If the recent preponderance of interactive award shows is any indication, 1998 could be the year creative advertising on the Web gets its due recognition.
"Ultimately people may make jokes about award shows, but let's face it, if you win a Clio, you're going to get a raise or your agency will get more clients and you'll both get recognized," said Evan Neufeld, analyst with Jupiter Communications. "Whatever I personally think about the Oscars, the fact is, winning one means putting butts in the seats and increasing ticket sales."
ONE SHOW INTERACTIVE DEBUTS
The large advertising shows are starting to recognize new media as its own category or show. The One Show, sponsored by the One Club in New York, for the first time held the One Show Interactive as a separate event last week and will publish a separate publication and CD-ROM on the show.
The Cannes International Advertising Festival has added cyber advertising as a separate category to its June awards. New York Festivals International doubled the number of Internet categories from 1997 and is emphasizing advertising for the first time in its fall Interactive Multimedia Awards show. And last week, the Webby Awards created the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.
`THERE WASN'T ENOUGH OUT THERE'
One of the reasons is that the award shows follow the work, said Gerald Goldberg, president of New York Festivals.
"We're emphasizing advertising now because before there wasn't enough out there and what was didn't merit award attention. It tended to be more experimental," he said. He and other show executives said the shows also inspire newcomers to the field.
"What's really important is not only the recognition, but it's also about all advertising professionals to be able to discuss the Internet as a new medium and know what is being created," said Romain Hatchuel, CEO of International Advertising Ltd., which puts on Cannes.
Award shows also lend credibility and validation to the new media industry.
LOOKING FOR CREATIVE STANDARDS
"It was necessary and it was time," said Mary Warlick, executive director of the One Club. "The One Show has a very strong brand and I think people looking for a creative standard in an industry that doesn't have a lot of standards look here."
The creation of a book and CD-ROM will give the award recipients not only something to show clients, but also a source of what's good in the industry, she said.
Mr. Neufeld said with the increase of awards, the industry should be careful to keep high standards and not just add a new media category because it's popular.
"Like the Academy Awards, there are always a couple of groaners in there," he said. "You don't want the Internet category to become the `Oh no, it's time for the bathroom break' kind of award."
Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.