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Industry Forum: Do advertising awards equate to brand success?

We asked: Do advertising awards equate to brand success?

Industry forum awards and brand success


Ali Aboukhreibe

Director of strategy, Boopin


In some cases, awards that come from well reputed bodies can push a brand’s agenda and signify brand success. A brand’s success needs to account for more than just awards. It should include factors like relevance, liveability, continuance, sustainability and many others. A brand’s success should also look at consumer perception and social contribution.

Finally, many entries might qualify for an award, but awarding one to three entrants per category can result in leaving great work done by others in the shadows. Within context, awards are essential to recognise outstanding submissions, but aren’t an exclusive metric of brand success.

Badr Bourji

Director of marketing, executive office, Experience Hub, Yas Island


Despite the evolution of advertising over the years, industry awards have remained more creative-centric rather than brand- and consumer-centric. For the most part, they operate in a silo from true brand success metrics and are more focused on trends and creative insights rather than real impact. The majority of the work being celebrated as the benchmark of creativity is arguably no more successful than non-awarded work. Successful brands become more relevant with their consumers over-time, whereas successful creative awards are only as relevant as their 2- or 3-minute case studies to the judges in the room.

Adrian Mutescu

Strategy director, Havas Creative Middle East


If that were the case, every brand that has award-winning work would automatically be successful.

While award-winning advertising contributes to a brand’s image, meaningful communications and experiences are what pave the way for brand success. That makes people care about the brand and connect with it.

It’s the sum of all interactions the consumer will have with the brand that leads to its success – from a coherent purpose, transactional communications and social engagements to purchase experience or the product usage itself.

It’s the success of that journey that makes a brand succeed, and sometimes this gets to be recognised
and awarded.

Khaled Al Shehhi

Executive director of marketing and communication, UAE Government Media Office


As much as I know that the awards we win are for real and successful campaigns that meet their objectives, there are limits to awards as a benchmark of brand success. First, not all awards go to large-scale brand campaigns. We still have to contend with ghosts and stylistic exercises limited in time and space that demonstrate the entrant’s abilities rather than actual work. Second, not all brands measure success at all or in the same way, so awards don’t all have it as a consistent criterion for judging. In many awards, the balance still tilts in favour of creative considerations. However, harder metrics of performance and effectiveness are increasingly at present, so we may be shifting positions.

Mario Morby

Head of strategy, FP7


We all know the relationship between award-winning creativity and brand effectiveness; it’s conventional agency wisdom that’s often used to sell bold ideas to clients. However, it’s a correlation, not a causation; advertising awards are not a predictor of brand success. Research agency System 1 discovered something painful (depending on your view of awards) when analysing Campaign UK’s 2019 ‘Turkey of the Week’ ads. They found that, on average, Turkey of the Week brands had a better market success and performance than Cannes Lions and Grand Prix winners. Sure, awards are good for agency morale, but the most important jury is consumers.

Mazen Jawad

CEO, Horizon Holdings


Advertising awards, such as the Cannes Lions Festival for example, do equate in many instances to the brand’s success, especially when we take into account the brand’s purpose while we crystallise the business issue – ‘The Right Bit’, for example, referring to one of our planning tools, hence activating the brand and driving results.

There are many awards festivals out there. Many of them respectfully evaluate work serving their objective of celebrating creativity that drives an economic multiplier, the reason of our existence and our focus as we create a constant balance between timeless work that builds the brand in line with timely activations that yield business results

Riya Vatnani

Group account director, Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy


This is a far more perplexing question than one might think. Creative award wins are definitely important and can aid agencies in recruiting top talent and new clients, and unlocking networking opportunities. However, they do not equate to brand success, as creativity is a metric not determined by the number of trophies on your wall.

Advertising, as showmanship of brand success, is determined by ROI, earned media and through-and-through quantifiable success metrics, which may include awards. However, said awards should never be sole determinants of performance.

Sachin Brian Mendonca

Chief creative strategist, YouExperience


Awards unquestionably have a positive impact, whether it is boosting morale, pushing boundaries or even generating a healthy competitive environment that persuades you to think differently.

But brand success is certainly not equated to awards. There are more examples of brands launching products, obliterating sales targets
and straight up beating the competition that we would never consider award-worthy.

Here’s a clue: There’s not a single brand out there ‘awarding’ their business to an agency solely based on their award record. Why is that?

Sevgi Gur

Chief marketing officer, Property Finder


It’s a tricky question. Awards inspire us to come with bigger and bolder ideas to set higher standards in the market. However, when it comes to measuring brand success, some awards’ criteria are probably not set up to tell us what the business priorities are. Earning awards as a brand can also not mean marketeers were successfully able to drive key results or the brand had a successful campaign. In today’s world, a brand’s success is a much more complicated task involving several factors that can be achieved by incorporating creativity with data and science. Additionally, I strongly believe that the brand’s success is heavily dependent on the brand’s product and user experience since a remarkable consumer experience is at the heart of every successful business.

Siddarth Sivaprakash
Head Of Marketing Homecentre Landmark GroupSiddarth Sivaprakash

Head of marketing, Homecentre, Landmark Group


I would start by reversing that equation. I think brand success can equate to award-winning advertising. A successful brand is obviously doing most things right which, by virtue, would include how creatively and effectively it markets itself to its customer base. And while good advertising doesn’t have to be award-worthy, I believe that brands that manage to sustain a successful trajectory, do so by being innovative, bold, meaningful and customer-centric, all of which make for the perfect ingredients for truly award-winning advertising.

Shafi alamShafi Alam

Director of direct to consumers & corporate marketing, Samsung Gulf Electronics


Advertising awards only indicate a campaign’s success if the awarding entity is credible and the end goal is to highlight effective campaigns without a monetary expectation if a brand wins. Such awards set the bar high and inspire marketers to push boundaries and challenge themselves and their teams. However, given the state of the industry today, only a handful of brands are pushing themselves to truly understand their products and audience groups, aspiring for bigger, more creative and effective campaigns that not only leave a lasting impression but build brand affinity.

Shyam Sunder

Vice-president of marketing, TBO.com


Paul Hirsh, CCO at Doremus recently spoke at Cannes, where he said that creativity is an economic multiplier. It doesn’t matter whether it’s at the brand or the demand-gen level. It’s simply better for business to stand out than blend in. To me, that’s always been a fundamental, a basic if you are in the business of building brands. And creativity matters irrespective of if you are in the B2C or B2B or D2C space. At the end of the day, we are in the H2H business, humans talking to humans. In today’s day and age of extreme clutter and time-poor attention spans, we must be relevant, meaningful and authentic. If these three criteria are met, then advertising awards do help build brands. As with everything in this world, there are exceptions – like Pizza Hut struggling in business despite its award winning work. But the rule is that if a business has a good product, knows its customers well, is priced right and is easily accessible, then award-winning work that helps differentiate that brand from its competitors will only accelerate its success.

Tamara Habib

Chief operating officer, Netizency


If we think that a consumer has ever decided to buy a product or a service because that brand won an advertising award for it, then we are probably a bit delusional. Consumers simply don’t care about advertising awards. So, the answer to the question: do advertising awards equate to brand success is, quite simply, no.

But what if we tweaked the question a little bit? Does creativity equate to brand success? The answer here is yes. It has been proven time and again that creativity allows for brands to deliver business success. So I think the real question we should be asking here is: do advertising awards drive creativity?