How useful are ad awards?

What is the value of advertising awards to agencies? Do they have value outside of the industry? Four agency heavyweights share their thoughts.
What is the value of advertising awards?
Loeries Hot Topic

What is the purpose of award ceremonies, beyond the well-deserved ‘pat on the back’ for a job well done? Do they have any impact beyond the few that are directly involved?

We asked four local and international ad gurus their thoughts on the role advertising awards play.


Patrick Baron, executive creative director at McCann Australia

The purpose of awards such as the Loeries, Cannes and D&AD is to showcase the world’s best work. They celebrate innovation and excellence. They are also opportunities for marketing companies, advertising agencies, filmmakers, communicators, technologists and idiots from all around the world to get together and learn from each other and share things. As the world gets bigger, it becomes more divergent, media gets more divergent and we are now competing as marketers with Hollywood and scientists and technologists. Well, not competing in the traditional sense, but we have to bring them into the agencies and collaborate with them. Collaboration is now key. You have to learn how to work with other people; you have to learn to work with your client better. Gone are the days of sitting at your desk in the back of a room working with only three or four people in your agency to come up with a campaign. That’s over. Now you have to work far more closely with your clients and so many different types of companies – it all depends on what your idea is and what you are trying to achieve. Award ceremonies bring all these parties together and they allow us to look at what different agencies have done to solve different clients’ problems in different ways. Diversity is the secret.


Chris Gotz, chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather SA

I think that the Loeries and awards such as these that recognise commercial creativity are crucial because what we are trying to as an industry is have ideas that make a profound impact on clients’ business. What happens at these shows is those ideas get recognised and awarded, and we get to celebrate those successes on a creative level with our clients. If you look around at the Loeries, you’ll see when the work we do for our clients wins, they [the clients] are just as happy as agency people.  It’s an opportunity for all of us to really look back at the work over the year and hopefully look at some of our own work that stands up against the best in South Africa and say, ‘We did stuff for our clients that is moving the industry forward’.


Stephen Doyle, creative director and founder at Doyle Partners

The great thing about awards is it gives us a chance to survey what’s going on in the rest of the field and see the work to which we might aspire and that we wish we might have done. It’s nice to review one’s own profession because no one can know what everyone else is doing all the time and still get their work done during the day. It’s nice to have work to look up to and to learn who’s doing wonderful work. That’s the value of these kinds of awards. Especially in South Africa, this emerging economy and Africa itself – it’s quite exciting. 


Gareth McPherson, executive creative director at Machine Agency

The purpose for awards is just to drive creativity further in the South African landscape (or wherever else they are hosted). These kinds of awards shows are incredibly important. They capture the benchmark for creativity in the country and without them, I don’t think people would necessarily have anything to measure their own output of creativity against. [Awards] constantly drive the industry forward. The Loeries itself is especially important in the local landscape – in fact, we need to have even more, particularly in terms of pushing digital content, because that is a medium of the future, not only in South Africa but throughout Africa. It would be nice to see digital grow here, especially in terms of creativity and awards.

Watch the Talk with Chris Gotz

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