The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If Effectiveness Is In The Eye Of The Submission Writer, Fairness Is In The Eye Of The Award Entry Organiser …
May 21, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m in Singapore today judging the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards.

Over the past few weeks – through the preliminary judging – it’s been really interesting to see what some people think qualifies as ‘effective’.

Some seem to think it’s about views.

Some seem to think it’s about likes.

Some seem to think it’s about free PR coverage.

Some seem to think the client had nothing to do with the result.

[And don’t get me started on those who achieve effectiveness by fine-tuning the category convention, rather than taking the category to a new place. I know it still counts, but for me, it’s less about long term change and more about short-term maximisation. Nothing wrong with that, I just think we should – and can – achieve much, much more]

Of course not every entry was like this, there were some amazing case studies … well written and undeniably demonstrating the role communication had on the sales result for the client … but the fact there are still people who think effectiveness is measured on popularity rather than quantifiable, commercially valuable results, scares the crap out of me and makes me wonder who the hell is teaching them that viewpoint.

But there is another thing that I think all award shows need to start thinking about.

I know English is the language of business, but for many agencies across Asia, that is not necessarily true – so to expect people to write entries in a language that is not their own, immediately puts them at a disadvantage.

Yes, I know the results should speak for themselves, but we all know that’s not strictly true – the way submissions are written goes a huge way towards informing [or manipulating] the judges opinion.

I don’t really know how we can change this to result in a genuinely level playing field, regardless of which nation the agency comes from, which is why any agency who wins an AME and doesn’t come from an English speaking language deserves extra praise and accolade for their efforts and successes.

And to then I’ll be clapping the loudest and the longest.

33 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The award is for effectiveness not post-rationalised wriitng. Give 90% of the grade for the former and 10% for the latter. Problem solved.

Comment by John

You’re right John. But the clarity a paper demonstrates the campaigns effect is often down to the effectiveness of the writing, which is much harder for people writing in another language to their own.

Comment by Pete

Effectiveness is sales figures and a degree of causality. Judges should be able to see that and ignore the long copy – just like everybody else does.

Comment by John

They should. I don’t know whether this is the case with Rob’s award show, but many of these program’s are a licence to print money so they pack in the entries and then expect judges to go through 200+ submissions in a few days. To do this properly should take weeks so clarity of the paper has a huge advantage over the others. That’s my experience anyway but it’s been a long time since I judged anything.

Comment by Pete

awards give money to the organisers, cheap shiny medal shit to the client, ego to the agency, pretend cred to the industry and a new job for the creator. win, win fucking win.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d add that judges should have access to the client’s data if possible to actually discern if the causality is right. Otherwise we’d fall into a essay’s competition rather than a effectiveness competition.

Comment by Miguel

That’s a good point Pete … there are an awful lot of entries to judge and not an awful lot of time to do it. So yes, clarity does go a long way … especially when some agencies think drowning you in meaningless data will confuse you into giving them an award by sheer nature of quantity.

Someone needs to teach them the old adage of ‘quality not quantity’ still rings true.

Comment by Rob

And why do you need an award anyway? If the work is truly effective, you get the award of new business. If not, you don’t.

Comment by John

Credibility and ego.

Comment by Pete

Well done for writing this Rob. You are right, any effectiveness award that transcends one market has inherent disadvantages to anyone who does not natively speak or write English. There are other factors that also inhibit their submission, especially if in competition with work from developed markets, so you are right to give extra credit to those agencies who do well despite these disadvantages.

Comment by Pete

blah blah blah fucking blah. its a fucking advertising award. advertising. ill go so i can let that concept sink in for a fucking minute.

Comment by andy@cynic

+ like

Comment by DH

I think so. It might not be cool to say that and some of the work might not be as progressive as some in more established markets [which doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means it’s progressive in context of where their individual market currently sits] but it’s still worthy of praise.

Even more so when you realise they’ve managed to convey that argument in a language that is not the spoken word of their home nation.

Comment by Rob

That sounds like the place to be.

For accountants.

Comment by Billy Whizz

boring judging for boring shit is on brand for singapore.

Comment by andy@cynic

Advertising effectiveness occurs when a clients business increases at a rate that is disproportionate to market and competitor activity or reduces its decline at a rate that is disproportionate from market and competitor activity. If we are to be pure, it should also be isolated against factors including client distribution, price and innovation. Anything else is just good writing.

Comment by George

What I am attempting to say is the effectiveness on the clients business should be obvious but to demonstrate advertising disproportionately impacted it is difficult. Which is why I agree with Robert’s view that it is harder for people in agencies from none English speaking backgrounds to write a compelling case for their work.

Comment by George

how the fuck you were able to produce 3 fucking beautiful kids is beyond me. forget that. how the fuck you managed to pull a hot wife is beyond me. you didnt even have cash when you met. she must love charity cases.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

Yes George. And this is exactly why you’re not asked to judge anything anymore. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

I always thought it was because he had such a crap personality. But then they ask Rob to judge….

Comment by DH

why don’t award shows pick a category, set a budget, time/deadline (comparable for a start up, two months from idea to first users) and let agencies crack that category, from idea to execution (and for ease of logistics, they can focus on software, though having a successful kickstarter campaign could be part of the intermediate judging and confirm market etc etc). That way effectiveness can be measured and a lot of excuses are off the table (client, budget etc).. And all of a sudden scam has a bit of value.. be a nice type of award for effectiveness..

Comment by niko

Welcome back Niko. You have been missed. I trust all is well.

Comment by George

where the fuck have you been? i hope it was somewhere interesting like a bolivian prison or its just fucking boring.

Comment by andy@cynic

I like that idea but the problem would be – I would imagine – that it’s the dynamics of the real life market that give credibility to the result and to businesses judgement of what the ad industry can do.

Though given many in the corporate world look at adland with distain, maybe it’s time we accept we need to look at additional ways to prove our worth.

I’ve always said creating our own consumer brands/products would do it … putting money where our mouth is … but maybe this would be a bridge to that.

And it’s good to have you commenting again. Hope all is tops matey.

Comment by Rob

Given Rob blags all his stuff for free, is he the best person to judge an effectiveness award. Or he could be the best judge ever to judge an effectiveness award now I come to think of it.

Comment by DH

You know I’m classing this as another holiday Rob. 10k. Pay up.

Comment by DH

It’s work. For the industry. Oh yes. Definitely.

Comment by Rob

A lot of comments, and nearly all on subject, what on earth is going on???

Comment by Rob

My first comment saved the day. Or ruined it. Depends on your perspective really.

Comment by John

Just realised that true purpose of all awards is to keep the judges out of circulation for as long as possible.

Comment by John

[…] [Like this or this] […]

Pingback by Since When Has 12 Gone Into 54? | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

[…] here. And here. And here. And […]

Pingback by Best Of The Best Or The Least Bad? | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: