Monday, November 9, 2015

Football and awards.

The Giants were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the fourth quarter and it was a close game.

I’m not much of a football fan, so when I do turn on a game, I usually turn off the volume and leave it on in the background.

With about two minutes left in the game and the Giants holding a slim lead, my wife of 31 years called me in to dinner. Tampa Bay was on the march and the Giants, weak at holding a lead, seemed poised to lose once again in the 4th quarter.

The next I saw of the game, one burly Buccaneer was congratulating another. I assumed they had scored and won the game. But no, I subsequently found out. The Giants had zoomed ahead. But still the Tampa Bay players were applauding each other.

It’s a funny thing for someone of my era to see the chest-bumping, ass slapping and fist-bumping of this generation of athletes. These nationally-televised recognitions seem to take up about 1/3 of every broadcast.

Over in the National Basketball Association, high fives are exchanged even when a player misses a free throw—one of the surest shots in all of sports.

It occurred to me, we follow much the same practice in our industry.

If you believe that in our business, we have two key goals, to either drive sales or enhance a company’s reputation, we have a shocking number of awards for work that does neither of these fairly measurable tasks.

We congratulate each other for a hard tackle or a nice run even when it has no bearing on the purpose of  our game. We congratulate ourselves for ads that never ran, for assignments we never had, for clients who barely exist.

There's another football game on tonight.

If you want to see what our awards mania looks like, all you need to do is tune in. 

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