The reasons why entering industry awards isn’t actually about the winning

We’ve all known creative agencies who don’t bother entering industry awards because it’s ‘not their thing’. And we get it. Firstly, there’s the cost involved and then on top of that you’ve got no idea what’s going to float the judges’ boats. It can feel like a lottery sometimes.

But despite those reservations, we think awards are worth it. As the old adage goes – it’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part. Don’t believe us? Read on.

It’s a celebration of all the great work you’ve done

When you’re super busy at work, it can sometimes be easy to forget to stop and take stock of everything you’ve achieved over the last year. So, while putting together award submissions is time-consuming, it does give you valuable time to reflect.

And then of course, there is the award ceremony itself – a great opportunity for everyone in the company to decompress, have a bit of fun and celebrate all the great work you’ve produced over the last year. Spending this time as a team, away from the office environment and celebrating together, can do wonders for morale.

And if you win, well that’s a Brucie bonus! 

Gives you opportunity to have a great day out with your clients

The other criticism often levied at  award ceremonies is they are just an excuse for everyone to drink too much. And you know what, that’s part of their beauty!

Industry awards allow you to have a day out with your clients in a semi-business setting but with no expectations to talk in-depth about work or your next campaign strategy. You are there to celebrate all the great work you’ve worked on together, enjoy the occasion, and yes, possibly have a drink too many!

In fact, it’s often our clients who ask for their campaigns to be entered, which is fine by us. Our job isn’t just to produce great creative, but also to make our clients look good, so, if their campaign is a finalist, highly commended or even a winner, it’s a win-win for us all. And there is nothing better than seeing a delighted client up on stage receiving an award. We’ll drink to that! 

Spurs you on to greater creativity

“How could they have won with that work?”. Whether we’re talking about the Cannes Lions Festival or the VMAs we’ve all been guilty of thinking that about at least one of the winners; and let’s be honest, without a bit of healthy competition (and the grumbling that goes with it) awards just wouldn’t be worthwhile!

But even if you don’t like a winning entry, it does help get the creative juices flowing. After all, awards are subjective, so it’s always useful to see what does and doesn’t resonate with a judging panel. We can’t help feeling that our ACT Against Lungworm campaign – Open your eyes was a bit too hard-hitting to be chosen as the winner for the Consumer Media Advertising Award at the VMAs – especially when you compare it to the winning entry However, it does give us a good insight into what struck a chord with the judges, knowledge that’s useful for future award submissions.

Not that this knowledge is going to stop us producing creative that pushes boundaries. Ultimately, we work to produce effective campaigns for our clients, not to win awards, but awards are useful in giving you the opportunity to see what other agencies are doing and to take the temperature of the industry as a whole. Our ACT Against Lungworm campaign was controversial, but it also achieved the most outstanding results for a Lungworm campaign that Elanco have ever had – and that is ultimately why we do what we do.

It’s great PR

Okay, we admit it. We just loved the fact that at this year’s VMAs, we were finalists in more or less all of the categories, which meant our name got read out a lot of times!

Not only did this confirm to our clients that we are up there with the best, but it also raised our profile across the industry as a whole. And, of course the 6 highly commended awards and the win (in the Farm Media Advertising Award, a first for us in that category!) didn’t hurt either.

So, for all you award doubters out there, don’t go to industry awards to win, but rather to celebrate your successes with your team and clients, raise your profile and yes, have a few drinks too many. You deserve it.