Awards can really matter

Awards can really matter

Here’s a dirty, little secret: awards can really matter. Certain clients look to certain award shows to see proof of talent and ability. And certain kinds of talent look to certain firms that win certain awards before they’ll choose to join. But, in the end, doesn’t that feel superficial? And if the work is really good shouldn’t it speak for itself? 

Award show judges are, at best, mercurial. What doesn’t place in one show can be crowned at another. It’s a proverbial crapshoot. So, with all things, we seek balance.


We do enter several award shows and we celebrate winning when it happens. But we have made a commitment to spend more of our time and efforts on a specific award show that reflects where we are going. And that show is the Effies. The Effies aren’t just a taste test. They take into account the effectiveness of the work. We believe this is a critical distinction. What were the client’s business objectives and did the work meet them through creative excellence? Count us in to try. 

 We are here to be the most effective agency in North America. It’s a big, hairy long-term goal that requires a lot of hard work on our part from every side. That said we know there are two kinds of effective work. Work that sucks but is effective. And work that’s great and is effective. We choose to strive for the latter. We strive for that because it leaves behind trite notions of “best practices” and “winning formulas” and embraces the alchemy and the magic that can easily supersede any algorithm. 


We believe the human heart and imagination cannot be won by blunt math alone. 

The spirit and bigger meanings of the work aren’t as lost on everyday humans as some clients (and some in our industry) would have you believe. Apple’s 1984 is a clear example of an idea so big it could not be ignored and it set a foundation for everything Apple has become (and the standard by which every ad that ever followed on the Super Bowl is judged). So, yeah, it was effective. 


So do we measure the results of our work? Yes. Do we believe in the power of beautiful, intriguing work? Hell, yes. The two are certainly not mutually exclusive. And, in our minds,  one without the other is wasted effort. And, as it turns out, by objective measures, great work makes a bigger difference in protecting profit and achieving long-term business goals than short-term crap that drives clicks and one-times sales. See, “Marketing in the Age of Effectiveness.”

Great and effective. That’s our goal. And if there’s some sort of lucite token and a bit of glory that comes with it, well, that’s a fun bonus. 

That’s our two-cents anyway. 


[ this article was written by Seth Gunderson, Ventures Director at Signal Theory ]