A very personal view

Ad Awards are not rewards.

In fact, in my not-so-humble opinion, Advertising Awards are a waste of time.

It’s a long-running ‘agree to disagree’ argument I’ve had with colleagues throughout my career. I respect their views – I really do – but with every year that passes my opinion hardens more.

You see, the first mistake people make about Ad Awards is to believe it’s a fair competition. You usually have to nominate yourself, pay to enter, and then pay some more if you want to attend the ceremony. It’s a business – and in my experience the more seats you pay for, the more ‘worthwhile’ you’re assured it will be… I’m just saying.

Then there are the ‘nailed on’ ad categories you should enter to make winning a doddle. The scene in ‘Extras’ where Kate Winslet explains how to win an Oscar kinda says it all.

In radio, a traumatic Road Safety campaign - or anything about charity - is much more likely to win than a complex PCP finance ad for a delivery mileage Peugeot. They might sound better, but do they work better?

Oh, and if you’re still in the camp that believes creating adverts is ‘important’ work, I’m sorry – it’s not. Only a fool would suggest that good ads don’t have an effect on people – and often move them. But you’re not an eye surgeon, or even driving a bus full of school children – and I don’t see those guys queuing up to award each other for doing a job they’re employed to do. Awards don’t make you special mate.

But the greatest fallacy of all is that ‘Ad Awards are good for business’. No, the thing that’s best for business is what the clients need – increased sales, and market penetration. You can have a cabinet full of awards, but the old adage ‘you can’t polish a turd’ is as true today as it’s ever been. I’d rather have creatives who can spot the turds and go around them, than those who believe they can shine any old faeces and get an award for it.

If we write ads that are good for business, and the business comes back for more, and we grow, and we prosper, and we expand to work for bigger and better clients, and we attract more writers and clients who see this and want to be part of what we do – why do we need awards?

Paul Carter