The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is not a byword for
daring. So it is to be commended for the ambition behind the radical
shake-up of the Advertising Effectiveness Awards.
The objective was to reach the wider business community. Or, as Graham
Hinton described it: ’We encouraged the industry to add new rooms to
(the treasure-house of learning) by inviting entries which looked at the
effect of our efforts not only on consumer demand but on the hearts and
minds of all a brand’s stakeholders.’
Jargon-free, that means advertising which addresses more than one target
simultaneously. So, not just consumers, but employees and the City
The old-style Effectiveness Awards, admirable as they were, failed to
convince the City unequivocally of the value of advertising. Hence the
new-style awards, lower on glitz and big on a worthy new star system for
campaigns, intentionally comparable to the Michelin Guide.
The idea is that the star-rating will be carried by the winner over the
course of a year. If all goes to plan, Volkswagen, Orange, Marmite,
First Direct, Drugs Education, Colgate and the Army will be the
five-star equivalents of la Tante Claire. If it doesn’t, the accolade
will be worth little more than a Blue Peter badge.
As ever, credibility relies on the judges, the winners and how they’re
reported. The IPA’s jury under Lord King was top class. The tie-up with
the Financial Times is to be commended. But the winners will never
satisfy everyone - it’s the nature of awards.
You can see the IPA’s intent via the new Charles Channon prize for best
new learning, which went to WCRS for its demonstration of advertising’s
effect on the Orange share price. It’s a worthy aim but one open to many
questions I haven’t space to raise here. What bothers me most is how
much the award appears to be for the way in which the paper was
The Grand Prix was a curious one given all the preamble about hitting
’multiple targets simultaneously’. Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters’ HEA
Drugs Education campaign is a reward for innovative creative work and a
genuine insight that young people are not pressurised into taking drugs
but choose to take them. So there’s no point hectoring them, better to
’educate with empathy’.
Perhaps it’s true that fewer people are starting to use drugs and that
the number giving up has doubled. But as a direct result of the
To use as ’evidence’ the #28 million being diverted from the black
economy, saving British industry #11 million per year in lost working
days, or the #3 million savings on drugs education and ’savings’ on the
long-term cost of treating people who ’might’ have had Ecstasy-related
depression smacks of the kind of statistical manipulation that causes
clients to doubt effectiveness results.
Amid such statistical gymnastics, the ISBA award for best new entrant
was refreshing. Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s One 2 One campaign produced a 150
per cent increase in the customer base and a ’brand fame’ that saw One 2
One pass into the language and the company taken seriously in its
Unequivocal effectiveness. It is possible. But we must shout about it.