Monday, September 28, 2009

Silly numbers.

Advertising Age has just published "The Creativity Awards Report" which counts which agency, which network and which creatives won the most awards in the past year. What you'll see if you read Ad Age's reporting is some staggering and some staggeringly silly numbers. Agencies winning literally hundreds or in some cases thousands of awards for their efforts.

Years ago, Milwaukee had a disproportionate number of award-winning advertising agencies. I had to fly to Milwaukee for some reason and could hardly wait to pick up the local papers in the morning and look at all the brilliant advertising. D'ya know what I found? Crap. Crap. And more crap. Falling leaves and headlines like "Rake in the savings."

Which leads me to ask, if agencies can win all these awards, why when you turn on the TV, go online, or read a newspaper or magazine do we not see this work? Why do we see absolute insulting banality?

Undoubtedly, the proliferation of award shows leads to the proliferation of awards. But something is going on in our industry that undercuts the very legitimacy of what we do. Our focus is perverted--on winning industry awards rather than on helping industries. Our two principle advertising trade magazines are culpable as well. They know if they wank-off the major agencies, they will get media dollars from the major agencies.

Above is a picture of Idi Amin. As you can tell from his uniform, he also was highly awarded.


Teenie said...

I'm so glad your on this bandwagon, Geo. Agencies winning awards for made-up ads is like doctors winning awards for sewing a functioning arm on some poor guy's forehead: it's meaningless, functionless and pointless.

jeaves said...

What a fantastic image to counter with. Representing a smaller shop I am challenged to find that balance of wanting to fit in as well as wanting to stand out. At the end of the day someone has to pay the bills.

Jake P. said...

Absolutely priceless use of good ole Idi, Geo. Award-laden and bat-shit-crazy.

Tore Claesson said...

And what's worse is the fact that too many of those awards are won for work that was designed ONLY in the hope of winning awards. If they ever ran it was ONLY in order to qualify. Scams. Which is not as innocent as it may seem. Honestly created work is sent to shows costing agencies thousands and thousands of dollars in fees. They are chance-less against the scam ads. Now, many times big agencies send in both proper ads and scam ads.
Which makes it a bit schizophrenic. Scam ads never had to address a proper brief and pass the scrutiny of reality. They didn't have to sell or fit in with a brand's voice. They just had to charm a jury. It's stealing. And what's worse, as awards are used to prove the worth of agencies and their creative staff, many useless agencies and ruthless creatives have built outsize reputations not on effective work, but on scams, and by that winning clients they don't know how to service properly. And creative people have got top jobs they can't handle. But, as Geo points out, as long as the press plays along,as long as the big agencies play along, the scam will continue. It's big business. However, with a bit of the blow torch pointed at it all, the scammers will need to be a but more sophisticated in the future. I don't expect to see so many Brazilian ghost ads at the top of the shows in the future. But who knows. If the clients play along just for the fun of it. Well, then we're screwed again.