Tom Denford and David Indo from ID Comms: are awards a waste of time and money?

In this week’s #MediaSnack, Tom and David discuss the issue of awards, and more particularly, the challenges of creating media awards that advertisers really care about.

The topic has been triggered by conversations in Cannes, where Publicis announced that it wouldn’t enter any awards for a year, saving a reported $20m, and where WPP has also mulled a rethink on its approach.

In part, they argue, the awards backlash was really a backlash against the current Cannes environment, which is overblown and overpriced.

However, Tom and David say there is a real issue when it comes to media awards. They are notoriously difficult to judge, and where many awards fail to answer the key question: did the media activity deliver a clear business result.

David reveals that during his time working at brands there was a reluctance to release such information because it was simply too sensitive. A lot of brands, he argues, are very uncomfortable about submitting business success data.

Many clients don’t really care if they (or their agency) win awards because they are too busy focusing on the day job, even if the idea of celebrating success is enticing.

Both Tom and David have been judges and say that most entries are quite underwhelming, with little substance. Even those that show how the agency has been insightful and used that to drive strategy can often contain little to demonstrate how effective the plan was for the business.

Their solution is to create awards that read more like a business case, shrink the number of categories and reward really disciplined work. What really matters are effectiveness innovation, integration, showcasing brilliant talent and creativity; the ideal category list.

At a time when media is so interesting and exciting, they say, now is the time for some business/organisation to take ownership of media awards in its truest form.

Brands and marketers will want to contribute – if the definition becomes more celebrated in the right way – where campaigns demonstrate delivery of business KPIs.

Finally, Tom and David sign off with a new feature: Question of the Day, this week’s is:
who benefits from the awards, is it the agency or the advertiser. Comments can be left below or on #MediaSnack for discussion in future #MediaSnacks.

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