Twenty essays have been shortlisted for the Admap Prize 2013. Contestants were asked to address the question: Can brands maximise profits and be a force for social good? in an essay of 2,000 to 2,500 words.
Essays explored the tension around brands' primary obligation to maximise profit and shareholder value and a new obligation to be a force for good. This force for good can be manifested in many ways – environmental/sustainability, community, quality of life, health, personal esteem, happiness, spiritual need.
These are not necessarily conflicting objectives. Indeed, it can be argued that brand reputation is one of the most important factors in ensuring profit growth. If brands are not seen as a force for good, their reputation and shareholder value can be destroyed overnight by the massed forces of social media et al. And if they are seen as a force for good, then the associated uplift in consumer engagement and brand sentiment can greatly enhance brand loyalty, sales and profits.
Nevertheless, some brands and some sectors have been very adept at marrying these twin objectives, while others are still wrestling with the challenge – Cause Marketing is still seen as a marketing expense. There is also some debate about what Cause Marketing or Corporate Social Responsibility really are, what the objectives are, and how the benefits can be measured.
There were 102 essays submitted for the Prize from 24 different countries. The Judging Panel remarked on the high quality of entries. Guy Murphy, Worldwide Planning Director at JWT, commented: "They were a stimulating read. I was expecting lots of clichés, but we got lots of originality, and the standard was very high."
The 20 shortlisted entrants are: