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Why So Many Awards, AdLand?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Nothing shows the general public that AdLand is out of touch with normal society more than when the industry celebrates all the good work and creative it has done. But that is not the central issue here. Today we are debating whether the sheer amount of awards is even useful.

This question was sparked by Adweek's announcement that it is creating another awards ceremony; a ceremony that recognizes those agency and advertising professionals who excelled in invention throughout the categories that Adweek covers.

Adweek Project Isaac Awards, named after Sir Isaac Newton, will announce the winners in a publication right before the CLIO awards, yet another award ceremony that Adweek powers. And, you guessed it, the entry fee for the Adweek Project Isaac Awards is $300 an entry.

But don't worry; if you have work that doesn't fit either one of those contests, there's more. T-Minus Countdown, a countdown website made specifically for AdLand, lists just over 60 different awards and competitions from around the world that you can participate in. All contests are either running or accepting entries within the year.

In economics, there is the law of diminishing returns. The law means that the more of something we have, the less amount of satisfaction we receive overall. For example, if we're thirsty, the first glass of water we'll have would taste amazing. The second glass will taste good, but not nearly as good as the first. 

In AdLand, we think we may have reached that point.

Yes, it is nice to be able to say "award-winning agency," but when almost any agency can win an award in something, how much does it really matter? Or the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the bigger shows like the One Show, or Cannes, does it all attribute to business, or positioning oneself or one's company as a leader in their field? Not to mention the entry-fee racket the shows are able to manage; collecting hundreds of dollars in exchange for a trophy and publicity; maybe we missed the boat and joined the wrong side of the industry.

Maybe we're wrong. No one else seems to see this as an issue. Maybe this self-celebrating nature of our industry keeps us sane. If that's the case, the more awards the better. For now.

*Let the record show: We've won an award. We're just asking the question.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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