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An Ad Award No One Will Want to Win?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It is no secret that the advertising industry has an unnatural relationship with award ceremonies. It is simple to see how that happened; as an industry that is under constant scrutiny, an industry that gets no love from consumers who unconsciously need them, nor from business executives who are ready to throw AdLand under the bus once they don't receive the elusive "ROI," they are so desperate to present to shareholders.

Naturally then, a system (the advertising industry) creates an internal method in which to shower appreciation and a job well done on its members.

But it seems now that the relationship is getting out of control.

First, a few years ago, we heard of the Chip Shop awards. The Chip Shop Awards are a cheeky parody award series in which entrants submit ridiculous work; work that agencies would love to do for big clients, work that was shot down, the most offensive ads you can think of, and so on. We thought they were a fun way for creatives to have creative release, and to release some pressure.

Now another rendition of the awards ceremony is hitting the scene. Based out of Barcelona, the Wild Advertising Awards attempts to shame agencies and brands that use real, live animals in advertising spots. The ads cover the world, with work from McGarryBowen, CareerBuilder, FAAC, L'Oreal, just to name a few.

Below is the spot promoting these "awards no one will want to win."

The YouTube copy says its goal is to award the "abuse and exploitation" of these animals in the spots.

There's a slight problem.

Based on our research, that at least in the United States, if a production company plans to use a live animal for a shoot, someone from Hollywood's animal rights organization must be on-site to swear that all necessary precautions were made for the animal. 

Perhaps the organization rep must be there for the brands and agencies to be able to say that indeed, no animals were harmed.

Who knows. However, this is an effort that may backfire. If there are those agencies that have no qualms with using animals, they may willingly submit numerous bids just to get mentioned. We think the idea is a decent one, and it will be interesting if the Wild Awards creates the negative publicity it aims to.

It's noble, but it may miss the mark, with the mark being the support of the masses. Statistics prove that ads with animals in them increase recall more than nearly any other way.

Change public opinion first, then attack the arm.

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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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