Do UK agencies really care about advertising effectiveness? Or, as some cynics believe, is the Grail of ‘creativity’ a safer quest than accountability?

In the wake of this week’s IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards, its organisers are asking that question. Despite a massive PR campaign to boost the number of entries to seventy from last year’s fifty-four, a mere 52 were submitted for judgement, while only half of the nation’s top twenty agencies were represented among the entrants.

Around the agency parish pump a number of reasons for opting-out are being peddled: The substantial time investment necessary to prepare a 4,000-word case study is one. Another is the need to switch planners from chasing new business to the award submission; and the growth of less demanding "effectiveness" contests.

IPA members are now asking whether the event has had its day? First launched twenty years ago in an effort to counter client scepticism about above-the-line accountability, some people believe that the case was proven long ago and that greater emphasis should now be accorded to integrated campaigns.

The post-awards inquest is considering a number of options to recommend to the IPA Council next year. They include stepping-up the event’s frequency from alternate years to annually; merging it with the Account Planning Group awards; amending the entry criteria; or axing the awards altogether.

Meantime, back in the real world, this year's Grand Prix was awarded to Lowe Lintas for its Tesco campaign. BMP won the accolade ‘Effectiveness Agency of the Year’ for agencies billing more than £100 million; while the equivalent for shops billings under that figure went to Manchester's BDH TBWA.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)