Mesdames et Messieurs, le spectacle commence!
By the one and only / the fabulous / the real deal / choose your title / GUEST J :
The months of February and March are not particularly exciting. Unless you consider the 29th of February to be a special date worth celebrating, then February through April is pretty much a low season.
However, for one particular industry, February is the kick-off of the most glamorous season of the year – the award season. Advertising agencies are running around, preparing edits, fixing boards, filling applications and confirming hotel bookings for the award shows that start in the MENA region, spread through the GCC and end in the south of France in June.
Agencies live at the rhythm of the awards, and it is easy to understand why. Awards are important for measuring the quality of an agency’s work, especially if that agency seeks international recognition. There is no better feeling for a creative who has worked so hard during the year creating, producing, fine tuning, changing, fixing, and editing a campaign to see their work rewarded in a prestigious award show.
Winning an award today has become a very difficult challenge. Besides the fact that campaigns have to be based on real briefs and need to have run across several media (agencies need to prove it), they should rely on strong local insights that make them unique and specific to the country they come from. Juries hate western copycats and are looking for those exotic insights that would change the consumer’s thinking. Egyptian ad agencies like Leo Burnett Cairo mastered that technique with the award winning Heinz ads and the Melody Aflam campaign.
But the biggest reward for a creative comes before the award season – to have their campaign change people’s behavior, or even to change society. This Tunisian campaign by Memac Ogilvy, which is based on one very simple insight, was turned into a provocative social advertisement that pushed people to react. The fear of an old corrupt dictatorship was strong enough to urge people to vote.
As creatives, I believe that the true reward is to have the chance to use talent and resources to achieve social change – to make a difference and introduce something new into our sometimes stagnant minds and societies.
For now, however, award season is just about to start, so sit back and enjoy the show.
Very proud to have an advertising Guru contributing to this blog’s success. Thanks to GUEST J, a true supporter and an inspirational role model.