I wonder about the Loerie Awards. I wonder in particular about ownership, the opaque structure, being all things to all people, its positioning, the commitment to creativity rather than pursuit of power, the sustainability of the business model and whether it would be better off aligned to marketers.
Is the Loeries really the independent, ‘industry’ owned organisation that it purports to be? If so who appoints the board and the CEO (who was out and now is back in; maybe no one else had the stomach for it?) In terms of current corporate governance and in the interests of transparency, the ‘industry’ is obliged to reveal the structure, decision-making processes and finances. Hell, even the Association of Marketers were more open than this when they owned and ran the awards.
I have lost count of the number of award categories there are this year. All I know is that most of them will be left sucking the proverbial. The real attractions were and still are for campaign, television, print and radio and online slots. Being recognised as Gold, Silver and Bronze winners is special too. But craft et al is poorly supported and I see the Loeries now boasts awards for events, communication and assorted peripheral activities that do not form part of the creative tableau.
What happened to focus? What a mish mash and over three days? The poor Pendorings, after an illustrious past, they are now relegated to the Friday night. Bang, there it goes.
Launching new categories each year and enticing other perfectly good award ceremonies to join up is all well and good if power is your motive, but where does this leave the real reason the Loeries were founded decades ago? Recognising and celebrating creativity in advertising. If I were a serious creative (you know who you are) I would be pissed off. I would certainly be pissed by the time they got around to call me up to the stage.
Media owners like MNet and SABC used to clamour to sponsor the Loeries. Now the chain of decision-making has shifted to media agencies and marketers. There are dozens of sub sponsors. How do they justify being one logo amongst dozens jostling for attention?
If I were heading up an advertising agency, it’s the top marketers I would want to cosy up to. So, too, the media owners.
So I will continue to wonder whether the Loeries is in the right hands. Hands with the focus and passion our advertising agencies, and in particular their creative teams, deserve.
Sandra Gordon is the publisher of The Media Online and The Media magazine, and CEO of Wag the Dog Publishers.
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