Advertising awards work an awful lot like brand reputation ads for agencies. In the best case, they draw attention to creative accomplishments, reinforcing and creating regard for an agency’s product. At worst, they fail to engage any sort of relevant target market and merely serve as an expensive exercise in self-congratulation. Of course, most fall somewhere in the muddled middle, much like most brand reputation advertising on television, garnering some attention but not nearly as much among the right kind of people as an agency might hope.
Over the past three weeks, Element 79 has enjoyed a very nice run among the major shows, winning an Interactive Silver Pencil from the One Show for our Tostitos web work, a Silver Addy for a Tiger Woods’ online game we developed for his Gatorade line, and a series of Silvers and Bronze awards at the New York Festivals as well, all for our digital work.
To us, this is a validation of sorts. Awards from more discriminating shows like these help drive home how we have worked digital convergence here at Element 79, moving beyond our reputation for television creative to demonstrate integrated creative thinking and execution across multiple platforms. We are very proud of that.
But the truth is, awards shows alone make for a woefully incomplete media buy when you want to influence hearts and minds within the industry. Advertising our agency demands a much more coordinated effort emphasizing digital and word of mouth. We need the right people to understand who we are and what we can do, and those people probably do not subscribe to awards show mailing lists. They do however, trust their friends’ opinions, notice interesting work as they surf the web or cable and read trade stories about new business wins. Those are channels we must work if we want to avoid becoming the proverbial cobbler who shoes the village yet lets his own children run barefoot. In a world as fragmented and distracted as ours, no advertiser can rely on any one specific medium to carry their message and incite interaction among their most valuable customers, not even ad agencies.
Not even ad agencies with a gleaming new shelfload of shiny new objects.