The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Scam Judging Is More Damaging Than Scam Advertising …
April 21, 2010, 6:02 am
Filed under: Comment

There’s a load of award shows out there … and almost universally they have a fundamental flaw resulting in their validity being open to question and/or ridicule.

For example, I was recently asked to judge a rather well known award show only to be told that no entry was allowed to be given a score less than 5 out of 10.

When I asked why didn’t they just re-do the scoring system to be between 1 and 5, they told me that was just the way they did it … but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the real reason is because it stops entries being given a publically humiliating score which may cause agencies to stop entering [read: paying] the awards the following year.

Seriously, if they wanted Paula Abdul to be the judge they should of just asked her … because all this approach does is undermine the value of the awards and maintains the petty, egotistical and delusion view most agencies have of themselves … a view that is ultimately destroying the long term prospects of their industry.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t take themselves so fucking seriously … but the way they act is like they’re fucking God, and of course the industry backs that view because it helps them feel important even though in the real World, what they do tends to be ignored or ridiculed.

Saying that, I love being invited to judge because I like the idea I can cause change from the inside … and whilst it doesn’t always happen/work … it’s better than just pointless throwing barbs from a distance.

Anyway, despite all that I want to talk about an award I like.

I like it for a bunch of reasons … of which not pretending to be saviour of the industry/universe is one of the main ones.

It comes from WARC … the marketing information people … and they are seeking entries that basically demonstrates unconventional thinking that achieved conventional commercial success.

Because ‘unconventional thinking’ is actually quite easy to determine … it means these awards will be crediting thinking/doing & effectiveness … things that many other awards claim to do, but have a process/system that undermines the importance of at least one of those elements.

Are there ways to ‘cheat the system’?

Of course … let’s face it, “effectiveness” is almost as ambiguous as the word “creative” … but at least the way this is set up means validity of entry is easy to determine: you’ve either embraced unconventional thinking [based on category/industry norms] or you haven’t.

It’s being judged by Alex Bogusky, no stranger to weird-yet-valid … has a US$10,000 prize and – the best bit – is it’s FREE TO ENTER, so even if your agency couldn’t give a fuck, you can submit an entry yourself.

This is the first year it’s running … but if they keep to the spirit of what they’re setting out to do and embrace more of a Simon Cowell judging philosophy rather than Paula Abdul … then this could be one of the most important awards of the industry in the next few years, so have a go – and if you have nothing to submit – make sure you do for next year.

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after the fun of yesterday, were back to fucking normal.

most awards have their issues but effectiveness awards are the most fucking flawed. i love when things go tits up agencies blame every man and his fucking dog but when its good, they ignore every other fuckers contribution, take all the credit and enter effectiveness awards with dubious figures and bullshit rationales.

this stands a fucking chance to be better. not perfect but a whole fucking lot better and the fact theyre not charging for submissions means theres fucking hope the judging criteria wont be shaped to keep the agencies happy. the way most effectiveness awards are created its like one of those fairground games promoting a prize every fucking time.

now tell me 2 things campbell.

1) did you have anything to do with this because it sounds like your fucking work.
2) if your submission has a leos sydney type singing bollocks, does that count as unconventional?

Comment by andy@cynic

Will you say which award stopped you from scoring less than 5 out of 10? That’s a total joke and can only be for the reasons you’ve highlighted.

The WARC competition sounds good, at least there’s a key filter in place to determine eligability of entry but because there’s degrees of unconventional, agencies will try and bend that in their favour. As I know from personal experience, the good news is Alex can see through trumped up averageness so it won’t be so simple to cheat the system.

Comment by Pete

What George said.

Comment by John

@ Andy

I like the fairground analogy – and it’s frighteningly accurate. To answer your questions …

1/ No I didn’t.
2/ If they wanted to be judged on the effectiveness of destroying their name, then yes – it would qualifty.


I’ll tell you privately … shouting abuse from the outside is even less effective than causing shit from the inside, and I still want to stand a chance at causing the shit.

And as for Alex as a judge, I think that is possibly why WARC asked him … or it could be to help give cred and encourage creative guys to see effectiveness as a positive thing, not a barrier. Maybe.


You bloody crawler.

Comment by Rob

What would your definition of “unconventional thinking” be Robert and why aren’t you a judge?

Comment by Lee Hill

Without giving this much thought, I would say unconventional thinking could be determined by simply identifying the key characteristics of the category the entry is associated with [ie: general insight / general message / general target audience / general tone-of-voice / general media channels etc] and after evaluating each entry against these criteria, working out which submission has the least in common with any of the ‘category convention’ and letting them move through to the next round.

I know you need some framework for evaluation, but the reality is that if you have to explain why you’re not conventional, you’re basically showing how conventional you are.

But you should know that Lee.

Now where are we with you-know-what?

Comment by Rob,7,2

The face looks familiar.

Comment by -D-

Yes, that one of the awards I recently judged, but not the one I’m talking about in this post.

Mind you, I had a few issues with them too, but I have issues with most things don’t I!

At least my bio gives a good example of what I believe are the key criteria to win one of these awards … though it would appear in many cases, you only need to get 2 out of 3 to be rewarded, ha!

Comment by Rob

I’m still very cross with Lee.

Comment by Marcus

You and me both.

Comment by Rob

Surely the system of simply not declaring work that scored under 5 would do?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Have you seen this spoof video of possibly every bloody effectiveness/media entry known to man.

Scarily true:


Comment by Rob

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