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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Are award shows rigged to favor work from judge’s agency?

Are award shows rigged to favor work from judge’s agency?


I’m a ‘Young Creative’ that has entered the National Young Advertisers Awards competition that Canada Cannes holds every year for those 28 and under. I have a couple of questions that I’m sure many other YC’s would like to hear answered.
1- Do you believe that the agency name and creatives’ names should be displayed under the ads while the judges are looking at the creative? 2- Do you think they should use judges from outside of Canada in an effort to avoid the any potential favoritism or preconception that often seems to exist in locally judged shows.
In a number of past competitions, the National Young Advertisers Awards Young Creatives competition as well as other local shows (ie: Marketing Awards), there seems to be a connection between who judges and who wins. If I’m not mistaken the last two years have featured a winner, or runner-up based out of the same agency as the jury Chair/ jury members. Maybe it’s just a result of the best creatives being asked to judge, and thus the best creative comes from those shops, but it does seem biased.
With your experience judging, what sort of infuence can one member of a panel have on the entire judging comittee? Is it even possible for one judge to push a campaign from one of their own teams? Anonymous entry or not, it’s not like a judge has never seen their own teams’ work. In fact more likely they helped in the direction of it.
In the interest of knowing whether those of us from the less- publicized shops actually have a chance of winning, or we’re just funding free trips to Cannes – thanks in advance.

intro Are award shows rigged to favor work from judges agency?We’ve judged these shows and we can put your suspicions about rigged judging to rest. The correlation between jury members and their own agency doing award winning work at these contests would have to be simply that the award-winning agencies tend to have their CD’s invited to judge in the first place. These are the high profile CD’s, the ones who are getting the better work out of their departments. It would be super-cheesy for one of these CD’s to lobby for their own work; we’d have to say we haven’t seen that happen. The best work usually rises quickly to the top in a contest like this (and at most any awards show). It’s often pretty obvious what’s best. There’s always a lot of thoughtful discussion and debate over what deserves the top prize. People really do want to do the right thing and recognize the best work. It’s a poor reflection on the jury if the best goes unrecognized, and they know it. A CD who loved his own people’s work will still find themselves voting for the best work in the room, more often than not. They’d look bad to their peers, they know, if they lobbied for work that isn’t the best, that will quickly be revealed to be their own.

So in answer to your first question, no, we don’t think the agency name should be known when the jury judges, any more than a One Show entry would. And 2, we don’t think it’s necessary to have non-Canadian judges to pass an impartial judgement–especially as the normal reasons to wonder if that’s a better system aren’t really in place: it’s work that’s not already known to the jury (they aren’t sick of it already from seeing it run at length); they don’t know anything about who did it or the backstory to the production. The things that may subconsciously bias a local judge in a regular show just aren’t at play.

So relax and enter away: you have as good a chance of winning as anyone. You just have to have the best idea that day. So simple…

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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