CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE; Winning is not the issue, aiming high is more important

Stefano Hatfield

Stefano Hatfield

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, I do know the winners of the

Coca-Cola Cup, and I don’t know whether Emma Thompson or Anthony Hopkins

have landed Oscars. But I also know that I spent much of Sunday evening

enjoying a lively philosophical debate with some inebriated Brummie

Trevor Beattie impersonators (‘It’s weird - why are Villa playing in

white?’ ‘They’re not.’ ‘Oh! It’s weird that!’) debating who should and

should not have won. The Oscars, I grant you, may provide more room for

discussion on the matter of merit, but the one sure thing is that there

will be debate, because where there are winners there are losers.

That’s surely why people enter competitions and awards. With the rider

that some involve direct winner-takes-all confrontations and others are

judged by

juries, surely the purpose of them is to reward achievement and in so

doing inspire others to scale those same heights the following year.

Perhaps in any given year Aston Villa are less worthy winners than

Liverpool or Braveheart less worthy than the Godfather, but does that

make them unworthy of their rewards? Does that mean their achievement is

any less worth aspiring to?

Of course not. And I’m sure, just to bring us back to the more mundane

world of advertising, debate will rage about whether Pentax and Levi’s

are worthy winners of this week’s Campaign Press Awards. And that’s just

as it should be: did they deserve to win over Adidas and Ikea? At the

very least, I hope that these awards have got away from all the cliquey

rubbish that has so plagued advertising gong-fests, particularly Cannes

and D&AD, over the years. Alfredo Marcantonio, our chairman, said he had

never sat on a more fair and

balanced jury, and that the judging procedure was equally faultless,

with the judges wandering around punching scores on Psion computers. The

jury was, he made clear, happy to give the silvers in every category,

and actually wanted to give more awards in the Campaign category.

Marcantonio was not happy with the ‘best use of online media’ category,

however. He did not want to give an award, and was not sure that it even

had a place in the Press Awards. It is a fair question that he was right

to raise. The standard was not up to that of the rest of the show.

However, I bet it is within two years, and I bet that it becomes among

the most prized award of all. Like it or not, online press advertising

is here to stay.

Of course, despite all this ‘fairness’, Bartle Bogle Hegarty has emeged

as the best overall agency for the umpteenth time at an awards bash.

Rewrite the preceding line inserting the words ‘because of’ in place of

‘despite’. BBH wins awards because it does bloody good work others

aspire to doing. That’s what awards are all about, aren’t they?