Sonder | What the global awards community is missing
Some of the most prestigious, respected award bodies in the global marketing industry are missing something important and it is bothering me!
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What the global awards community is missing

What the global awards community is missing

Some of the most prestigious, respected award bodies in the global marketing industry are missing something important and it has been bothering me for some time. Let’s start with the good news: they are getting much better at acknowledging efficacy as a factor in deciding which campaign to shower gold on, which is a big step forward. Most award judges nowadays dedicate marks towards the campaign actually working!

What these organisations haven’t done though is keep step with the way people now consume brand communications. If you are reading this you are likely a progressive marketer and/or a keen student of the modern consumer, so I don’t have to tell you that when people form their view about a brand to make their purchase decisions, they are not distinguishing between what they see on a 30” TV ad and how they were spoken to by a shop assistant. Any brand interaction contributes to someone’s brand experience and yet, it is predominantly the advertising campaign in paid and earned media channels that gets awarded.

Take for example one of the recent winners of WARC’s prestigious global awards, a campaign for Unilever’s washing detergent OMO from the UAE which won the award for a strategy that successfully utilised paid, owned and earned media. Whilst I am sure the campaign was effective, creative and innovative, the channels used were all paid & earned channels. No mention of whether the campaign used the brand’s packaging, customer database, website or had any brand experiences!

It seems that owned channels are very much the poor cousin when it comes to awards for best use of paid, owned and earned channels. At best they are seen as a destination for the paid and earned media to point people to. When in actual fact they are the most critical channels of all: where brand opinions are formed and where sales are made.

So this is a shout out to all award bodies out there: recognise the importance of owned media channels in awarding successful marketing campaigns. Not to do so is tantamount to saying that you’re stuck in the 1980s when advertising ruled.