IPA awards to try out star system

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has radically revamped its Advertising Effectiveness Awards in response to accusations that they have become outdated and out of touch.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has radically

revamped its Advertising Effectiveness Awards in response to accusations

that they have become outdated and out of touch.



All the categories are being scrapped along with the gold, silver and

bronze awards, which will give way to a more flexible ’star’ system.



At the same time, a totally overhauled judging system will take into

account not only an award contender’s effect on sales and consumer

demand, but less easily measurable outcomes such as impact on staff

morale within the client company.



The shake-up is designed to quell disquiet about one of the industry’s

most prestigious competitions, which came to a head last year with the

award of the grand prix to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for its BT work.

Critics argued that advertising backed by such huge budgets was bound to

be effective.



Earlier this year, Winston Fletcher, a former IPA president, fuelled the

controversy in a speech to an IPA conference in which he claimed that

the awards - first staged in 1980 - perpetuated the myth that

advertising was a win-or-lose process, similar to gambling (Campaign, 21

March).



The IPA claims the changes, which will apply to next year’s competition,

will ensure wider interest and acceptance of the results, particularly

among clients, who are being urged to become more actively involved.



The aim is reflected in a judging system where a group of specialists

will filter all entries before passing potential winners to a panel of

senior clients. They will include not just marketing directors but

company chairmen and managing directors as well as personnel and finance

chiefs.



Marilyn Baxter, the chairman of the IPA Advertising Effectiveness

Committee, said: ’The awards should be a celebration of how valuable

advertising is as a business tool, not just a competition by which the

industry gives awards to a few planners.’



Entrants will be asked how they think a campaign’s effectiveness beyond

its effects on sales should be judged.



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