Ban the cheats
Matthew Bull has a plan to improve the credibility of ad awards
BAN LOERIES cheats for 10 years. That’s part of Lowe Bull chairman Matthew Bull’s recipe for restoring client confidence in their ad agencies, which has been undermined by the spread of “scam ads”.
Everyone has done it – made a TV ad for Guido’s Hair Salon that Guido neither commissions nor pays for. It’s flighted at 2am when rates are low and it’s based on an amusing idea that wins an award. But is it an ad? Not really – if it’s not paid for by a client.
Then there’s the borderline scam. In one example, a client agrees to sign off an ad that is not on-strategy, knowing that it will escape notice at 2am and the agency will pay for it. But the client knows the agency is motivated by self-interest, not the interests of the brand.
Bull’s solution? “You don’t accept a single entry without a letter from the client saying it has bought and paid for this work at fair market value. And cheats get banned from the Loeries for 10 years.
“Charity or pro bono awards are also borderline. They should be a separate category from the real ads. Our job is not only to be creative but also to sell creativity. Otherwise it’s self-indulgent crap.”
Whether it’s justified or not, says Bull, “we have a significant image problem with clients. There’s a lack of respect. We have got to bridge the gap but instead we have allowed it to widen. Part of the reason is we have lost their trust and this is to a large extent because of the kind of work that wins creative awards.
“The best place to rebuild that relationship is the Loeries. We should be including clients in celebrating great work. The organisation of the event is significantly better than in the past, but because of the location – Margate – it excludes clients. Our clients loved going to Sun City. Now they won’t go. So why not put it in an accessible place?
“We want the Loeries to stand for something. Sure, let’s have fun, but let’s take the business seriously. The answer is to value what we do more. We don’t value ourselves. A little more self respect will go a long way.”
Bull has been campaigning behind the scenes for an effort to make the Loeries more respected by clients, and he has been vocally opposed to Margate as a venue because its lack of facilities discourages client participation.
Loerie Awards MD Andrew Human says the organisation is not inflexibly wedded to Margate. “We will hold the event in Margate this year, but we are running it on
The answer is to value
what we do more.
a year-to-year basis as far as the location is concerned. After this year we will again evaluate.”
Human says a VIP lounge will be provided for networking, but points out that other serious content connected with the Loeries includes a seminar held by the international judges four weeks before Loeries weekend in July, and the Loerie Awards book. “We don’t want it to be an alienating process, but the function must remain celebratory. It’s an opportunity for the whole industry to get together for a weekend. Some marketers are happy with Margate and Vodacom has shown this by coming in as a new major sponsor.”