Don’t let advertising awards undermine your company’s success.

Don’t let advertising awards undermine your company’s success.

When it comes to your company’s financial health, how do you keep score? By the number of advertising awards on your wall or by the numbers on your bottom line?

The answer seems obvious, but you could be unwittingly blinded on occasion by the glamor of awards. That’s fine, as long as those ads also increased sales (or donations or votes or whatever the ads were supposed to do).

There are awards programs out there that measure advertising’s return on investment, not how clever the ads are. But most ad agencies don’t enter those competitions, because ROI isn’t as much fun as writing zany headlines!

Yet ROI is all that should matter. Hilarity should always take a back seat to driving sales. Advertising, whether wacky or serious, should simply be a tool for improving your bottom line.

When ad people and ad agencies are young, awards are important to them. Those honors show they’ve arrived. Agencies can reinforce how creative they are by presenting clients with a copy of their award. (You’re glancing at that award on your wall right now, aren’t you? That’s OK. Leave it up.)

But the lure of awards eventually wears off. Or at least it should. We’ve been part of more than a hundred ad award wins over the years, but so what? Twenty-some years ago we stopped entering those competitions.

Why? Because it was more important to focus on what our clients were trying to accomplish, not on what we were trying to win. An ad that says “50% off everything” is not creative at all. But it packs the store with customers.

We’re pretty sure that’s how you prefer to keep score, too.

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