A short walk and a handshake.


What value are they to the agency, the client’s business or even the creatives who produce the work?

It’s an old debate, but one that is more relevant now than it has ever been.

Many agencies are now run by bean counters that are more concerned about the ROI than the quality of the work.

Creativity in advertising is rare and has become a commodity that is traded off for a harmonious agency/client relationship. Great ideas are being replaced with strategy babble that is designed to muddy the communication rather than make it clearer.

The vast majority of agencies don’t care about awards and actively discourage their creative departments from entering.

They can also cause financial problems for the agency, with awarded creatives being poached by other agencies for higher salaries or wanting greater remuneration from their current agency if they pick up too much precious metal.

Then there’s the high cost of entry.

Awards have become so expensive that only the large agencies can afford to enter work. Resulting in the same protagonists from the same agencies picking up the major gongs each year.

Awards are big business and they make a lot of money.

The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival was started on the back of the International Film Festival, also held at Cannes.

In 1954, the first year of the advertising festival, there were 187 film entries from 14 countries. In 2010 there were 24,000 entries with 8,000 delegates attending from 90 countries.

The festival has become such a money-spinner that in 2004 French businessman Roger Hatchuel sold it for £52 million.

One simple fact has been forgotten, and that’s why they were created in the first place.

To honour creativity and craft in advertising.

Why? Because the Creative Revolution of the 1960s recognised that ideas in advertising actually aided memorability and helped sales.

The ad industry worldwide is suffering a malaise, caused by the GFC, reduced profits and a failure to cope with new technology.

Pragmatism is replacing creativity.

Agencies would rather comatose their clients with jargon than confront them with a creative idea that might require a bit of extra work to sell it in.

Awards need to be put back into the hands of the industry and the costs of entry reduced.

We must then return to rewarding creativity, because, apart from anything else, it’s the commercially right thing to do.

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