Letter to the Editor – Quest for gold

David Martin is right in the Dec. 14 issue ('Are awards becoming nothing but fool's gold?') when he says the lust for advertising awards is seemingly insatiable.The means to attain them are, at times, suspect, and, in some cases, unethical.I have...

David Martin is right in the Dec. 14 issue (‘Are awards becoming nothing but fool’s gold?’) when he says the lust for advertising awards is seemingly insatiable.

The means to attain them are, at times, suspect, and, in some cases, unethical.

I have witnessed the spectacle of misguided, young creative people who conceive, produce and place advertising themselves for the sole purpose of winning awards.

Worse yet, there is the story of a respected creative director in Asia who wrote an award-winning campaign for a non-existent product of his own devising.

(What is it like being your own client?)

It is important for creative people to understand and be motivated by the only legitimate purpose of advertising: to increase the value of a brand by persuading someone to do or think something.

Does this mean pro bono work for minor causes, or one-off ads for small budget clients are ineligible for awards competitions?

Not at all. Not so long as the work was created to serve as a legitimate tool of communications for a real client.

Effectiveness in the marketplace is the true measure of advertising, not awards.

An award is merely a bonus in the form of peer recognition. That recognition is welcome and good, but it should not be an end in itself.

Perhaps one way to curtail spurious awards entries is to make effectiveness one of the criteria by which all entries are judged.

Jack Neary

Senior vice-president,

creative director

Chiat/Day

Toronto