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Archive for the category “Awards”

Cannes. Specialist Agencies Lose Out.

A debate is raging in the direct marketing, promo and media agencies around the world about how so many of the awards in their categories have gone to mainline agencies? The Grand Prix in all three categories were won by mainline agencies. JWT Mumbai winning in direct, BBDO New York winning the promotion grand prix and Sweden’s Forsman & Bodenfors taking home the top media prize with their MMS campaign for AMF Pensions.

A look at the gold winners in direct and things don’t change too much. Couple of golds for Lowe Bangkok and one each for JWT’s London and Costa Rican offices. The only “non mainline” agencies to have won golds are new-age integrated agencies, BMF Sydney, MortierBrigade from Brussels and The Communications Agency from London. Same is the case in promo and media. No “traditional” media agency won a gold in media. The winners in promotions too were no different.

The only two categories where specialists were able to hold forth were design and cyber. Even in design six of the 11 gold winners were mainline agencies.

Somehow the story of specialist agencies losing out is not restricted to Cannes alone. Faris Yakob, writing in Campaign UK laments the inability of true media agencies to win media awards at Clio where he was on the jury.

Faris has a point. And he feels the problem is not with the specialist agencies as much as it is with award shows and the entry process. He thinks that the entry is almost as important as the idea itself. “Since most of the campaigns are from other countries, as a judge you may have never encountered the work, you have no idea how it resonated locally, whether people loved it and talked about, or simply ignored it.”

The other thing, he feels that works against specialist agencies is that the entry is all you have to go on – a short form video advert for an agency. And traditional advertising agencies have quite a lot of experience making short form video adverts, whereas media agencies don’t.

Writing for Adweek Janet Evans Barker, one of the judges on the Cannes Direct Jury echoes what many people in specialist agencies think. “The reality is that some direct marketers and even some sales promo folks feel that Cannes is the bastion of general agencies. Some commented that the Direct Lions aren’t really about direct marketing at all, but about cool creative ideas masquerading as direct marketing in an attempt to win an award.” While she doesn’t fully agree with this view, she believes that while there is a hell of a lot of innovative direct work being done by (DM) agencies —that truly IS direct— it simply isn’t being submitted. Maybe there is a some truth in there. We searched for “Cannes” in Direct Magazine and there were some old bits but nothing about the 2008 festival and winners. DMA only does a little better.

So here is what we think. Specialists agencies have to think differently when it comes to winning at Cannes and Clio Awards. Explaining entries using a good video is critical if we have to top contenders in broad based award shows. Sure we can be happy with our Echos and Caples. But just as traditional agencies are crossing borders and walking away with accolades that are reserved for direct marketing, DM agencies need to learn the tricks of packaging their truly brilliant ideas as well as some of the mainline agencies do.

Changing Cannes

Craig Davis has posted this story from Creative Review magazine. On how the 2007 edition of the award show could be the tipping point when Titanium over threw the Film GrandPrix as the most coveted prize at the festival. ‘Titanium’, the article says ‘stands for breakthrough ideas. It’s an award for work that’s provocative and points to a new direction. It’s for work that stops the industry in its tracks and reconsider the way forward.’ The story goes on to discuss the winners and shortlists in the Titanium category. CPB’s work for Burger King, where they produced games for XBOX. Droga5’s work on the Tap Project, Leo Brunett Sydney’s work for the Earth Hour, RGAs Nike+, Fallon London’s Tate Tracks, Nike’s Joga Bonito world cup work and Clemenger BBDO’s work for World Press Photo all get a mention in this story. The competition for Titanium is not as intense as it is in the film category. There were some 5000 entries this year in the film category, only 350 for Titanium. Juan Cabral of Fallon and the man behind Tate Tracks and the new Cadbury Gorilla film has the last word. “The important thing is to leave people with something, a feeling, a bit of content and let them be part of it. As long as it is a gift rather then an intrusion, I think it is OK.”

Breaking the Award Show Silos

Much has been written about the film Grand Prix that Dove Evolution won at Cannes this year. How the film jury had to do some clever, and perhaps unfair, manipulation to make the film a contender for the grand prize. Jonah Bloom who was covering the festival for AdAge feels that advertising award shows are beginning to show their age, at a time when the best work is driven around customer-driven ideas. If you’re judging a successful and innovative loyalty program with data capture, data analysis, point-of-sale promotion, direct mail, in-store radio, web production, online advertising, outdoor and experiential components, where does that sit, he asks. Nike Plus, he believes, epitomizes the increasing convergence of ideas and utility. It all started with a great product that made Nike a content player, a media owner operating the biggest running club in the world via a social network. There are no easy answers to Jonah’s questions. In fact it could mean financial suicide for private shows like Cannes where if the number of categories were to be reduced to awarding the best ideas without slotting them into media driven silos. Rather than have a film centric view, (log on to the Cannes Lions site just now and you’ll find Evolution loading in the opening frame) and award the best idea on show.

Nedbank Empowers

At a time when brands are looking for ways to make their advertising work harder for them, comes this wonderful little idea. NedBank and Network Advertising are giving underprivileged children in South Africa a hot meal everyday. A billboard outside the MC Weiler School advertising the Bank’s charitable activity, is fitted with a couple of solar panels that generate enough electricity to run all the lights and fridges, and provides hot water for their kitchens. The 1000 odd children enjoy a hearty lunch – probably their only meal of the day – everyday, thanks to this wonderful innovation. The idea has been rewarding to the bank and the agency as well. It picked up a Bronze for Outdoor at last Sunday’s Clio Awards.

Award Designs

The IDSA Idea Awards for excellence in design and strategy are out. Covering everything from better floor carpet material to ergonomically designed chairs to unmanned helicopters for local transport, the 108 winners comprise some of the most cutting edge products and concepts till date. If you thought that we’ve already reached the highest levels of perfection in product design then watch out for safer wall sockets for the elderly, waterless laundry units and hydrogen propelled motorbikes.

The Webby Awards 2006

The Webby Awards 2006 have been announced. And there’s an unexpected people’s choice winner in the insurance category. The LIC site from India. Developed by Tribal DDB India.

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