I tell myself I’m good at accepting failure, but often wonder whether that’s actually true.

So it was a nice surprise to find that (after about an hour or so of being a bit glum) I wasn’t too bothered to miss out on a place on the shortlists of the One Show awards, which me and Lara entered with this:

The brief, for PETA, was more or less to come up with a campaign to talk about and help end speciesism in some way. If that sounds easy to you I envy you. Speciesism is a complicated topic and, taking the brief at face value, talking about it involves boiling down something very complex into something very simple.

Did we do that? Who knows. I was and still am proud of this failure of a campaign. I still enjoy watching the video and thought the core idea of creating an animal version of PETA was quite fun. It also had good feedback from more or less everyone who saw it. Some people really liked it.

BUT it didn’t win. It didn’t even get close. So why was that?

In the interest of learning from failures etc., I’ll have a quick go at trying to figure it out.

One thing, I wonder, is whether we thought about speciesism itself too much. Speciesism is the idea that we don’t have any more right to life or an absence of suffering than animals. You wouldn’t cage a human and milk them daily, a speciesist argument would say, (although I bet some of you would love to ya sickos) so why do it to a cow?

Our campaign tried to put the concept of speciesism at the core but, by doing so, perhaps made itself a bit too complicated to understand. We’ve definitely struggled showing this one in book crits, without the video to accompany it, so maybe the whole thing didn’t make enough sense…

I suspect the winners in the category will all be simple ideas that take speciesism as a broad concept but then make smaller arguments; stuff that is perhaps more similar to what PETA have done before.

Another team from the School got through in this competition with a great idea about creating an escape room for humans that reflected the experiences of cattle in the meat industry. Great idea. No fucking around with ‘the concept of speciesism’. You wouldn’t do this to a human, so why do it to an animal? Simple.

And the key is perhaps that literally anyone would get that.

Plenty of people have told us that awards aren’t always a good judge of quality; lots of good ideas slip through the cracks. I’m sure that it’s true, but surely they’re still a judge of something or other and it never hurts less for next time.

Fingers crossed our D&AD does better!


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