Should ad award schemes acknowledge ethics?

And if they do, how should this be measured? This is a surprisingly complex question, as our ad correspondent Ben Kay explains below, but not one that should necessarily be ignored

Here’s a question that gets more and more complicated the more you think about it: should advertising awards take into account the ethical standards of the work?

Having seen the debates on LinkedIn over the last few years, I know that many people think creative awards are supposed to assess nothing beyond pure creativity, and I can see the sense in that: if you pay to enter work for oil companies, cigarettes, and questionable governments, you should expect that it will be judged in the same way as ads for wind farms, electric vehicles, and recycling initiatives. But it’s not that simple, is it?

Imagine, for example, that you were asked to judge an amazingly effective campaign for the Ku Klux Klan, one that increased racist violence throughout America. Would you be happy to give it a gold? I would think not, but then where do you draw the line?