Friday, November 12, 2004

Automotive advertising awards time

The International Automotive Advertising Awards (IAAA), modestly self-described as "advertising's most turbulent, creative, and challenging arena" is still accepting nominations for the 2004 awards. There are 118 categories, which pretty much guarantees that everyone's a winner.

Sadly, my favorite TV ad for the Corvette got pulled because too many people thought it encouraged kids to joy-ride.

My personal "best of" nomination goes to Audi for their brilliant use of dynamic Flash in a viral campaign for the A3 Sportback. They sent individuals a personalized e-mail pointing them to a movie online which featured a Minority Report-like engineer using a futuristic computer system to discover that the DNA of the Audi is a perfect match to the DNA of person viewing the video. How cool was it to see Godfrey Parkin scrolling across the screen? And of course you could submit the name and e-mail address of all your friends so that they too would get their very own personalized movie. Forsprung durch Technik, all the way.

Problem is, there's no category for trans-media strokes of genius like this. There's "Print" and "Television" and "Newspaper" of course, a unique category for every type of vehicle you can imagine. And in the more interactive area there's a section labeled "Interactive Media":
86. Corporate Web Site
87. Brand Web Site
88. Microsite
89. Retail/Sales Web Site
90. Web Promotion / Event
91. Simple Banners (link only)
92. Rich Media Banners
93. Interactive Kiosks

Maybe microsite would cover it, or web promotion. But it's hardly adequate.

Why is it that advertising awards are usually classified by the medium in which they play out and the product category into which the advertised brand falls? What happened to customer focus, or even business performance? I have yet to see an award category like "market share gained" or "enquiries produced" or "attitudes changed" or "conversation generated" or "return on investment". Maybe it's because these award events are for the ad industry by the ad industry, and accountability for business results is rarely part of the brief.

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