PERSPECTIVE: Awards recognise creative talents of the direct industry

Some journalists risk shrapnel and exploding bombs in the course of duty, so when someone asked me recently to name the most dangerous thing I’d experienced while working on Campaign, I had to think long and hard.

Some journalists risk shrapnel and exploding bombs in the course of

duty, so when someone asked me recently to name the most dangerous thing

I’d experienced while working on Campaign, I had to think long and

hard.



Well, witnessing Nigel Rose close-questioning Trevor Beattie - after a

drink or ten at the D&AD awards - about the parentage of the Wonderbra

work was thrilling stuff. And phoning up Kevin Morley back in 1994 to

ask why a former KMM employee’s fiance had burst into the room and

launched an attack on Morley during the Big Man’s pitch for the Iceland

business certainly set my pulse racing.



However, what really stands out is a dinner Campaign held this summer

with ten or so creative directors from direct marketing agencies. Aware

that Campaign’s interest in DM until recently was perfunctory, to say

the least, we expected a barrage of criticism.



But we wanted to find out whether the handful of big-wig DM agency

creatives who had approached us about Campaign launching its own set of

DM awards with a bias towards creative ideas spoke for more than

themselves.



For the last thing we all need is another set of awards, right? And, has

not Campaign said so? Haven’t we criticised award schemes like D&AD for

appearing to divert the industry away from its focus on commercial

realities towards that salary-enhancing walk to the podium?



But DM agencies genuinely want a set of awards they can point to as a

measure of both creative and business success. Awards that won’t be

dismissed as being so inconsequential that they can be ignored. Awards

that complement the DMA/Royal Mail Awards without attempting to take

them over. Awards that, let’s face it, could replace some of the tacky

and unrepresentative schemes that exist for below-the-line agencies.



Our response is the Campaign Direct Awards (see pages 1 and 8), an

attempt to reflect direct marketing’s coming of age and the best

standards of creativity it can offer. They are focused on inspiring and

rewarding great direct ideas - hence the strapline, ’Where creative

ideas count’ - and require a client sign-off and a 200-word contextual

explanation. The assumption is that if a client has signed off the

entry, he or she is endorsing its effectiveness - so there’s no need for

masses of back-up evidence.



If the Campaign Direct Awards succeed in inspiring, rewarding and

promoting excellent direct ideas, then they really will address the

years of mistrust and misunderstanding that have existed between

above- and below-the-line agencies who continue to compartmentalise

themselves while sometimes forgetting that the success of any one

component in a campaign is dependent on the efficiency of the others.



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