I fucking hate turkey. It’s dry, tasteless, and reeks of slightly misplaced nostalgia. I have been very vocal about this for years, to be met with many an eye roll and looks that scream “bore off”, but Turkey of the Week is a terrible thing and I think as an industry we are better than this.
When at the beginning of the pandemic it was abolished there was a little cheer from the office I’d fashioned in the Lego/gym(lol)/play/guest/dump room at the back of my house, only to read the article the other week that it’s coming back.
I agree every industry needs to be held accountable for its output: albums need to be reviewed good or bad, films, restaurants, theatre… everything. That’s what will move us forward and make us better. Considered, informed and impartial analysis is welcome, and if it’s not then I think the creative industries are not for you.
But having a column that historically sat in the diary page that in a short paragraph summarised why a piece of work was rubbish normally with a little gag is not that.
I totally understand Maisie [McCabe, Campaign‘s UK editor]’s decision to evolve it. We need to be critiqued but the title “turkey” is mean, out of date and bit sneery. There is no “shit album of the week” or “cack film of the year” so why does our industry have to be so crass? It’s actually the sneery bit I take offence with the most. “Turkey” is a sneery word and it’s the tone of this that lets us down.
No one sets out to make a rubbish piece of work. People may sleepwalk into a project or clients change direction during production blah blah blah whatever. But laughing and pointing won’t stop that. Now, I’m not for one minute suggesting this is what is being suggested here, but calling this column “Turkey of the Week” screams of that and comes with all the baggage of what this column once was.
I love Campaign’s wont of not being afraid to call out mediocrity; we need that. We need to kick the apathy that has crept in over Covid, we need to constantly strive for better, but knowing about the worst ad of the week won’t help us do that. Sometimes a bad ad is just a bad ad and we all know that, including the team that probably spent way too much time agonising over it.
I want to know about the work and brands that should have been better. All too often recently we have seen great brands put out work that is beneath them or that’s just not good enough. We have started to celebrate mediocrity and that’s what I want to know about. Why did that happen? What’s changed? Why has the mood film taken over? Why does everything look the same? Where has ambition gone? Why has this once-great brand bought this work? Why do people feel afraid of difference?
These are the points the industry should care about and these are the points to hold us accountable against. The problem with “Turkey” is it implies none of this, it just says “this is rubbish” and so a fair and valid critique starts off on the wrong foot.
It’s a branding thing, that’s all, and we are meant to be good at that.
Richard Brim is the chief creative officer at Adam & Eve/DDB