05 Glug Brighton X CANNT summer party

By Martin Thomas, Writer

Last night we donned our loudest Hawaiian shirts and finest plastic garlands and shared a Pimms or two with some of Brighton’s finest creative industry folk at the Glug Brighton X CANNT Summer Party at The Vine Club.

The theme of the evening was industry awards – promoted by The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity going on in the south of France this week…

Juliet Tzabar and Dominic Minns from Plug-in Media and Matt Baxter of Baxter & Bailey talked about the yin and yang of awards and the love-hate relationship most of us have with them.

“Competitions are for horses, right?” said Dominic, “but we must be populist too – and awards definitely help.” He said winning a BAFTA in 2005 kick-started Plug-in Media’s focus on kids’ material – until then they had worked on general advertising work.

But, he added, being asked to judge awards scheme had given the Plug-in Media pair an enlightening ‘glimpse under the bonnet’, revealing that they’re not always decided strictly on the quality of submitted work.

Matt Baxter agreed that awards can be nepotistic, exclusive and expensive – he calculated that entering just one D&AD award category cost his agency more than £800 in entry fees, design work, printing, ceremony ticket and travel.

But despite the downside, the speakers agreed that awards are hugely motivational for winning teams. They can help you get to know your industry peers. And they can inspire confidence. For Matt, winning a D&AD award as a student gave him the confidence to move from Burnley to London and seek out his first agency job. And Baxter & Bailey’s distinctive work for Brighton Women’s Centre helped inspire the BWC team to get their important message out to a wider audience.

In this finely balanced debate, there’s one final factor to take into account. It’s something that both agencies agreed on. And it tips the scales in favour of awards. Because ultimately, whatever you’ve won and whatever it’s for, awards make your mum proud. And in the end, that’s all that really matters.

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