Bad Design Wins Awards

On accountability in design, and have you ever wondered why you’ve never seen half of those adverts that win the design and advertising awards?

That’s because agencies create them specifically to win awards. They get run once in obscure  magazines or TV channels at 5am and they qualify as “real” advertisements. Some of them aren’t even endorsed by the organisations that they’re advertising.

Take DDB Brasil’s latest “award winning” ad for example:

Anyone with an ounce of common sense would stay as far away as possible from such a terrible idea. Needless to say DDB Brasil were eventually stripped of their award, but why did they get one in the first place? What happened to awarding advertisements based on the return for clients? Surely that’s the only reason ads exist in the first place.


Watch the PSFK Good Ideas in Advertising video here. The panel makes an excellent point about accountability - i.e. the agencies responsibility towards the outcome of a campaign. Awarding ads like the one above certainly doesn’t promote accountability. I don’t think the problem is just within advertising, it’s widespread across all design and media. I often look at the stuff that wins design awards and ask myself how has the client benefited?

As a website designer I have to take on accountability. Once a site is designed and built the client may continue to pay for hosting and continuing SEO amongst other services. A website is a marketing tool just like a TV ad. We take on responsibilities for it’s success and in return we continue to produce better, more relevant, and more successful websites.

I’m by no means an expert, but I’m sure clients love hearing how they’ll be successful, and not how I’ll be successful (at the award shows).

Here is a nice rant - Award Shows Need To Evolve Or Die at The Denver Egotist (via Sell! Sell!).

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