There is no bigger rip off in the world of advertising than awards. We get emails every week from some organization or another offering us the “opportunity to receive recognition from the best in your field…” These are total scams, of course. You pay your entry fee of a few hundred bucks, submit your work and you’ll probably win something that you can put on your site to impress prospects.
The only time we ever submit to awards are when they are free, and, even then, we’re not dedicating a whole bunch of time to it. Recently, we were finalists for a local Austin award – “Coolest Companies in Austin” or something like that. We weren’t going to win since it was one of those things where you can vote as often as you want, so our boutique company didn’t have the manpower to flood the ballot box, so, as a gag, we made some Facebook posts encouraging people to vote for us for this goofy award. The creative was inspired by a famous National Lampoon cover from the 70s.
We RCMified it to make the stakes more appropriate.
It wasn’t long before someone with no sense of humor came along and got really mad about our hypothetical violence against hotdogs campaign. We had a quick internal discussion about the situation. Should we take down our very tongue-in-cheek post because someone misinterpreted a joke for actual malice? After like 30 seconds of deliberation, we realized the answer was “Of course not.”
Long story short, we didn’t win the contest, and that’s okay. We got to have a little fun and we didn’t sell out just because we made someone mad. When your entire ethos is built around being the Anti-Template, that’s just about the best outcome you could hope for.
Our advice to anyone throwing time and money at contests to impress clients is to cut it out and instead focus on doing work that will impress clients. When your work stands on its own, you don’t need awards to get attention.