Saturday, April 7, 2007

What's with the Addys?

We’ve won multiple awards in the DC Addy Show before; I think 12 was the most -- eight of them Addys. We don’t rake ‘em in like some agencies to, but we more than hold our own.

This year we won one Addy and nine Certificates of Merit (I think they call them Silver Addys now).

I’ll rephrase that.

This year we were honored for exactly two good ideas. That’s because the nine certificates were all for various elements of the same campaign. The one you see below. We won for a transit campaign for the bus shelters, for a newspaper campaign for the newspaper ads and we won some single awards for individual executions too. Oh, and in those campaign categories? Because there were, like, 15 pieces in the campaign and the Addy rules define a “campaign” as 3-5 pieces, we split them up and entered essentially the same damn stuff certainly the same damn concept in the same category three times. And that’s what is just wrong.

We weren’t the only ones. An agency owned by a friend of mine won 11 Addy Awards and a few more Certificates for a three-ad campaign created for a theater group. Singles won multiple awards and the three of them won as campaigns. Just as it was in our case, what was a print ad was also a poster, hence, another award for the same work.

Don't blame the judges. The know good work when they see it. You can't expect them to ignore creative quality. And don't blame anybody who sees a category for an award and goes for it. But what has happened is that the Ad Club’s (it’s actually probably the AAF that mandates so many categories) need/desire to make money has collided in my opinion with what I think is a need to establish creative credibility and value to an awards show. I mean, exactly how excited should anyody be for winning a slew of awards for the same work over and over because the media plan was ambitious? Not very.

What should be rewarded is the idea. Not the number of places it runs. If I won six awards in a show where a single piece could only be entered twice once as a single and once as part of a campaign I’d feel much better than if I wrote three or four ads that we were able to enter twenty-‘leven times.

The value just isn’t there.

The AAF/Ad Club ought to step up for great advertising over profit.

That’s just what I think. But I will certainly scatter those awards around our office where people can see them. So call me a name if you want.

Woody Hinkle


Anonymous said...

If it weren't for multiple category entries, The One Show would be about as thick as Parade Magazine.

Actually, that WIT Campaign was only entered in The Arts category. It's just that there are 9 media categories within that. Plus Elements of Advertising...

Woody Hinkle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woody Hinkle said...

Much as we'd prefer that people actually sign comments, your point is taken on the number of categories. But you made my case for me. It was still just three pieces of work for WIP. In our case, one campaign.

As far as the One Show -- or any other show – goes, is the point of the exercise to have the same creative win in multiple categories and publish a thick show book? I think it ought to be to recognize great work, not expansive media plans.

But that’s just me.

Monque said...

This has been a perennial problem across award competitions, not just ADDYs. (and yes, the rules/categories do come from the national "parent" organization, the AAF)

As one who chaired this event for two years running, I have a sense for what it's like to have agencies enter the same concept or campaign into 15 categories. And having been at judging for two years as well, trust me when I tell you that the judges get tired and sometimes even exasperated at seeing the same creative over and over again. They have said, "doesn't this agency have more than one idea?" (they don't know until after judging which agencies submit what work).

And what's more, those judges don't always think the same idea works across every medium or category. I've seen them get very excited about a campaign that worked beautifully in print but fell apart in transit media (or whatever). And they dole out their scoring accordingly.

So how do we fix this issue? I know it's just as exhausting for every agency to see the same work over and over again. We're all ears over here at the Ad Club for a good solution :-)

PS Many congrats on your awards!