All in all, it was an epicfierce weekend. I was 6 rows from the awesomeness that is Riaan Cruywagen, as he MC’d Saturday night’s Loeries shindig, I got to klap gym, boet with Slicktiger himself – as a result I am typing this with T-rex arms – and best of all, I got to hang with Usher.

Ursher, Ursher!

This is the first time we entered the Loeries. The kind advertising folk decided that it was time to allow PR – the ginger step child of the communications’ world – into the cool kids club. The problem with advertisers – they don’t understand PR. And vice versa. PR thinks advertising is all about blow and hookers. Advertising thinks PR is sending pretty Christmas cards to journalists.

After taking Gold in the social media category at the Prisms – the dedicated PR awards – earlier in the year for the Nando’s Cell C ripoff campaign we worked on, it was a no-brainer for us to enter the new Loeries ‘internet PR’ category.

When the shortlist was announced a couple months back, I jizzed in my pants when I received the news that Mel Attree and I were up against FNB’s Cannes short-listed work from the World Cup and Stimorol’s Heart Gingers campaign – we all know how difficult it is making people love gingers so that seemed like a natural winner in my opinion.

Flights, accommodation, car hire and the rest of our schedule was arranged with Saturday night in mind. With the success of the campaign at the Prisms, we expected greatness, or at least a certificate to recognise the campaign that had attracted 100,000 YouTube views in less than 5 days. Check it out HERE

I got all cleaned up, even put a tie on, felt like I was going to vomit all day I was so nervous, but when the student awards came and went, the male voice-over nonchalantly described that there were NO winners in our category. No Loerie. No silver. No bronze. Not even a measly certificate. Sweet F-A!

Before you start throwing out the ‘have some cheese with your whine you bitter loser’ chirps, we were part of the silver award winning team with Black River FC for the Nando’s work entered into the ‘Integrated Campaign’ award the following night, thank you very much 😉

I do have some thoughts for the Loeries. You knew that there were no winners in our category, but you still happily took our R4500 to attend your awards, you allowed me to spend cold hard cash on my hotel accommodation, R551.83 for my weekend car hire, this after we spent about R4000 entering one award (entry fee and the costs of having a designer produce a pretty picture of how our campaign unrolled, as per your award guidelines), along with 3000 other people. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to pay for my flights – the kind folks at the WTFMedia Conference covered that one since I’m talking there on Friday – because that could have easily been another couple of grand to add to the equation.

The likes of Fleishman, however sent its team down, purely for the awards.

New agencies such as mine need to enter and win awards to play the bigger cock competition. To prove to clients that don’t know who we are that we are a good horse to back. And that we are shit-hot at what we do. Well, we are shit-hot at what we do. The business results that our online communications’ strategies have yielded are indicative of people who care about their clients’ sales and not campaigns that cost hundreds of thousands of Rands to garner only a few eyeballs.

We will, however, continue to produce epicfierce work, and enter your awards, just so I can walk on stage to accept that gold bird, while simultaneously flipping your photographer the bird 😉

I’d love to hear what the rest of you think. Am I just being a self-opinionated douche or do you feel the same?

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  • Bee on Sep 20th 2011 at 09:59

    The nature of the beast, I’m afraid. Life’s not always fair.

  • Craig Jamieson on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:02

    That’s actually quite shocking to hear they awarded nobody. Have they given any justification as to why there were no birds handed out at all in your category? I’ve always heard these sorts of things are more a political exercise, the judges are ex winners and you know they’ll pick their own, it’s probably why I care so little about local awards, even though I do understand the value it could bring to a small business. But the judges for your categories, well who the F are they? Unless of course they are PR people and they are holding out for their own campaigns to be entered. I would prod a little, try and find out why they made the decision they did. Sorry dude, better luck next time.

  • David Greenway (@davegreenway) on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:02

    What a bunch of Cocktonsils

    Surely they could have imparted this little gem of information a bit earlier.

    Sadly as you say they just don’t understand PR.

    Good on you for being nominated and for suiting up and rocking it out,

  • DaveTheCarGuy on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:04

    Ouch, that’s shitty. And you had gone to all that effort of getting down to the ceremony too. I’d be very pissed off.

    My loathing for the Loeries has, again, been justified. Bunch of smug hippies!

  • stack on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:16

    I wholeheartedly agree, its damn hard to be the lil guy in the “big playground” – their budgets make ours look like toilet roll spend – seriously a bit crap that they couldnt just have let you know that there was no winner!! I loved your campaign and HUGE kudos for the Prism – at least they understand PR and the impact the campaign had!

  • Jaxi on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:21

    No one won in my category either. I think we are the ‘haters’ they speak of… at least the tequila was good… oh wait they wouldn’t serve that in VIP. meh.

  • Cederdog on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:22

    I flipped them the bird before the weekend. Political bullshit.

