Part of my job is to attend and report on conferences related to the advertising and related industries. It often takes me around the region from to Japan to Bangladesh and I even get invites to shows in the Middle East, France, UK and USA which I either do not have the time to attend or the organisers do not feel me important enough to flip me an air ticket.
Often I meet or see delegates who have been attending the other shows during the year. They obviously enjoy coming to such events.
But spare a thought for the journalists. A young magazine writer will have to sit through every session in case he misses something his editor wants to include. During lunch or tea breaks he will be interviewing the ‘stars’ or trying to beat the competition by filing a story for the digital edition.
After the conference, he or she will, also need to join the delegates at the cocktail parties. In the case of Spikes Asia, a number of agencies played host to the delegates. One writer from a trade magazine said wearily, “I have no choice, I have to attend all six agency parties tonight.”
Maybe someone should recognise the stamina it takes for journalists as well as delegates to sit through all the seminars and workshops and attend all the parties in the evening. We deserved an award, too.
It struck me that event organisers are happily giving awards to every piece of communication and every company and person loosely associated with the industry. This year Spikes Asia added PR and Mobile to the awards presented. Its rival Thailand’s AdFest also seems to invent a new category every time I attend.
Of course, it is lucrative to add new categories. A few hundred more entries can give enough income to buy a luxury car in most countries.
Other categories are added to garner sponsorship support and perhaps some are included because the organisers feel they have to expand the show and keep interest alive.
But seriously, how many more Agency of the Year awards does the region need? We have Agency Network of the Year, Independent Agency of the year, Media Agency of the Year, Advertiser of the Year, Best Newcomer, Lifetime Achievement Awards, all being handed out like lollipops by magazines, trade associations and event organisers. Sitting though all these awards in one night is a test of one’s ability to stay awake as a continual stream of people climb in stage to pose for photographs.
I would plead for support for more focused award shows like MMA mobile Awards. We have at least two regional digital awards, a specialist outdoor awards, a well-supported annual PR awards, media industry awards from the 4As, the Asian publishing industry awards and Singapore Design Awards.
The audience and participants for these shows work within that particular sector. In advertising we talk about targeting until it comes to award shows!
Let’s trim down the generalist shows and help the specialist shows to blossom. Organisers, please stop adding category after category. I just don’t have the stamina to sit through 3 hour presentation of gold cups, glass pyramids etc even if there was an award for me at the end.
But I am often surprised at how often I meet the agency or client representative at the same shows.