The Problem with Awards…

It can be hard to know these days what awards to aim for in marketing…

We debate things like sponsorship bias and over awarding in the Irish marketplace – creating a loss of value in those wins. But I think there is another issue at hand when it comes to awards – the framework.

I cannot for the life of me understand why we are categorising and grading creative ideas by the platform on which they sit.

Creative Agencies are very concerned these days about how – in a multimedia universe – the mechanic is trumping idea. Creative is getting dictated too and shoved into copy-paste-content-by-numbers.

And they are right, absolutely.

But if we want to change this concerning trend, we need to look at how we are judging and awarding our own creative work.

If we want ideas to come before the mechanics once more, we need to stop constructing creative award categories that are defined by media, rather than creative territory or solutions.

For example awards with categories such as Brand Loyalty, Creating Conversations, Switching Brands, Behaviour Change, Short Term Benefits (e.g. Increasing Sales), Long Term Brand Benefits (I know ADFX covers this one) and Social Policy… instead of ‘Best Mobile’, ‘Best Snapchat’ or ‘Most Awesome Tweet’.

It’s time to get over the hype of media and get back to real ideas lead by real insight.

That doesn’t mean discounting the importance of media.

It doesn’t mean dismissing ‘new’ media (ugh*) and putting a Christmas TV ad as our creative holy grail.

It doesn’t mean that creative people don’t need to be experts in media too now. (They really, really… really do).

It just means putting real ideas – developed through real insight* – first and then approaching the most effective platform solutions with an unbiased, mature level of expertise that lead to campaigns that are both awesome and effective.

ADFX goes a big part of the way in addressing this and the work IAPI has done stellar work to refocus agencies on these particular awards over the last 5 years has been brilliant.

But I would argue we need to go a lot further and push back on other awards and categories based on judging great work in the framing of the very thing we think is choking it.

As advertisers, we of all people should know that language is important.

Language conveys purpose. It conveys trust. It conveys a reason for being.

If we want clients and the public at large to be impressed by our award wins, what should that language be?

Just going to plonk this here – it’s an oldie but a goodie…


* If you’re still calling things ‘new’ media you’ve a bigger problem.

** Real Insight – aka something that was not just pulled out of a five-hour search on Google.


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