How to win awards (and why ad agencies are backslapping knob jockeys)

PR agencies need to get better at making awards videos if they want to beat creative agencies in the public relations category of the Cannes Lions – and adland is the home of awards-obsessed, “backslapping knob-jockeys”, the Mumbrella Question Time panel heard.  

Asked for advice onhow to win awards, Mango PR’s Simone Drewry, who was Australia’s representative on the public relations jury of the Cannes Lions, said that ad agencies had a “vested interest” winning awards, and that included the  P category. She said: “80% of the entries were from ad agencies and not PR agencies.”

She added: “If we want to be taken seriously by CMOs then we have to work in their space. Our creative agency friends are very good at making videos. We need to learn to make good videos, PR agencies.”

Andy Ridley, director of Earth Hour said that when he had worked in other organisations, agencies were sometimes more interested in creating work to win awards than to genuinely help the cause. he said: “We used to have a lot of agencies who would do campaigns that were really about a one-off to win an award. It drives me insane. It’s no value to an organisation if there’s one billboard that might win an award but does bugger all for your campaign.”

And Stuart Gregor, founder of specialist PR agency Liquid Ideas said: “I think advertisng agencies are the biggest backslapping pack of knob jockeys of all time. Their obsession with awards is breath taking.”

James Greet, CEO of Mindshare said that the value of winning awards is that it shows an ability to do good work. He said: “If you do have the ability to be shortlisted and win stuff, it means you’re doing good work.”


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