jump to navigation

The awards question 3 April, 2008

Posted by Jay Ball in Uncategorized.

Over the years I’ve managed to hold a range of contradictory views about creative awards. My current default stance is to be firmly against them but then every now and again, there’s a piece of work that I feel deserves wider recognition and a nice trophy on a small plinth seems as good a way of achieving this as any.

The plus-side of the awards argument goes something like this: Awards set a benchmark of creative excellence. They help agencies recruit new, talented people and raise morale internally. And they give prospective clients the reassurance that they’re buying into a quality agency.


The thing about awards for me (and I’ve judged on a few) is that the work that wins awards tends to be the kind of work that wins awards. By this I mean it tends to follow a certain advertising mindset. It has a self-referential cleverness about it that appeals to people in the business. A few years back, I was on an awards panel and we were getting down to the choice of the actual winner. The debate, rather than being about creativity or innovation or effectiveness, centred around whether the piece was a [insert award name] type of piece and the possible reaction of the audience at the ceremony. This really can’t be healthy.

Also, awards tend to pigeohole work into categories. But today, the most interesting work sits outside traditional categories. It’s the mixed up, mashed up stuff that’s pushing things forward. The catch-all of ‘integrated’ doesn’t really cover it – especially as for many awards this comes down to “and here’s a couple of other things we tagged on to our ad campaign.” And let’s not even get started on the cost.

So I tend to agree with Bruce Mau in his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth:

Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

But then again, sometimes, on a weak day, what I wouldn’t give for a One Show or Epica.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: