August 28, 2009

Meaningful Awards?

The ERA just announced the nominees for its annual awards (link opens a PDF). The awards are supposed to recognize "the best in television, radio, online and mobile direct response campaigns." But I have to wonder what they mean by "best."

Here are the four nominees for Best Short Form of the Year:

  1. bareMinerals "120"
  2. Meaningful Beauty "Cindy Crawford"
  3. Netflix "To the TV"
  4. Proactiv Solution: Focus on Travel Kit

If "best" means "best production quality," this list makes sense. But this is supposed to be about direct response. "Best" should mean "best response," which would mean the short form that sold the most product.

So why didn't Snuggie, Smooth Away, Mighty Mendit or Strap Perfect make the above list? For that matter, why didn't Ped Egg ever win Best Short Form of the Year? These campaigns were so successful, they changed the definition of a "hit." And while I don't have access to Guthy-Renker direct sales information, I'm reasonably confident the Snuggie commercial outperformed GR's 67th Proactiv spot. (Please note: This is not to take anything away from the unique brilliance of the Proactiv campaign.)

Just to be sure I wasn't missing something, I asked Scott Boilen, president of Allstar, if he submitted Snuggie for consideration. He confirmed that he had. "I have no idea what they are looking for, but this is the last time we will enter a product for consideration," he told me. "If Snuggie can't even make the top four, we will never have a product that meets their criteria."

Maybe the ERA has a good explanation. But my guess is they've fallen into the same trap as every other advertising awards show: Celebrating the "art" of advertising and forgetting that its true purpose is to sell.

No comments:

Post a Comment