The Rewards (Emotional and Otherwise) of Award Shows

Validation Beyond Client Sales

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I just finished up being the radio jury president for the London International Awards for the first time. For those of you who haven't been yet, I would recommend it. It is a very fun show, with a lively crowd. I have a special affinity for the LIA as it is the first show I ever attended. In 2002, I had no idea what award shows were all about, but the people of the LIA were kind, gracious and willing to give a small fish like myself a chance to taste some of the good life.

Over the years, the work we've done has been recognized in a few places. Most notably, I was lucky enough to win a Radio Mercury Award in 2003 (for a spot I entered almost as an afterthought). What was most rewarding about that win wasn't the award itself but rather the personal and professional relationships I have built with the wonderful people of the Radio Advertising Bureau over the years.

Last year, I was privileged to have given out two Radio Mercury Awards. One for the 30-second category and one for the student prize. The student prize was especially sweet since I teach at Mt. Hood Community College in their integrated media program back home. Handing Steve Nathans (then at The Creative Circus) the Radio Mercury Award trophy was tremendous because I could tell that he was genuinely excited that he had won. There is a certain smile that one gets in winning for the first time. It's a sort of perma-grin that is fun to see.

Last night, I handed three gold statues to Greycanada Toronto's Jonathan Careless in the IDA (It Didn't Air) category. Even though the spots never aired, it was fantastic work and I was very proud to hand that statue to him. It was also a real treat to watch the other winners VikingFM, London Creative, Carton Donofrio Partners/Baltimore, start/Munich, Grey/Istanbul and the gang from Global Ideas/Nottingham.

Just like the Radio Mercury Awards, nights like this make me very proud to be in this industry and even more proud to hold the torch for radio and audio. I know that there is a sentiment in some places that awards aren't important. I suppose in some ways, I understand it. But an award is that peer recognition for work that (hopefully) has been effective as well as creative. As advertising professionals, we're hired to do a commercial job first. The reward of an award is a wonderful benefit of doing exceptional work.

Everything I saw and heard last night clearly must have worked for the clients. It was all remarkable work that obviously made an impact. But what was most important for me was the pure enjoyment I felt in handing out those statues. Sure, winning is fun but I'll gladly give out awards all day to see the smiles and pride of the winners who will go back home and show the hardware, for a job well done, to their colleagues.
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