The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is poised to make
changes to its Effectiveness Awards after criticisms that they have
passed their sell-by date and may need relaunching.
The IPA claimed that proposals for updating were already on the agenda
of the awards committee, chaired by Marilyn Baxter, the Saatchi and
Saatchi vice-chairman, before this week’s attack by Winston Fletcher,
Bozell Europe’s chairman.
Fletcher delivered his broadside at the IPA’s ’It pays to advertise’
conference. He suggested award winners should receive Michelin-type
stars and be judged on whether the campaigns generated profits rather
than just sales results.
At present, only 6 per cent of all effectiveness awards’ entries
mentioned profitability in their analysis of results, he said.
But Nick Phillips, the IPA’s director-general, said after the
conference: ’Winston is pushing at a half-open door.’
Fletcher insisted changes to the awards were necessary because nobody
with any sense believed advertising did not work.
He told the conference: ’I believe they inadvertently give a misleading
impression of how ads work.’
Fletcher, a former IPA president, said the awards, in their present
form, perpetuated the myth that advertising was a win-or-lose process,
similar to gambling.
Fletcher claimed that the awards had become a throwback to the time when
a lot of sceptics still believed advertising was a waste of money.
Phillips said he was in broad agreement with what Fletcher had said.
’To think of just one winner demeans what the awards are about,’ he
’Either a campaign gets an award, or it doesn’t,’ he added. ’In other
words, either the campaign has worked or it hasn’t worked. But
advertising isn’t a two-result, win-or-lose process. It’s a graduated
process, a spectrum process in which the outcome is rarely black or
Today, nobody questioned if advertising generated results but whether it
was profitable and how long it would take to pay off.