Campaign India Team
Mar 31, 2009

Credibility reduces dependence on sponsors

There are some expenses you can’t postpone because of a slowdown.Then there are some such expenses that surprise you.A spread-sheet inadvertently mailed by an employee of The One Show reveals one such expense head for advertising agencies: award entries.According to a report in the Advertising Age (which managed to get a copy of the e-mail), agencies worldwide have spent over $3.5 million on entries to the One Show. The figure does not include entries for the design and interactive categories.

Credibility reduces dependence on sponsors

There are some expenses you can’t postpone because of a slowdown.Then there are some such expenses that surprise you.

A spread-sheet inadvertently mailed by an employee of The One Show reveals one such expense head for advertising agencies: award entries.

According to a report in the Advertising Age (which managed to get a copy of the e-mail), agencies worldwide have spent over $3.5 million on entries to the One Show. The figure does not include entries for the design and interactive categories.

The average cost per entry works out to $358. That’s about Rs.18,250.

The $3.5m figure does point to a slowdown, though – because last year’s figure comes to almost $10 million.

A large percentage of the entries come from agencies who, in the past few months, have had to lay off hundreds of employees.

Yet, agencies have chosen to invest in these entries – some, at almost the same volumes as in the previous years.I used the word invest rather than a more mundane spend.

Because winning at Cannes or winning a Pencil helps build the brand and helps improve the yield from clients.

That’s what the Abbys need to become.

An award that is so sought after that winning one automatically makes an agency best-in-class; gets the agency get larger, more prestigious clients willing to compensate the agency better.

We’re now just a week away from Goafest and the organizers must be heaving a sigh of relief that they no longer have to run around trying to drum up entries, delegates and sponsors.

What they should spend some time thinking about is why do they need to do this at all?

The One Club’s income from entries alone is more than the entire turnover for the Goafest.

The D&AD has done the same.

Cannes must be making as much as The One Show and D&AD put together – on entries alone.

The Abbys has, historically, taken the easy way out, relying on sponsorships rather than on income from entries. So it’s no surprise that, when dealing with a situation when sponsorships dry up, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

And unless there is learning from this year’s experience, we will see the same situation next year, with the committee members having to sacrifice time that could have been well spent managing their agencies bottom-lines for the Goafest’s bottom-line.

It is imperative that the details of the next Goafest are available at least six months before the fest is to take place. And when I mean details, I mean that member agencies should know details of all the categories, absolute deadlines for entries, the composition of the jury.

The most important is the composition of the juries.

There are already rumblings of disenchantment on some of the jurors this year. .

If one were to suggest one single area that the committee should focus on immediately after the Goafest it is this: find ways to make the Abbys the most prestigious award that an Indian agency can win. Then, even in difficult times, agencies will see expenditure on entries as an investment, not an indulgence. Larger agencies will see an Abby as a ratification of their skills while the smaller agencies and the newcomers will see an Abby as their passport to the big league.

Let us not kid ourselves into believing that this is already the case. There are agencies such as Lowe who just don’t care about the Abbys; there are agencies such as O&M and McCann who had to be cajoled, coaxed and persuaded to enter this year. And if one reads the writing on the wall, sponsorships aren’t going to be a breeze next year, either.

I don’t think the committee has a choice.

Source:
Campaign India
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