A Year Without Award Shows?

It’s hard to think of another industry, with the possible exception of film or music, that has so many awards and award shows. We love patting ourselves on the back.

For creatives, our value is often measured by what awards we’ve managed to win. They also help agencies attract top talent. They give creatives something to strive for. And the actual award show parties, well they can be fun too. But is this all worth it?

Agencies spend tens of thousands of dollars entering award shows every year. They spend more money to fly people to the shows. With the current economic climate, what does this say about our priorities?

Being selected to judge a top show is perceived as a big honor, and the judges list often reads like a who’s who in the industry. But then there’s all the behind-the-scenes politicking that takes place at the shows. You vote for my campaign, I’ll vote for yours. Which kind of thing makes one wonder what a win is really worth.

A good friend and co-worker just wrote an interesting post proposing a year without award shows.

I’m interested to know what you think. On the one side, it’s always good to strive to do better, more creative work. And there’s nothing more inspirational than seeing all of the industry’s best work in one place. On the other hand, I can think of a long list of reasons why award shows are not the best way to judge what’s good, and why they’re actually more harmful to our industry than they are helpful.

What’s your take?