I may have lost jobs because of awards ads. They are confounding. Clients love to win awards because it gives them validation. They immediately ask their agencies to do awards ads and invariably, because the are “me” ads not “you” ads, the ads suck and are hard to get approved. A “me” ad, by the way, is an ad about me the advertiser. A “you” ad is about you the consumer.
Good agencies try to write strategies focused on what the award means to the consumer, but it often comes back to something like “the consumer gets to buy a higher quality product.” Or, in the case of the SAB Miller Brewing house ad for Lite Beer, the consumer gets a tastier beer. (Except the Miller Lite ad was about Miller employees raising banners in the brewery.) This whole award ad business, I’m guessing, was one of the reasons Crispin was under duress with Miller, and why they resigned the business (Good Call.)
Awards ads can be done well, but it takes finesse, a client with vision, and a lot of hard work. There is an example of one in today’s New York Times from Hackensack University Medical Center. The headline reads “When it comes to cardiac health, we’re right up there with diet and exercise.” The ad references a Healthgrades ranking in the copy and that’s it. Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners continues to create great healthcare advertising.