Sure, the advertising industry appears to have a heavy focus on back-slapping and self-aggrandisement with a seemingly endless run of awards shows, but advertising awards are actually all about the clients.
It works in three ways.
One. Effectiveness award shows such as New York Festivals AME Awards, The Effies and AC&E Awards are all designed to promote the outcome of great creativity, not just the creativity in isolation. To win, an agency and its client must collectively show how the impact of the creative work delivered outstanding results. This builds rapport, trust and collaboration between agency and client, working toward a common goal of outstanding results.
Two. Striving for great creative ideas that might just be award-worthy often results in the agency going above and beyond both budget and brief. When it comes to presenting ideas, the client gets two ideas: the one that solves the problem on brief, and the idea that can potentially do something beyond everyone’s expectations. It takes a good brief and a brave client to run with big ideas, but the point is to give marketers the choice between good and great. Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of the agency working overtime on their brief.
Three. There’s as much in it for the marketer as there is for the agency. Awards come in streaks, not isolation, so for a period of six months to a year a great campaign is in the trade news being discussed and celebrated, with the spotlight as firmly focused on the marketer behind the brief as the agency who seized the opportunity the brief presented.
There is one other reason to consider awards as measure of agency value. Advertising awards are a method of peer review because they’re judged by leaders in the industry to promote excellence. If Showpony Adelaide wins say, a best in show at the AADC Awards*, it says that our peers from around the country consider our campaign to be the best Adelaide had to offer over the entire year. That’s got to tell a client something about the quality of the agency’s work.
* Showpony Adelaide has won best in show at the AADC awards for three of the last four years ;-)