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The Value of Advertising Awards

The old adage that advertising award schemes are loved when one wins something and hated when one wins nothing has a ring of truth about it that I can easily identify with.

The subjective versus the objective value of advertising awards is a debatable issue and probably always will be.

Capitalising on perceptions of industry prestige

It is of vital importance for award schemes to sustain and capitilise on the perception of the prestige and honour to be gained by winning their awards and most of them succeed with enthusiastic acceptance by the advertising communication industry.

Costly trophy awards for display, or are they a sound investment?

The cost of entering work by agencies is huge. Besides the entry fees and the cost of preparing work for multiple category submissions, are the additional costs of tickets for attending agency staff, their travel, accommodation and meals. However, many agencies regard this as a necessary investment for building creative reputations, staff morale, creating opportunities for valuable PR and winning new business.

Winning awards = winning new business

I believe that is only partially true. Winning new business is more complicated than a tally of awards to clinch the deal. Media planning expertise, international and local alignments, strategic planning capabilities, trusting working relationships and avoiding potential brand conflicts are all important evaluation criteria in new business negotiations.

I hasten to add however, that one year at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, Donald Gunn, founder of the famous annually published Gunn Report on advertising agency creative ranking, made a convincing presentation based on extensive research. He proved conclusively that 98% of the Cannes award winning campaigns achieved favourable consumer responses that were above average and resulted in considerable brand sales increases.

Clients are very aware of this fact and obviously it will play an important role in influencing their agency selection criteria of appointing the most eligible custodian of their business.

How long lasting is the value of winning awards?

I’ve had the good fortune to attend the Cannes Advertising Festival for the full ten days for 13 consecutive years. Each year in conservation with colleagues from advertising agency network countries, no-one could remember with any clarity who won what for what the previous year and the general consensus was who cares?

A number of award-winning agencies of yesteryear no longer exist and most agencies lose award-winning creative staff from time to time to their competitors, or as a result of them starting their own creative enterprises.

Does the winning of awards have bankable long-term value for agencies? It does seem as if the other old adage that you are only as good as your next job might be the realistic answer.

Advertising awards = communication knowledge

The digital era has however, introduced important new benchmarks of communication effectiveness. Online responses offer a quick assessment of consumer impact and responsiveness.

With a third of the online connected global community using ‘Ad Blockers’ advertising award schemes I believe, have a significant role to play currently. It is important to recognise those communication pathfinders who have broken through the advertising tedium barrier with creative work that is compelling and embraced by consumers, so that they can light the way forward for others to follow.

Measuring Advertising Communication Effectiveness

Awards for communication effectiveness have rightfully come into prominent play.

Most noteworthy are the The Effie Awards. These are marketing and communication awards given annually by Effie Worldwide to honor the most effective marketing communications ideas. Their mission is to encourage effectiveness among the marketing and advertising communication industries through education and recognition.

The Bigger Picture

Award scheme participation costs may be high and there are so many that the cost of entering them all would bankrupt some agencies. But the potential cost of losing out to the boycotting of advertising that is considered to be intrusive, irrelevant and unwanted poses a far greater financial threat.

My belief is that the aim of award schemes should be to ensure that winning campaign judgments are not just based on subjective opinions. There should be an equal balance of objective criteria for campaign effectiveness.

Valuable knowledge of the forms and functions of effective advertising communication are vital for a progressive understanding of why an increasingly connected global community views advertising with a growing disdain.