Long live Advertising Awards

18 May,2022



By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaAs the trend goes, the agencies had stopped advertising their win at award events even before the pandemic. However, after Goafest 2022, one ad appeared in Brand Equity, in The Economic Times. And one started questioning the need for it. Why would someone advertise their win in print in the digital era? Not a tricky question, but the answers are vague. So, I did what I usually do, I reached out to my dear friend and a well-known brand and marketing consultant, Vermajee. I wanted an explanation for this anti-advertising posture of agencies? You win something good- so why not advertise?


As I poured Vermajee his glass of preferred Single malt, I could see he was deep in thought. Today, the mystery would be resolved.


Vermajee on award wins

Like any good consultant, Vermajee placed the case details for agreement.

Agencies enter awards to win. Entering awards is a costly ritual, and no agency enters awards to be counted as an also-ran. So, they enter their best work. A work they can be proud of and at least is internally considered award-worthy under peer group evaluation. In fact, the agency does not want anyone to know they entered the awards unless they make it to the finalist.

The participants hate shortlists, but then it works for the event organisers.

It all was making sense after two pegs.


Who advertises the award win?

There are only two possible outcomes: you win an award, or you don’t. The reaction and happiness on winning an award is a function of what metal the agency wins, the size of the business, who worked on the creative, if winning awards is a habit or if the award is a surprise.

It holds true for most awards other than the Cannes Advertising award. There every win is worth celebrating.

Vermajee explained the logic.

If one win is a bronze or a silver or two, it is not worth advertising. And that is true for small as well as big creative powerhouses. Anyway, the winners will brag on social media about the win. Friends would congratulate, and the client might add their social media support to the win.

On the other side, say one wins big. Like Grand Prix, the agency of the year type, it changes the perspective. It is a piece of huge news. It should naturally get covered by media partners and industry-specific media, including social media. Most likely, the people who matter would be following the event, and hence they would know. Seems logical.

However, the agency may want to amplify the win by advertising and making the unaware target group know of their big win. It will happen only if the win counts in the eyes of the CMOs. The creative awards are okay for this, but they are no proof of efficiency and effectiveness. And then it costs money to advertise.

Rather than advertising, doing personal communication to the few the agency wants to reach out and impress will be more effective.

But, if the awards have lost their sheen. Suppose they are no longer considered the epitome of excellence and have lost their importance and relevance as a business development tool. In that case, there is no need to consider advertising the win.


Vermajee seeks accountable award organisers

Vermajee was playing with his glass and my thoughts. He smiled at my ignorance and continued. Award organisers for years have gone unchallenged. They go out of their way to amplify the call for entries; their moral duty is to amplify the wins in relevant media. Not as coverage, but as an ad.

Vermajee adds it may not be possible to do justice to every winner. Prioritisation and award hierarchy need to be defined to communicate the top awards. Where media organisations are sponsors, the deal itself could include space for such an ad and special rates for the winners to advertise.


What’s missing from the award ads

The award ads tell you who won what. However, you are left guessing what they won it for. The ad cannot show every thumbnail, but it can carry a QR that loads a page where you can see all the relevant wins in their full glory and details. One can even link it to the agency’s pages featuring other work.

The award organisers can easily create an award page as the entries now are digitised. In fact, it works for the awards. Is it too much to expect the myopic award organiser to look for stakeholders’ interests? Most even don’t allow the Jury to present their point of view as to why they awarded one entry over the other equally good entry.



Vermajee closed the discussion with a bottom-up of his fifth drink.

Advertising or not advertising is dependent upon a few simple answers. How creatively can you treat the award win ad? How strong is the need to commu8nicate the win? If there is an internal pressure to advertise? Do you want to reassure the existing clients with these wins or use them as a new business tool? And finally, What is the ROI you expect from the investment in an award advertisement.

Vermajee dramatically raised the glass and shouted at the top of his voice, “To the last of the award ads. Go treasure the moment. Long live advertising- long live awards, Jab Tak Client Aur Agency Rahegi, Tab Tak  Awards Their Kaam Rahega“.  Award will remain  till there are clients and agencies.


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