Entering awards is good for morale and our industry
A view from Simeon Adams

Entering awards is good for morale and our industry

Goodstuff's creative partner discusses why the agency isn't cutting down on awards entries.

Rewind to April of this year and we were in a world of fear and uncertainty. We were in the growing grip of a global pandemic, industries were stumbling, ad revenues were falling off a cliff, jobs were at risk and the physical and financial health of a nation (of all nations) was in jeopardy.

A looming Media Week Awards deadline seemed like pretty much the least important and relevant thing imaginable.

As with many organisations, about many things, we had to stop, take a step back and make some quick but difficult decisions.

Andrew Stephens [Goodstuff's chief executive] wrote about some of the tough, but necessary steps we took to protect jobs and the future of Goodstuff.

But surely the cost of entering awards is the most discretionary of discretionary costs? The easiest, possibly even the first, thing to cut..?

We decided that shouldn't be the case.

Clearly, as an agency, we are big believers in awards. Yes, it means industry recognition for our work, but they are also good discipline.

Being mindful of award submissions actually focuses the mind throughout our working process. If the insight, strategy, idea or execution isn't brave, potent or inventive enough to be effective and "award-worthy" – or clear enough to be simply expressed – is it good enough?

Additionally, the work we see showcased at the Media Week Awards and beyond is an ever-evolving gold standard of our industry product and should be used as a clarion call for the media business as much as for individual agency or media owner brands.

If ever there was a time for our work to speak for the importance and value of what we do, it is now, in 2020 – what Her Maj will surely describe as the most horribilis of annuses.

More personally, as many Goodstuffers volunteered to take furlough leave, reduce hours and freeze or reduce pay to ensure the future of the agency, we felt ignoring the excellent work they had done over the previous year would be doing them a huge disservice, as well as the clients and campaigns themselves.

It's an understandable and easy cost saving when businesses are feeling so much financial strain, but (we felt) a false economy when so much has already gone into the work (and many submissions were already in draft form). But also, it's a comparatively small cost saving in relation to the potential for pride in and recognition of the great work and value we produce, at a time when individuals and the industry need it most.

Thankfully, Haymarket has been very understanding and decent about the financial pressures and difficulty in getting award papers submitted during lockdown, so did what it could with deadlines and discounts.

Equally, hats off to the large number of media owners and agencies that continued to submit their best work where they, or their clients, could afford.

So, we'll have another hotly contested Media Week Awards in 2020, as seems a lot more relevant and fitting now than it did back in April.

Until then, we'll crow about being the joint second-most shortlisted agency (with MGOMD and behind OMD in first place – not bad for an agency with a tenth of their combined billings) and, regardless of the results, will bask in a blaze of pride and the glory, having had the inventiveness and effectiveness of our work recognised by our peers.

Simeon Adams is creative partner at Goodstuff