incredibly dunderheaded self-own campaign for The New York Times, “The Truth Is Hard,” I laughed and laughed. I’m laughing right now again, in fact, as I type this, I’m so delighted.
“The Truth Is Hard” campaign launched in February 2017, three months after Orange Man Bad handed The Times their shredded reputation on a platter, to the point where the paper felt the need to apologize to readers for what a shitty, unprofessional and irresponsible job they’d done covering the election.
Yet apparently instead of actually doing anything about the shitty, unprofessional and irresponsible job they’ve been doing, management decided a big dumb ad campaign that tries to convince you they’re not actually doing a shitty, unprofessional and irresponsible job was the way to go.
Buuuuuut….since the apparently unforeseen potentially double-edged sword of “The Truth Is Hard” campaign launched two years ago, we have seen the once-respected, now ridiculous, New York Times blow it big time on the following:
2- Covington Kid
3- Jussie Smollett
4- NXIVM (what’s the over/under on them ever telling you NY Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand’s dad worked for NXIVM?)
5- Added racists Sarah Jeong and Bari Weiss to their editorial opinion team
6- Caricatured Israel’s PM Netanyahu as a dog wearing a six-pointed star dog collar
7- Claimed a huge bump in web traffic that turned out to be bot clicks from China (now THERE was an under-reported story!)
8- And so on.
Much like The Washington Post’s odd new slogan that sounds like a malevolent mission statement, “Democracy Dies In Darkness,” “The Truth Is Hard” seems an incredibly bizarre positioning to take, much less to award, as the paper’s credibility falls almost as fast as the Cannes Lyin’s.
The only way it makes sense is if the people doing the awarding still believe they have cultural influence. They don’t. The only people they’re influencing is each other, and there’s not even much of that because they all already think the same. It’s the only way you get to those positions nowadays--diversity of appearance is what matters, most certainly not diversity of worldview. Lockstep goosestep, but wow that new nose ring like the cattle wear is so YOU!
So let’s all have a good laugh at their expense. Both The New York Times and the ad industry are dying, and their absurdly defiant but profoundly delusional Lyin Grand Pricks award is a stage of their mutual grief. That stage is Denial (tinged with a bit of the next stage, Anger).
At best, the 2019 Cannes Lyin’s Grand Pricks might become an intriguing footnote to history: A signifier of the willful ignorance and small-minded ideological obstinance of both the publishing and advertising industries, as they headed pell-mell over history’s cliff, eyes wide shut, in a stubborn circle jerk death grip.
Hard truth for both industries, but hey—The truth is hard.