Thursday, June 25, 2009

3 reasons why award shows are crucial

We’re into the last throws of award season, which means we’re almost done with the alternate pontificating, slamming, justifying and etc.


Though I love/hate award shows as much as the next guy, here are three reasons why we should love that advertising award shows exist. Starting with one you’ve heard before… but it’s amazing to me how so many gloss over this point when they pronounce award shows ‘irrelevant’.

1. Without award shows, creatives would not see all of the most innovative thinking in the world. Clients benefit in myriad ways by having their creatives exposed to ingenious solutions such as the Kit Kat postcards. Sorry, but reading the first headlines about Best Job In The World had nowhere near as much effect on the people in your creative department as reading the headlines that it just cleared up at Cannes. Isn’t that valuable? Having the ambitious creatives of the world inspired to make their client’s business famous on as little money as possible? Using modern media in exactly the way the award show haters have been touting?

2. Our industry, like other creative industries, is fueled by insecurity. The creative people working through the weekend on your business are not doing it just so they can sell your product, make you happy and keep their jobs. They’re doing it because they want to come up with something better, something that will make them famous, or at least worthy. We see colleagues getting all the attention, and it spurs us all to try harder. Clients benefit from this by having the lower paid creatives putting a disproportionate amount of sweat and imagination into your business. You get to pick and sift through the patently self-indulgent and find the blasts of brilliance that can stand out, attract, and connect.

3. Advertising award shows are the best, most direct measurement of the creative contribution that we have. Most creatives I know start life curious about the effect their ideas have on a brand’s success. But they mostly quit asking because there is no such thing as a clear line between creativity and sales. If there were, the fog would be lifted, agencies could be paid purely on their merits, many creative people would be paid way less (and some would be paid tons more). We’d be more like Hollywood directors and writers, knowing for sure that our efforts resulted in a box office of $X. (Ahem, but it probably wouldn’t stop us from having our Golden Globes, Oscars, Cannes, Sundances, Venices, etc etc.) Clients would benefit from a more complete measurement system by knowing exactly what they’re paying for.

We’d love that world. But we’re not holding our breath.

That’s all. I’d really like to hear from any award show haters. It might be your last chance ’til next year’s season.

Image by kangster

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