Katherine Levy: Awards panels need less infighting and more perspectives
A view from Katherine Levy

Katherine Levy: Awards panels need less infighting and more perspectives

How do you judge media creativity?

It is a question that has become ever more pointed as our media landscape has developed and the creative possibilities that it affords have multiplied. Long gone are the days when media was the footnote to a campaign once the idea had been sold to the client - nowadays, the choice of media and the campaign journey are often a starting point for the big idea.

The more diverse media becomes and the more media challenges the status quo and is used cleverly to really move the needle for clients, the more time we as an industry spend sitting down each year at various awards deciding what has impressed us the most in the previous 12 months. As each year goes by, we have more to argue about. This can only be a good thing - it shows the stakes are higher and there are more four-leaf clovers to stoop for.

Recently, however, the necessary arguing process at awards events has received a bad rep. At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year, there were heavy accusations that block-voting had taken place in the media category. Such allegations are hard to substantiate but, in any case, it seems we are missing the wider point.

Because it seems painfully clear that it is absolutely ridiculous to draw a judging panel exclusively from rival networks to decide which of those networks deserve global recognition. As a result, either block-voting will take place or, equally ruinous, there will be accusations that block-voting took place. In truth, it doesn't really matter which occurs, because the inevitable result will be that some media ambassadors will leave Cannes with a sour taste in their mouths quite apart from that induced by the EUR50 tequila shots at the Carlton Terrace.

All this could be avoided if, as many media chiefs are suggesting, we ensure that, when it comes to judging the best work, we get a different perspective by asking media owners, trade bodies or even (whisper it) those people who truly know whether media creativity has paid dividends for their business - that is clients - to make that collective decision.

The only instance in which a narrow viewpoint is unavoidable is when it comes to internal awards. The WPPED Cream Awards celebrate the best work to have come out of WPP agencies each year and are a great way of inspiring healthy competition among its agencies.

Our own Campaign Media Awards is looming and, as usual, we will be asking a mix of media mavens both agency and non-agency side to take that precious responsibility of sifting out the best work of the past year where media made a real difference. The deadline is 23 August. We look forward to receiving your entries.