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Wagner’s Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen) – considerably less likely to induce boredom than this years IPA effectiveness shortlist.
How ironic. Just as we were wrapping up our discussion about the efficacy of the Honda ‘Power of Dreams’ idea the IPA announces their shortlist for this year’s effectiveness awards.
As awards shortlists go it is as thrilling and exciting a compendium of advertising achievement as it is possible to muster and I can’t wait to read each and every one of these powerful case studies.
In opposite land!
Reading the shortlist on the IPA website made me so catatonically bored I actually began to gnaw my own legs off. Sure there are a few cases that raise more than a flicker of interest like Travelocity, Virgin Trains and Jamie’s School Dinners, but on the whole the list is padded out with such fascinating forays into the world of advertising communications as Branston Baked Beans, Manchester City and Monopoly (the game).
I think the issue here is who cares? Beyond the client and agency involved in the project, who actually gives a damn whether Bakers Complete dog food has used advertising successfully or not? I don’t, I’m very happy for them but I’m just not that interested.
And this goes to the heart of why the IPA effectiveness awards have failed in their primary objective. They tell us that sometimes some advertising works but not that advertising is a powerful business tool full stop.
I saw conclusive proof of this two years ago when the incoming CEO of BSkyB, James Murdoch, announced to the city that he was massively increasing his marketing expenditure and 20% of the Sky’s market capitalisation was wiped out overnight. Clearly those spiffy hardback books proclaiming that ’advertising works’ are not required reading amongst the financial community of this country. As I am fond of saying the IPA effectiveness awards wouldn’t win an award for effectiveness.
In reality the problem is the way that all awards work.
You only get to judge the work that is entered rather than the work you want judge and award. The IPA is dependent of whether anyone can find a case study they can stand up and can be bothered to spend the inordinate amounts of time and money writing an entry. Hence you end up with a list of odds and sods with a few gems rather than conclusive proof that business should place its faith in the advertising discipline.
It would be far better that the IPA conducts an annual audit of the biggest spenders and most famous campaigns. It is the success or otherwise of this work that would help make the case for advertising to the people that control the purse strings.
In the meantime I for one remain arse numbingly bored.


How ironic. Just as we were wrapping up our discussion about the efficacy of the Honda ‘Power of Dreams’ idea the IPA announces their shortlist for this year’s effectiveness awards.
As awards shortlists go it is as thrilling and exciting a compendium of advertising achievement as it is possible to muster and I can’t wait to read each and every one of these powerful case studies.
In opposite land!
Reading the shortlist on the IPA website made me so catatonically bored I actually began to gnaw my own legs off. Sure there are a few cases that raise more than a flicker of interest like Travelocity, Virgin Trains and Jamie’s School Dinners, but on the whole the list is padded out with such fascinating forays into the world of advertising communications as Branston Baked Beans, Manchester City and Monopoly (the game).
I think the issue here is who cares? Beyond the client and agency involved in the project, who actually gives a damn whether Bakers Complete dog food has used advertising successfully or not? I don’t, I’m very happy for them but I’m just not that interested.
And this goes to the heart of why the IPA effectiveness awards have failed in their primary objective. They tell us that sometimes some advertising works but not that advertising is a powerful business tool full stop.
I saw conclusive proof of this two years ago when the incoming CEO of BSkyB, James Murdoch, announced to the city that he was massively increasing his marketing expenditure and 20% of the Sky’s market capitalisation was wiped out overnight. Clearly those spiffy hardback books proclaiming that ’advertising works’ are not required reading amongst the financial community of this country. As I am fond of saying the IPA effectiveness awards wouldn’t win an award for effectiveness.
In reality the problem is the way that all awards work.
You only get to judge the work that is entered rather than the work you want judge and award. The IPA is dependent of whether anyone can find a case study they can stand up and can be bothered to spend the inordinate amounts of time and money writing an entry. Hence you end up with a list of odds and sods with a few gems rather than conclusive proof that business should place its faith in the advertising discipline.
It would be far better that the IPA conducts an annual audit of the biggest spenders and most famous campaigns. It is the success or otherwise of this work that would help make the case for advertising to the people that control the purse strings.
In the meantime I for one remain arse numbingly bored.

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