Great work smells of massive balls

Caroline Pay
Caroline Pay

My main criteria for judging great creativity has always been 'Does it make me feel sick with jealousy?'

Now that might be the surprising nature of the idea, the eye-watering craft, the genius choice of cast, stunning music, awesome animation, or the most gut-wrenching of all – how the fuck did they manage to sell that utter madness? And I feel this across all forms of creativity, of course. God forbid I’m only talking ads here. 

Recent examples of this include the simplicity of "Fearless girl". The epic joy of Channel 4's "We're the superhumans" for the Paralympics. The jaw-to-the-floor-put-your-fanny-on-the-telly courage of Channel 4’s "Naked attraction". The beautiful clash of genres in Get Out and the mind-blowing score in Dunkirk. Even the 'eff-you simplicity of the gangsta hen for KFC.

I could go on and on, but basically they’re all fresh, all surprising, all annoying as hell as they managed to convince someone to do something new. Something great. Something brave.

Being brave with our work, today more than ever, feels like one of the few things that might get us out of this big baby fug our industry seems to be stuck in. Work that stinks of big balls, basically. (The balls we’ve all got, not just the testicular sort.) A bold strategy. A stonking execution. A link-arms-close-your-eyes-and-jump idea that took as much courage to buy as it did to sell in the first place.

That’ll be me in the judging room then, saying: "Do I feel sick and can I smell massive balls?"

Wish me luck.

Caroline Pay is the joint chief creative officer of Grey London and a lead judge at this year's Campaign Big Awards

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