CMOs’ ‘massive egos’ drive agency awards focus says Red Agency boss

James Wright


The Australian head of public relations agency Red Agency has told a public relations forum that the “massive egos” of some clients were a major driver behind the ad industry’s lust for awards.

Speaking at the same Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW event on Monday night in Sydney Edelman Australia boss Michelle Hutton called on the body to “evolve” their Golden Target Awards to incorporate more “inspiration” like the Cannes Lions

Asked about what drives agencies to enter awards Wright said: “CMOs’ egos are massive. They want it on their CV, they are probably thinking about where their next move is and they want to have a Cannes Lion to be able to go to the next business they want to go to.”

Wright, who in addition to running Red Agency also heads up the Havas Worldwide office in Melbourne, was on a panel with Hutton, Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes chaired by The Conscience Organisation’s Jon Holloway for an event entitled: “PR in Cannes 2014“.

Hutton also spoke about the awards issue and noted that clients, together with rankings like The Gunn Report, were a major driver of awards fever.

“Why should we care about Cannes?” Hutton asked. “Because your marketing client cares. That’s why we have to care.

“I’m sure all of us would agree that for PR professionals to play in the marketing space, to get access to the marketing budgets, to do the type of work we want to do – we have to show up differently.

“As an industry we have to get better at it. Unless we can go head to head at a CMO and convince that CMO that we should not only be at the table with the creative agency, media agency, digital agency etc. we need to be able to very clearly and succinctly say what is the insight and the idea.”

Wright whose PR agency has been recognised in a number of domestic and international awards including at Cannes last year said the PR industry was being left behind by its creative agency rivals, even in the PR category.

“This is the seventh year PR has existed and we are still getting our heads around it,” he said. “The creative agencies have had 61 years. We are getting better, we will get better but… you have to actually enter if you want to have a go and learn from how they shape and craft their entries.

“You have the likes of One Green Bean and those guys who are taking the advertising model and ripping it through PR. The PR industry needs to think more about the big creative idea and trying to step on their toes.”

Hutton also urged the domestic PR industry to look at the Golden Target awards in Australia and where the focus is more than just the awards.

“(Cannes) is not just about the awards. It is about being there and being part of the celebration and getting inspired and I think that’s the potential opportunity for the Golden Target Awards in Australia.

“What can we learn from that? How can we broaden it? Yes as creative folk winning metal is important but also learning from other people’s work and just getting inspired, new ideas that is my challenge to PRIA to evolve the Golden Target awards. Maybe its more than just an awards night.”

Nic Christensen  


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