COMMENT: No winners in Effies' long-term effect category is worrying

By Rosie Baker | 6 September 2013

The great and the good of Australia's advertising industry gathered last night to celebrate the best in advertising for the Effie Awards but there was one glaring omission that made me wonder if Australia's top marketers and agencies haven’t missed something along the way.

Some great examples of innovative creative work were lauded. But in the awards' 'Long Term Effects' category, while there were a handful of finalists, the judges awarded no medals. Not bronze, not silver and not gold. Not a single winner.

It's controversial to have awards categories with no winners but it does add a certain authenticity when an award isn't just given to the best half-decent entry. But alarm bells should be ringing in marketers' minds if nothing is deemed to deliver long-term returns for the brand.

If you’re doing, or commissioning, great work but it's not having an impact on your business over the long-term – what's the point?

Conversely, the 'Short Term Effects' category appeared to have one of the longest long lists of the night, and awarded two bronze and one silver award. The 'Return on Investment' category similarly awarded three gold gongs. Now ROI is something all marketers and agencies can agree is key. But if that return on investment is just short term – it suggests marketers and their agency partners are being too short-sighted in their approach.

Maybe its symptomatic of the rapid pace of change across all industries, and the pressure to deliver instant results means that people are hobbled in their ability to look long term: it's difficult to look long term when the axe falls after two poor quarters. But by not looking longer term, the industry is doing itself a disservice and it is a hard cycle to break.

A recent conversation with a senior brand marketer with an agency background raised the issue that the majority of briefs given to agencies by clients don't actually bother to include what the business objective is. Equally shocking is how many agencies go ahead and develop ideas and get to pitch without bothering to ask.

If you don’t know the business objective you’re working towards, you're not going to come up with a creative idea that achieves it.

While there is much great work around, the lack of winners here sends a very clear message. Brands and marketers must demand more of their agency partners to achieve the long term effects they need to drive business, not just short term gains.

The full list of last night's winners is here.

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