As advertisers and their agencies return from the much touted Mecca of advertising, Cannes Festival of Creativity 2013, one wonders whether all the hype and monies spent convert to positive impact on a brand’s business. After all, the Festival did receive a record 35,765 entries from 92 countries this year.
Closer home, we have the EMVIES, ABBYs and the EFFIES – not counting numerous other smaller awards – all consuming precious time and effort.
While agencies who participate and agencies who don’t participate maintain distinctly different views on the importance of awards, as do agencies who have won awards this year versus agencies who didn’t, it all boils down to the big monies that are being invested in this business.
“Awards don't drive business results, insightful innovation backed by strategic and creatively effective marketing does. However, an effective ad can and should win awards too,” shared Shireesh Joshi, COO, Strategic Marketing Group at Godrej.
So what do awards mean from the client’s perspective? Have they just turned into a big celebration for the advertising agencies? Anil Jayaraj, CMO, Pidilite Industries is optimistic when he said, “There are awards and then there are awards. I would prefer creative effectiveness awards and rate them as fairly important. Creative awards are also important as they are noticed by people for craftsmanship. But awards should work towards making the brand effective, which is why creative effectiveness awards in my book are far more important.”
If India’s performance at Cannes this year in the creative effectiveness category is anything to go by, there needs to be a renewed focus on driving effectiveness.
“Good advertising executions are always appreciated. I, however, do believe that there is much more to advertising than mere good execution. The strategy behind the execution is equally important. I wish there were more awards that focused on strategy rather than the creative output,” said Harish Bijoor Brand Expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults.
Driving brand solutions to winning awards
The most important factor for a brand remains its business, so does the fact that an agency has come back victorious after bagging a slew of awards important to a brand and business owner when deciding a communication partner?
“Yes, awards are important but they are not the only criteria; brand understanding plays an important role as well. If I had to allocate a percentage to how much importance I give to an agency winning awards, it would not be more than 10 percent. Maybe, I have would have given awards more importance earlier, but scam ads have shaken my belief in genuine advertising. The primary reason for advertising is to drive business. Advertising which is not used to drive effectiveness and impact of the business will not drive results as well, said Mayank Shah, Group Product Manager, Parle Products.
Scam ads seem to have marred honest advertising. Advertisers and a number of leading marketers like Shah feel that celebrating of creative genius is great, but increasingly efforts are being put only to win awards as the main objective. The focus shift from building brands to just winning awards has obviously taken its toll on the credibility attached to awards as well. Shah added, “The criteria of judging awards are not upto the mark anymore. The norms are not in place to measure effectiveness outcome.”
While the philosophy and intent of encouraging and motivating creative thinking is right, an over dose of scam ads this year saw awards fast losing this original intent. The shift from providing solutions to an expression of creativity is not deeming well for the fraternity as a whole.
“We need an agency that can ensure consumers understand our brands and products correctly and effectively. They need to be masters in their crafts as we (clients) need to be in ours. Awards (especially those given by peer associations) should be looked at only as a part of evaluating what an agency's capability is. Performance in pitches, credentials, past experience with agency and individuals, all play a role in that decision,” opined Joshi, on his perspective of appointing an agency.
Awards definitely do their job in winning recognition for the agency and motivating upcoming talent, and giving the much needed encouragement and boost. It is all upto the creative fraternity how they make awards matter, and drive effectiveness and impact through their craft.
“The true-blue award that is cherished by a client is one that is not for his advertising, but one that goes straight to his topline and bottomline. Sales, repeat sales, more sales and more and more sales is it! It is the ultimate reward for good advertising,” concluded Bijoor.
Amen to that.