Effies 2020 | A View from the Effies Steering Committee

Posted 1 July 2020.

​The Effies are all about confidence. DT - 21 June 2020

Whether it’s buoyant times or tough times like we’re facing as a result of COVID-19, confidence is critical for a healthy economy. The marketing and advertising industries have a huge role to play in rebuilding this confidence. As well as driving sales, we help create the public face for the high-profile organisations, businesses and brands that shape that economy.

The Effie Awards is a chance to lead the way by showing an unshaken confidence in our own industry, and our huge contribution to the bottom line.

We need the case studies, we need the numbers, we need the stories, we need the powerful brands and, perhaps most of all, we need the heroes. With any marketing, it takes the right mix of rational argument and salient emotional connection to be influential. The Effies helps do both for our industry. It creates that one time of the year when we take the time to carefully scrutinise, compare and learn. And it literally puts clever, confident ideas and clever, confident people on a pedestal where they can inspire us all.

There will be a few challenges or questions in mind for marketers and agencies considering entering the Effies this year. Here are four of the common ones, along with considered responses.

• Agencies may be reluctant to add the necessary data-sourcing etc. to a client’s current worries.

We’ve seen an increased interest from marketers in any opportunity to prove the value of their contribution to business. This includes evidence-based awards. The Effie ‘Step Up’ theme and its recognition of outstanding individual marketers directly supports this.

• COVID caused confusion or put a stop to any meaningful measurement or attribution.

The Effie eligibility period includes 21 months prior to the impact of COVID. Normally on-going campaigns with results stopping short of the Effie cut-off date would raise suspicion with judges. This year judges will be more than open to campaigns proving significant effects only up to the 25th March Lockdown. Of course, campaigns that can show results all the way up to the end of June will still be very welcome.

• COVID put a dent in results, so we can’t claim effectiveness.

Some have a mistaken belief that sales, or whatever appropriate measure, have to go up to prove effectiveness. We all like a hockey-stick graph, but it’s not compulsory. Many effectiveness awards (including UK’s exceptionally rigorous IPAs) have been won by campaigns that maintained sales, or in some cases showed declining sales and even share, that should have been much worse. The challenge, as always, remains to tell a compelling evidence-based story showing that advertising made the positive difference.

• Agency resource is under immense, ever-changing pressure, so it’s hard to justify the time to write Effie Award entries.

Agencies are feeling the same kind of pressure as most businesses. It’s hard to keep your eye on the bigger long-term picture e.g. brand-building, when there are so many short-term concerns. Yet the evidence shows that’s what businesses should do to compete and grow, and we are advising our clients accordingly. If we believe our own advice, we should follow it, and continue to invest in our own brands and build and reinforce perceptions of our contributions to NZ business. Winning at Effies helps do that.

New Zealand’s response to the virus put us on the world stage. Let’s use the Effies to celebrate and inspire New Zealand’s marketers, and demonstrate how we can help them restore New Zealand’s economy in a similarly enviable way.

Written by David Thomason (DT).