Monday saw the results of the Promo & Activation, PR and Direct Lions being announced. The results of Monday night though reminded me of a statement that festival chairman Terry Savage made in an interview with Campaign India earlier, when he pointed out what an agency won was as significant a story as what they didn’t win.
Putting that logic to work on Monday night’s shortlists and results, it wasn’t a traditional PR agency that won from India in the PR Lions category, but an advertising one - BBDO India - for ‘The women against Lazy Stubble’ campaign. In the Media Lions shortlists from India, only one media agency emerged among the shortlisted entries, the rest were advertising agencies. Both the trends aren’t specific to India alone.
Advertising agencies are pushing into areas like PR aggressively and that’s because clients see the value of creating authentic conversations. The head of a well-known PR agency last year told me he believed that PR Lions needed to be restricted only to PR agencies, initially, to help build their strength in the category. That’s a narrow minded view in my belief and definitely not something that’s going to help the PR industry acquire an edge. They need to compete with mainstream agencies that have been doing this for so many years now, and they need to do so now.
Similarly, creative agencies have been wresting the honours from media agencies in the Media Lions category for years now. At a time when media agencies are pushing for innovation, and struggling against the commoditisation of their services, investing in the generation of ideas - traditionally a preserve of creative agencies - would work to their advantage in the long term.