By Jonathan Kneebone, writer/director, The Glue Society on behalf of the AWARD Committee
It was on a work trip to Hong Kong that a few of us from Glue Society discovered the most difficult product you could ever think of to advertise.
Sitting innocently enough on the shelves of a pharmacy, we spotted a brand of shampoo called ‘Something Else’ Haircare.
Our first impressions were fair enough. Surely this was better than something like Crappi toilet tissue or Jiz bathroom cleaner, after all.
And when someone wants to look their best, of course you throw them a compliment and say they really look Something Else.
But when considering how to encourage people to purchase this brand, it felt like things might go a bit pear-shaped.
‘If you want great looking hair, try Something Else….’
‘For that movie star look, get Something Else…’
You start to wonder if it is possible to actually get someone to buy Something Else when every time you recommend it, you are really encouraging them to do the opposite.
Having said that, that’s the kind of challenge that could lead to some really remarkable advertising.
And the kind of brief that might help you get a reputation.
When Dave Johnson and I first arrived in Australia we were faced with a similarly tricky challenge.
Colgate-Palmolive had been making UV sunscreen for years and sales were sufficiently unremarkable that the company was thinking of ditching the product.
It was make or break – and in some respects, those are the kind of briefs that make clients and marketing directors a bit braver and happier to take a risk.
If it fails, they’re not really to blame – the product was dying a slow death anyway. But if it works, they are the saviours, blessed with the magic touch.
And as it turned out, the campaign certainly caused a stir.
These days, it’s hard to get a reputation – well, a positive one.
It’s easy to get a bad name. Just ask Jeffrey Toobin (previously of the New Yorker) who allegedly forgot to switch his video off while deciding to masturbate on a Zoom call.
But getting a good reputation is trickier than ever.
Networks and the powers that be tend to want all the award glory to themselves. To keep the shareholders happy, no doubt.
The WARC report continues to just add up the points from various award shows to declare which are supposedly the most creative companies around the world.
Which rather favours the agencies who pay the most to enter – or indeed enter everything into every category – placing more value and stock on quantity over quality perhaps.
So AWARD has chosen to do something about it this year. With the introduction of several new Special Awards.
For the first time ever, there will be a creative team and director of the year award given out to senior and emerging talent.
There is also an award for emerging indigenous creative talent, and individual agency offices will be able to enter an agency of the year category.
These special awards won’t be calculated by adding up the pencils won throughout the rest of the show.
Rather, they’ll be judged entirely separately – with a special jury giving scores for each of the allowed pieces of work.
Will it help young talented people doing brave work to get a reputation? We sincerely hope so.
It was AWARD’s intent to put the spotlight on individual’s names in addition to the companies and networks. To spread the recognition – and share the reward.
Discovering who the individual creative talents and individual agencies are who are behind the best work getting the recognition they deserve?
Well that really will be Something Else.
Entries are now open for the 42nd AWARD Awards and will close on 11 December. Full details here.