These awards matter most to clients because they are about proving the effectiveness of advertising. It's good to recognise innovation and creativity in media and we have a range of awards to do that, but if those qualities don't contribute to effectiveness, they are a hollow indulgence.
This year I was thrilled to be in Edinburgh to witness a media agency, MediaCom, go up to collect the Grand Prix for the first time. It was an equal partner, with Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, on the Trident anti-gun crime campaign for the Metropolitan Police Service.
This is so significant. Media agencies have struggled for years to play a full part in these rigorous awards. The first step was to get media's contribution to producing effective work recognised. When O2 won the Grand Prix a few years ago, my former agency PHD was not given credit for the brilliant media ideas that were written about. But after PHD cried foul, the IPA ensured that, in future, any contributor to work featured should get a credit.
But producing effective work is only half of it. You have to be able to prove your work made the difference and this can be an almighty task, requiring you to isolate the effect of advertising from distribution, pricing, competitive activity and a ream of other possible influences. The best media agencies are now deeply entwined in their clients' businesses, with many providing econometric services themselves. This truly is media agencies coming of age.
So congratulations to MediaCom and other winners. Media Planning Group won silver single-handedly for Magners. Vizeum and MediaCom Scotland co-authored another two winners and the BJL Group, a full-service agency, won two awards.
This is not about courtesy to media agencies. I like to believe those entries were enormously improved by the collaboration between creative and media agencies.
There are still firsts waiting to be claimed by a media agency. You could still be the first media agency to author the Grand Prix alone or to win Effectiveness Agency of the Year.
So get cracking. It's not too early to start gathering evidence for next year's entries. Winning's always good; but just compiling an entry will make you appreciate what really matters in media.
- Tess Alps is chief executive of Thinkbox (www.thinkbox.tv) firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published on Media Week