Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cannes the Cannes

The problem with advertising awards is that they judge creativity.

Well, they judge creativity without a benchmark of where the ad came from. No idea of how tough the birth of this idea was. It also tends to be based around a fixed set of creative principles.

To me, judging agency awards based purely on their creativity is rather like judging the quality of a school based only on the final grades of its pupils. Is the 10 A's averaging school in a rich area better than the 3 A's school in a poor area where English isn't always a first language? Surely understanding how hard it has been to get to the results, and the starting point going in are more than relevant to the success?

If you don't understand the initial problems and the process involved in an ad, is it not a little unfair to then reward only the outcome.

To me, an agency that gets a half decent idea out of a really difficult client is just as, if not more deserving of reward than the agency that makes a great ad for a great client.

It's why I keep hoping for good ads from DFS... when they get a good ad through we will know it deserves praise because of how hard it has been to sell in good work (so it seems at least!).

I am also a hater of the term 'regional' agency. A term that seems to brand agencies outside the M25 with a semi-rural status that is sometimes used in quite a demeaning way. I'm not criticising 'regional' awards, but it seems wrong to me that supposedly national/international awards ceremonies often fail to truly be so. We may have smaller clients who need more direct work in much less development time up here, but that does not mean we are less creative.

Judge based on the full story.

I'd like to see awards that balance out the skew towards those with great clients and challenger requirements:

  • Best ad to get through a difficult client

  • Best squeezing of ad copy past BACC

  • Most creative incorporation of mandatory product features

  • Best price / product ad (Aldi - Tea!)

  • Most warmth created for monolithic soulless mega-corporation

  • Least soul-destroying daytime TV direct ad

  • Most improved advertising


Crabbit Copywriter said...

I could not agree more. Sometimes I think the ad awards are actually on a different planet. Why are they not awarding based on a combination of effectiveness and creativity?

I find it much more gratifying to look through magazines and newspapers and spy a clever headline or a nice campaign idea for a client who is terrified of originality than look through award winners. Surely seeing an ad that's managed to make it through the gauntlet of idea to production while remaining creative and effective is a better ad than some scam effort at Cannes?

We all like to look at annuals, but the examples you see are not usually living, breathing advertising.

Rob Mortimer said...

Even when they are it's for a number of great to work with accounts that allow freedom and creativity for brand building. The kind of campaigns that most creatives would kill to work on.

I'm not saying that agencies with those clients haven't earned the right to work on those things, but that it seems unfair to not consider the full story of each ad.

Anonymous said...

Very good point. Even the effectiveness awards that do look at some of the other factors don’t take into account the full picture – the work it took to get it made, to get it past ClearCast, to get it past the client even.

I’d love to see your categories appear as genuine awards – maybe you should set it up yourself?

Is there another category for - ‘Best final ad under trying conditions’ – for all those DRTV Spring Summer ads that get filmed in January? With no budget for location.