A few months ago, when the Asian Marketing Effectiveness awards call for entries went out, even the most optimistic among us would not have predicted that the ninth year of the competition would draw more than 858 entries — double the number of submissions over the previous year.
The sheer number of entries is incredibly gratifying — and underscores just how serious agencies and clients are about measuring and recognising effective marketing, the very issues this industry seeks to address daily.
Before we get to the winning work, let’s review the stats. Judges awarded 15 golds, 20 silvers, 18 bronzes and one Platinum award. India picked up ten awards, with Ogilvy easily dominating the country’s performance. BBDO was India’s only other agency to be awarded.
While it is encouraging to see India receiving a higher number of gold and silver awards this year versus previous years, the number, in my view, is too low when compared with the amount of talent and opportunities that exist for brands and businesses in the market.
On a positive note, the winning campaigns (for clients Dove, Vodafone, Breakthrough, Project Swasthya Chetna, Pulsar and W.A.L.S) demonstrate that marketing in India is a considerably more complex business than it used to be, and its constant evolution is driving brands to recast approaches, ideas and insights to spur results.
The winning campaigns for brands listed above demonstrated clear objectives, a creative and cohesive strategy, technical excellence in implementation and, of course, compelling evidence of results in meeting the objectives. They also underlined that while creativity continues to ensure effectiveness, truly outstanding work speaks not only positively to a brand’s attributes but presents messages that are behaviour changing and in many cases beneficial to consumers and society.
There’s no question that preparing an entry for the Asian Marketing Effectiveness awards requires commitment, creativity and intelligence. An indepth case history has to be written and — importantly — results compiled. This requires clients and agencies to measure effectiveness from the start of the marketing activity. On the whole, Indian entries also showed greater evidence of a real effort to deliver return on investment.
At the end of the day, an awards show is only as good as its jury. Helming the jury as chairman for the second year was Bob O’Leary, global head of Citi. A firm believer that creativity and effectiveness are intrinsically linked, O’Leary is committed to putting communications at the top of the boardroom agenda. The judges — comprising the region’s leading marketers and agency executives — took their job seriously. They put in valuable time and effort to ensure entries were stringently reviewed. At times there was fierce debate to ensure the right work would be awarded on the night.
But spare a thought for the judges. Sitting on the AME judging panel isn’t easy. They say the fundamental problem with most awards schemes is that they separate creativity from effectiveness. The AME competition does not. But, in many ways, that’s what makes this show that much harder to judge.
As a jury member, you are looking for a campaign that has a strong idea that actually works and delivers results. Any winning work has to be creative and strategic, but crucially it must be effective, too.
So, congratulations to the winners. And I hope the winning work (visit www.ame.asia) will not only inspire and motivate you, but will also help in benchmarking your own work.