Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
In the eternal debates on what festival awards really bring to the agencies and how important they are sometimes in gaining new or retaining old clients, it is difficult to find a response that would express at least somewhat uniformed attitude of the profession. Are they exclusively food for creatives’ egos, or do they really have their market value?
We asked several prominent creatives to comment on the significance of awards for agency business, and here are their responses.
Slavimir Stojanović Futro:
In my case, the awards have defined both my entire career, and my way of work. When the bar is set high, and you regularly manage to raise it even further, that cannot be bad for business. In the nineties, I had the privilege of working with Dragan Sakan, Ivan Stanković and a bunch of ambitious and talented people at the S Team Bates Saatchi & Saatchi in Belgrade, where the imperative was to win at all possible world festivals. This was only possible with – for the time – incredible financial investments both in the competitions, as well as in people who produce quality materials that can compete at all. It was a specific, totally unrealistic moment of escape from the horrible reality of the nineties into the creative paradise of Hilandarska 14. These efforts to push the boundaries of creativity were more based on the joy of creation and the PR consequences of this joy. When the market cruelly opened at the beginning of the twentieth century, the struggle for creativity was reduced to the level of the caricature. I think that only now, after this long-lasting sobering of the market, we are experiencing a renewed, but far more realistic, improvement of regional creativity.
As far as my work is concerned, at one point, after twenty years and hundreds of awards, I realized that they were a hindrance for me in business, I realized that clients shy away from working with me, thinking that I’m expensive, arrogant and inaccessible, so I almost completely stopped competing. However, only in direct meeting with company owners – small, medium and biggest ones – my awards get meaning, because in that first contact, I have the opportunity to justify them through a personal presentation. So, the awards are great, but only when you keep them under control, not when the news about them precedes you.
Davor Bruketa, Creative Director at Bruketa&Žinić OM
The awards are useful because they create an initial interest in the agency. However, for business development, much more important is the recommendation of someone for whom you have solved some problem.
Petra Krulc, Creative Director at Grey Ljubljana:
Awards help the agency raise its reputation. They help the agency find better people. Awards increase brand reputation. They enhance the relationship between the agency and the client. They bring new business, and better business results. They reward special achievements. All this is true.
But big awards can also make an agency haughty, which reduces creative productivity. For us, in the Grey Ljubljana, despite the outstanding successes in the previous year [the agency of the year at SOF and two Cannes Lions], it is important to remain modest, firmly standing on the ground, and hungry for new challenges ahead.
Sašo Pešev, Director, New Moment New Ideas Company Skopje:
I don’t know if I’m the most ideal person to answer this question. First of all, because I’ve dedicated most of my professional life to chasing awards at the most prestigious festivals. Probably my older partner, Dragan Sakan, got me hooked on that. Golden Drum, Epica, Cannes … we were present everywhere. And then, in 2013, when I achieved probably the greatest achievement that an agency from this region can achieve, when the New Moment Skopje won the Titanium Lion, became the Golden Drum’s Agency of the Year, and won many other international awards, our business survived through the biggest crisis in the last 20 years. And it’s not that there were no crises in Macedonia until that time. There were even wars and whatnot. Macedonia had fallen into a huge political and economic crisis, and our business is very dependent on the state of the local economy. We simply didn’t know how to reorganize and adapt the agency (and our product) to the recession economy.
The creative team led by Dule Drakalski has far outgrown the Macedonian market. We didn’t have anyone in Macedonia to whom we could sell the world renowned and acknowledged creativity. We have succeeded in valorizing part of this creativity by working on regional markets, but that was too little. Unfortunately, it took years for the Macedonian economy and advertising industry to stabilize.
It’s not that awards brought us harm. On the contrary, they brought great PR for the agency, and probably a new client or two. They most certainly brought satisfaction for the painstaking work, for working weekends, to staying up late into the night. Owners and managers have other satisfactions – business, money and bonuses – but the only true reward for creatives are the awards at festivals, and all that these awards bring: publicity of your work, interviews, glory, invitations to participate in festival juries and similar.
Anyway, if I could turn back the time, despite the fact that the direct impact on business was minor, I would do everything the same again, and give all my energy and knowledge to create the creativity that will win awards at festivals. In any case I’m not too old, I still have ambitions, and we will continue to participate in relevant festivals. And we will certainly confirm that Macedonians are a creative nation.
Vladimir Ćosić, Creative Director at McCann Beograd:
At some basic level, awards are a way for the adverting community, including clients, to find out about agency’s work. They are a kind of promotion of an agency product. This is probably the best and easiest way to do a self-promo campaign, because you can claim whatever you want for your agency, if you don’t have a product that will corroborate those claims, you will be irrelevant.
On the other hand, they are a testament to our creative work, and thus the motivation and injection of self-confidence for all the people for whom creativity is the motivator to do what we do.
It seems to me that for everybody who claims to be engaged in creative work, it is of inexpressible value to have their work seen, and that the professional public is evaluating it, so they could build for themselves a coordinate system in which they move and advance. Taking this into account, regardless of whether they are awarded a prize or not, festivals are a rare opportunity for true, profound and honest motivation that will push forward both individuals from agencies, as well as people who lead brands, and thus our market in general.
Clients’ opinion of festivals and prizes varies from case to case. I have personally heard of examples where certain agencies have won the biggest awards, only to find themselves several days later in a pitch for that same client. Fortunately, most clients understand that besides product quality, creative advertising is crucial to the success of their brand.
For me personally, awards are not as important as doing campaigns at that level that they could win awards. It is important for me to do advertising that will be meaningful to people, that will make a change for the better, at least minimal change. Let’s be honest with ourselves, no money or other business parameters can replace the feeling of pride in designing and realizing a supreme idea.
The first step to this is the realization that such a thing is possible, and uncompromising determination to follow such convictions.
Jelena Fiškuš, Creative Director at Sonda, Vižinada:
Creating relationships with work is the most important benefit of awards. Feedback from the industry to the constant questioning of the quality of the work, to which you can hardly be objective, is an extraordinary motivation for future work. PR is an additional and valuable bonus, mostly in terms of creating credibility.
Igor Mladinović, Chief Creative Director at Imago Ogilvy:
Awards are other people’s opinions about your work and that’s fine from the standpoint of objectivity. But you have to be aware that you are not good because you won an award, but that you won an award because you are good (the same thing is true when you’re bad). Only when you realize that, you can have a healthy attitude towards awards and not put them among the priorities of your goals. It’s as if after sex you ask “How was I?” If you don’t know how you did, you’re asking in vain. Sometimes you’re good, sometimes less good, sometimes brilliant, but you always have to know how you did… so you could be better next time. And if somebody else tells you that you were great, that’s just an additional satisfaction. But you cannot live on yesterday’s praise, moreover, every day you have to be better and more innovative. Otherwise, you get to hear “you used to try much harder”, and that’s already the beginning of the end.
I’ve never received an award for something that I wouldn’t give myself an award for, and I rarely missed an award for something I was sure was good. You just have to be aware of the quality of what you are doing and then you are on the right track to be successful.
Of course, everybody wants to be in the company of those of good reputation, but only until the first ‘date’. If you fail to meet the expectations at the first date, it’s quite irrelevant how good you were for everyone before, and how many prizes you have won. The other side will not think that the problem may be with them, although it takes two for everything you do in pairs.
The greatest award for us is when we know that we did something the best we can, and that we have a great thing on our hands. And if someone other also rewards it, it just confirms what we already knew. And that’s nice to hear.
Tomorrow: What do clients think about festival prizes?