The Brand Agency withdraws from local awards

Comments (71)
Steve Harris.jpgThe Brand Agency has announced it will not be entering creative work in 2012 Perth Advertising & Design Club (PADC) awards. Brand Managing Director, Steve Harris (left), said that the decision was part of a broader whole-of-business strategy to bring a greater focus on delivering results for clients, and lifting the creative aspirations to national and international levels.

"None of our clients compete solely against WA businesses. They are all in a marketplace with national and global companies. We don't want to set a low benchmark for ourselves by being happy with Perth awards. This is part of a strategy to lift our aim and change our focus."

"When you talk with client CEOs they aren't even aware of the local awards and they don't have any bearing on how they view and engage with their agency. They are interested in the results that their agency can deliver, and the brand that their agency can build."

"Creative awards have their place, if they are managed correctly. They help raise standards because they should be about best practice, and they challenge creative agencies to be more inventive to the benefit of their clients. I think we've found over the years that being one of the most awarded agencies in the market has helped us attract the best talent."
"But we feel quite strongly that some awards have become too much about ego, and not enough about results. The world has changed and the ad industry hasn't. Agencies need to recalibrate their thinking."

The reality is that the local awards have become dominated by scam, and an agency can be very successful at awards shows if it undertakes a conscious strategy to win awards. This comes at a price, and the price is shifting your focus off what actually counts for your clients."

"We've analysed the local awards and in most years of the past decade over half of all winners have been either from scam or not-for-profit clients. Given this it's no wonder clients looking for a commercial outcome don't give them much credence."

"Unless and until that situation changes, we see no value for The Brand Agency in participating in the local awards. We will however continue to enter selected national and International awards because we think that will help us stretch to the standards we aspire to."

"The number one client turn off in a new business pitch is an agency that stands up and talks about all the creative awards it's won. As an agency we have a singular focus, and that is having a positive impact on the business of our clients."

Harris said that the Agency would still be part of the Oasis Ball which supports the Salvation Army's Oasis Project.

"We've just signed off on our Campaign Brief Awards entries for this year, but after this year we won't be entering the creative awards again in the current format. It's one of the best nights in Perth and The Brand Agency will continue to support it. This year we will once again probably have the largest presence of any agency, we've got a senior person on the committee and we subsidise staff tickets."

The Brand Agency is Perth's largest agency, with 95 Perth based staff, and offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.


A client said:

I am really looking forward to reading the comments on this one. Ding ding, seconds away, round 1.

Well done said:

That solves 90% of the PADC scam problem.

I'll be the first, then... said:

1. Galleria Toyota.

2. Enjo.

3. Channel Nine.

4. Every senior creative person still left at Brand has built their confidence and career on the 'ego-driven, scam-ridden awards system'.

5. If your clients don't care about cheap Perth awards, I'm sure they'll be delighted at the 3,000 Euro Cannes wins. The steps needed to be taken in order to compete at international level has much more serious consequences for an agency in terms of 'taking their eye off the ball'. How much of a client's time are you going to spend on building an international-level award case study?

6. Your juniors will wait in vain for any kind of recognition for years. Sadly, they'll leave before they get it.

7. If you're not entering the awards, you're fooling yourself by thinking that you're supporting the Oasis ball. Would you subsidise everyone's tickets for the chance to go to a local charity ball if there were no industry awards show attached to it? Get real. If everyone followed your lead the night wouldn't exist, simple as that.

8. If we're shutting down Perth award shows, why not just admit that we're not doing anything special and/or different and just consolidate all the agencies into one national conglomerate? Let's just move everything over East and pack up the whole shop. Half the clients have already done it anyway.

9. I hope you're going to be consistent in this position and ban all your creative teams from the Perth Caxton Creative Exercise and the $20,000 Perth Radio Writer's Award. Wouldn't want to look hypocritical now, would we?

Singo said:

That's my boy!!

Ross L said:

lol f#@* me....

I just can't get over the holier-than-though attitude.
My god....

and pssst, I know the real reason Steve....

Oh, and in before 200 comments!

Ricky said:

naw Steve... You didn't pick up any metal at the last PADC awards night eh?

The next award night is going to be a cracker. You won't be missed.

Pissed as a fart said:

What's wrong with just a good night out with industry friends. Taxi home of course!

wat said:

Great. Another Perth ad agency that thinks they're above being here.

Long memory said:

Gee seems Steve and co have forgotten how much of a bad run they were having a few years ago. I dare say a few of their 'ahem' ads that picked up local awards helped steady the ship. Good luck with your karma abusing goals of 2012.

Here we go again said:

Steve, do you really think 303, Marketforce, Meerkats, Gatecrasher are scammers who don't know how to produce results for their clients?

This is nothing more than a business ploy by you. I bet you have already emailed out a statement to all existing and potential clients and Perth's media bosses. So predictable.

This move is also designed to put your creative department (who, let's be honest here, are far and away the worst scam offenders over the past few years) back in place and make them compete with real brand building agencies like 303 and Meerkats.

A short email around your office would have done the same job.

