Thursday, November 10, 2005

Advertising award show season is underway.

Well, it's every old school ad-type's most critical time of the year.

Award show entry season.

Just to be fair, I will say that I believe there are some award shows that remain credible, progressive and ethical. They are:

1)The One Show.
2)Communications Arts Advertising, Design and Interactive Show Annuals.

That's it. Two shows that aren't the self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing embarrassments that color every other advertising festival of ass-kissing and boot-licking. And even these shows are far from perfect.

The first direct mail plea to cough up entry fee money arrived in my mailbox from The Telly Awards. It's a dreadful show with zero credibility – Tellys are most famous for their prominent display in the offices of production houses that still shoot with Betacams. I love the quotes from past Telly winners – revealing anecdotes include this from one Marcus Grandon of Grand Marquee Productions, "Winning has really helped the business...Our customers like to tell people that they are working with an award-winning production company."

Oh, Marcus. I think we've all seen "award-winning" used to prop up everything from HMO's to laser hemorrhoid removal. Surely anyone involved in modern communications realizes the value of the term burned out long ago.

When I reviewed the mailer from the Telly's, it revealed at least 149 different award categories. There may be more – it's just too much for my mathematically-challenged brain to accurately calculate. Visit the site to check out last year's list of winners – not to see who won, but just how many different people and companies claimed some sort of prize. The number of silver statues this show dishes out is extraordinary.

My real problem with all these crap award shows is the way they make communications professionals look like a bunch of insecure school girls desperate to win approval from someone. Anybody! Something!

Let's grow up. This year, no agency is allowed to enter more than three shows and bonus credibility points are awarded to the agencies that choose to enter just one. What's more, no agency is allowed to enter more than 10 pieces. No throwing 500 entries in the mix so your agency can walk away with 80 Silver somethings at the local show in Des Moines.

This year, let's show people in other businesses that we're not as shallow and self-serving as they think we are.


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