There's an op-ed in today's "New York Times" that everyone should take three minutes to read. It's called "Losing is Good For You." And you won't be many words into it before you realize that the substance of the article can be applied to our industry. You can read the article here.
The article is about the ubiquity of winning and it brings to my mind our industry's current mania for awards. In fact, it states that trophy and award sales are now an estimated $3 billion-a-year business in the US and Canada. That's about $8/person on cheap Chinese loving cups.
In other words, everything is trophy-worthy. Everything wins an award. Even if it never ran. Never made a cash register ring. Never changed a perception.
The article specifically talks about kids. And if that isn't relevant to advertising what is? It states: "Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire [people] to succeed. Instead it can cause them to underachieve.
"Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that [people] respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they're talented, smart and so on. But after such praise...they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they'd rather cheat than risk failing again."
Cheating, of course, is endemic in the awards-industrial complex. And, "it's part of a larger cultural message: to succeed, you just have to show up...In the office, they still believe that attendance is all it takes to get a promotion."
Showing up isn't enough.
Working hard is.