By Cliff Findlay
“I'm a creative darling....I won an award for the so and so campaign”, “And the award goes to”....bla, bla, bla, bla.
Personally I have never entered work to win an award as I have never really understood the reasoning behind it. Don't get me wrong, when I was a young creative I was desperate to win and looked up to people like Graham Fink, Dave Trott, Paul Arden. My heroes were Doyle, Dane, Bernbach. In fact it was due to them that I even went into the problem solving industry in the first place. I longed for a Pencil or a Cannes Lion on my shelf, to have them thrown on the side in a disdainful showing of just how brilliant I was.
However, that never came about and you may think this blog is written from a perspective of a sour old creative who never won the admiration of his peers. Hmmm now I think of it that may be right. I do though think my argument has substance though.
My issue with creative awards is that, in my mind, being creative isn't our primary job. Our job is to sell stuff. Lots of stuff, cheap stuff, expensive stuff, stuff to kids or adults, stuff for the house, stuff for holidays or the car, stuff. Whichever way you look at it our job is to be paid £1 and try and turn it into £10 for our clients. It isn't to take £1 and go and be creative and try and win an award.
The entire advertising and marketing industry is supposed to be based around the understanding of what makes people buy. Of course there are some creative campaigns that manage to stand out AND generate huge sales for the brand. However if you consider the amount of advertising and marketing we are bombarded with on a daily basis these campaigns really are very few and far between.
Therefore in my mind every campaign that is entered for an award should have also passed a ‘won-shed-loads-of-business-for-the-client’s’ test BEFORE it is even considered for an award. Only once it has passed that test should you decide which one has won the business with the most creative execution.
In fact, shouldn't the whole premise of awards be about which campaign spent the least and made the most sales for a client? Why bring creativity into it at all? This way maybe a really bland, ordinary campaign would be credited and applauded for doing exactly what it was meant to do. Win business.
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