  • Cederdog on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:25

    Oh and try winning Cannes Grand Prix and not even get nominated for Loeries.

  • Gary Meyer on Sep 20th 2011 at 10:59

    The coolest thing for you mate.. the work is good enough that you do play in the big leagues sans the awards. Keep rocking.

  • Chad Nelson on Sep 20th 2011 at 11:09

    PR is outdoing above-the-line advertising on all levels for a fraction of the cost, it would be criminal for the ad industry to actually award that. Sorry Mike, but incest is best in the ad industry – a largely closed circle, er I mean creative circle, boys club pat on the back type industry that does not know how to award a campaign that delivers real results and has the actual numbers to prove it. The David Hasselhoff smoke and mirrors razz pizzazz show is reflective of the level of “strategic” creativity that walks away with the loot. Maybe the 4500 big ones were to help fly the Hoff out and to re-stock his mini fridge!

  • Chris Onderstall on Sep 20th 2011 at 11:25

    This year I am planning the most awesome Christmas card for my clients, totally a Loerie Gold

  • Mark Smith on Sep 20th 2011 at 03:31

    golden. well said mr sharman. fk em. advertising will die in a blitz of ROI. Every day i am staving off another creative directors mastu****** session.

    Make it work, make it deliver, and then make it pretty. Craigslist best example.


  • Melody Maker on Sep 20th 2011 at 04:06

    Don’t sweat it dude, its such a circle jerk anyway – same people win the awards year after year. You and Mel are doing stellar work and clients will recognise that sans little gold bird or not. As for the cash you spent, that’s a tricky one as you will probably never get it back – some creative somewhere has already schnarffed it all away…. I vote – lets just start our own awards or instead of paying around 9k for a bronze bird – heck pay me 9k and I’ll give you 10 bronzed birds, I have a few seagulls that frequent my balcony 😉

  • Sue on Sep 20th 2011 at 06:35

    No winners in some categories?

    Erm, WTF?

    What an epicolossal waste of time and money. I’d be hacked too.

  • Quin on Sep 21st 2011 at 08:19

    Gosh… I would seriously think of suing them for all the money I wasted on NOTHING!!!
    Yeah better luck next time hey*

  • SheBee on Sep 21st 2011 at 10:48

    Sharminator: I do understand why you’re upset about not being told there’d be no winner – they should’ve communicated that. It sucks you went there with a totally different outcome, and for that I’m bummed for you. Couldn’t have been a cool feeling.

    But, in saying that, I do have some conflicting opinions on this whole post & it’s contributors in the comments section.

    Sharminator’s blog readers: As a disclaimer, I’m not a fan of the circle jerking most industry get together’s have become, so please don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not defending the Loeries, but rather the attitude expressed by the industry members in this thread, honestly – it is too much.

    Guys, really? Suing the Loeries for travel money (Quin)? Come now… what if there had been a winner? Would you all still be so pissed about spending the money to get there if you’d won? You’d all be ranting and raving about the awesome awards show if you’d been one of the winners, and how cool everyone was, and how brilliant the VIP sections were. But because there was no winner, now it’s all negativity and bull shit. This is the perfect example of why I avoid these things. No matter what you do, there will be haters. And usually it reeks of sour grapes and deflated egos.

    I’m not here to flame war, guys, I just think that if you all took a step back and thought about this carefully, your attitude would be totally different if the shoe was on the other foot.

    • Mike on Sep 21st 2011 at 03:03

      Thanks for the comment Sheena. As always – really appreciate your insights 😉

  • Ben Wagner on Sep 27th 2011 at 08:03

    Hey Mike,

    Great post and one I definitely can identify with.

    Without sounding patronising I really think you should roll with the punches on this one and celebrate the learnings (again without sounding like a know-it-all).

    The cycle of success around awards is one that continuously changes and you only have to look at some of the big name shops (Quirk, AquaOnline, Trigger – who were agency of the year last year) who didn’t feature at all this year, to see that this is a long term play, a 5 day game if you like.

    We were super bummed last year and felt that we’d worked hard enough to convert at least half of our finalists (8 in total). Sadly, it was not to be and all we got was a solitary bronze. Check out my sad lament for more:

    Fortunately my story does have a silver lining in that amongst all the post-merger work, and trust me when I say this there is HEAPS, we managed to work on a piece of work that struck a chord with the judges and we managed to take the next step up and won two silvers as well as the mobile award (Incidently I was predicting Gold like a clown).

    Believe me when I say this, the digital industry is not about patting each other on the back, but rather in showcasing the best of the best. I think this is evident in how well HelloComputer performed (hugely deserved) and you can ask anyone on their team on how much work this transformation has taken.

    The category not being awarded thing is a reality of awards shows and I’ve seen this happen across most awards shows and is unfortunately part of the table stakes.

    Look forward to seeing you at the Bookmarks and please remember that I’ll be the first to buy you the first round if you have a pixel in your hand.


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