The MSiX Awards: Why agencies and academics need to work together to embrace science and creativity

PONTES_Nicolas-mumbrellaNicolas Pontes, lecturer in advertising at QUT Business School, explains why it’s high time for the MSiX marketing science awards.

It is time for agencies to embrace science and for universities to embrace real world applications. Granted, some already do. But not only that, it is time to encourage conversations between agencies and academics so that great work that bridges the gap between science and practice is not only recognised, but used to advance our field.

Advertising is a fast changing industry that has been significantly impacted by the development of new technologies and the fragmentation of media.

Because of data availability, it is possible to better understand human behaviour and, in turn, design better targeted messages. However, the one thing that has not changed – and perhaps will not change – is that advertising is about creating messages that resonate with the intended audience.

There was a time when creative advertising was considered to be an art, and crafting an idea was restricted to those with great inspiration. In the advertising and marketing fields, science has been a daunting word. We have preferred to call ours a creative and applied discipline rather than a scientific field. But if we dig further and think about it, great works of art, such as Da Vinci’s many works, the Pyramids, and Mozart’s symphonies, all have solid scientific foundations.

I do not know how many times in my professional life – first as a consultant, then as an academic – I have heard the saying “Theory is one thing; the practice is totally different.” Funnily enough, when you ask someone why apples fall from trees, they will say it is because of gravity’s law.

What people often do not realise is that behind all of the things we can make sense of – what some would call common sense – is actually a body of research or science. In fact, scientific research exists not only to challenge current beliefs and advance knowledge, but also to make sense of the world we live in, trying to explain phenomena.

We behavioural scientists pride ourselves on novel discoveries and the development of new theories that try to explain human ‘irrational’ behaviour observed in the real world. However, despite the fact that scientific discoveries are based on empirical findings, their use is often limited because of the existing gap between academia and industry.

In light of all this, the MSiX Awards is a great initiative that should be embraced by the industry, as well as by academic researchers. It is very exciting to think about where the industry is heading.

The Awards not only create great opportunities for collaboration between universities, research centres, and agencies, but perhaps more importantly, it helps us advance knowledge while creating real world impact.

The Awards are of great relevance to clients because of the standard being set for the industry. Agencies will be able to show not only that they are up-to-date with best practice, but also with cutting edge knowledge that can lead to important competitive advantage for their clients.

Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) support of the MSiX Awards sends an important message to applicants that in order to be awarded, the presented work will have to convince both advertising experts and behavioural scientists.

It’s time to bridge the gap between industry and academia.

Entries have been extended to this Friday, 17 July for the inaugural MSiX Awards. To find out more and to enter, visit msix.com.au/awards



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