Get me a bucket said:

I think Steve has his dates confused tomorrow is valentines day not April fools.

Where is the CEO ? said:

So the Brand CEO sits backs and lets his old pal do what ever he wants in Perth... Well he let it happen so it must have his and the boards full support. Of course he approved this decision and the decision to let him focus on being an AFL club president. Bring on the national awards... I wonder if he will send his staff to Award awards like his Bali junkets!

Shit Steve Harris Says said:

see above

Trisha from Perth Zoo said:

Which category do I fall under - scam-art or not for profit?

The truth said:

Here we go again is spot on. Steve sees a business advantage in this with the RAC up for review and other big pitches on.

Archibald said:

Now I know what that look was in that Harris portrait last week - it's the "If I have to sit through another PADC's and watch Meerkats and 303 win every award, I'm gunna vomit" look.

Next year someone just needs to bring the portrait to PADC's and no one will know the difference.

Jumbo said:

Trisha you are not for profit elephant-art.

I know we seemed really, really happy with all the awards we won on your account but it was all an act.

Can you please hand back the Client Of The Year Award you won last year?

Gone national said:

I see this story is now on the national blog. Should be interesting how the rest of Australia feels about this. It may have a similar response to the story on George Patts Melbourne withdrawing its support for the MADC Awards last year.

Proud to be from Perth said:

Brand is prepared to shit all over PADC and Campaign Brief but will spend weeks of preparation and the big expense of flying over to present to B&T for their crappy little state agency of the year award that no one cares about.

This from a person who was the PADC Patron just a few years ago.

Where's the parody? said:

Tom, would you mind doing a "Shit Steve Harris says" video for us ...thanks...

The Bronx Cheer said:

Just for entertainment sake, I really hope Brand win an award this year at OASIS. The crowd reaction will be one not to forget. The acceptance speech will be even better to hear! Good onya Steve, fair dinkum...

Get off your high horses said:

No body is defending the PADC maybe he is just speaking the truth

Official Freo Dockers Statement said:

This year the Dockers players will not be entering the Brownlow Medal or the Grand Final. We are focussing on winning the MVP in the NBA and the FA Cup.

Tom said:

The awards are so much better in Melbourne.

Senior Writer said:

There are no winners in this category.

... said:

"we don't want to set a low benchmark for ourselves by being happy with Perth awards".

Does this mean the Dockers' club champion awards are off this year also?

Swings n roundabouts said:

Okay, honestly, who cares that Brand is pulling out? I don't see the issue here. But wow, how much PR are they getting? Last week it was Meerkats with their 'Shit Perth People Say' and this week it's Brand pulling out of participating in the PADCs. People - who gives a flying? It's all swings and roundabouts.

Malcolm MacLean said:

Steve, this is extremely disappointing news to come from a past patron of the PADC.

You would be well aware that the PADC Award fees pretty much fund the Perth Advertising and Design Club's entire year of activities, including bringing guest speakers for the benefit of the entire industry, a weekend workshop with interstate and overseas judges, and education projects with students including those from Curtin University. The PADC also plays an active role in coordinating AWARD School in WA.

I suspect that the withdrawal of Brand Agency entry fees this year will cause a vibrant and financially healthy club to struggle.

For an agency which has done extremely well out of the PADC Awards for the last 20 years, it seems rather self-centred to suddenly pack up the bat and ball.

Surely the Brand's board, who have all profited handsomely from this industry, should take a moment to re-consider the bigger picture?



Kim Shaw said:

Nicely put Malcolm.

Pot Calling The Kettle Black said:

This really is the biggest load of hypocritical and contradictory drivel I've ever read. What's the real reason, Steve? Come on, for once in your life come owe it to the industry that pays you so handsomely!

Mal Functions said:

Mal 1
Steve 0

Ric Cairns said:

Couldn't agree more, Mal.

Me thinks said:

Would this have anything to do with the fact that Brand's creative department has basically lost all of its award-winning writers and art directors over the last 12 months?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another Perspective said:

I think Steve's comments reflect the wider agency view of the PADC awards.

Unless you're in the favoured circle, you've got no chance of winning. When was the last time a Bell Booth, Trilogy, Adcorp, Workhouse or any of the the majority of smaller agencies won something - so why would they bother entering? And do you really think clients care?

We've got to stop such introspective bullshit being pervasive in our industry. Hopefully this will help re-shape the awards into something more meaningful.

Just sayin'... said:

Didn't people stop caring about what Steve Harris thought years ago?

and another perspective said:

Dear Another Perspective

Winners are decided by an independent jury of eastern states CDs based on merit.

Unlike the Bell Booth's and the others you mention Brand has ALWAYS had someone on the PADC committee - including Paul Yole for a couple of years and Steve Harris as Club Patron.

The way to change a club is to work from within. Something the Brand has had ample opportunity to do.

Going, Going... Gong said:

@ Another Perspective

Industry awards will never be more meaningful. If anything, they will get less meaningful.

But that doesn't mean we should stop supporting the PADC. If the funds from the awards night, as Malcolm pointed out, go into events and functions that educate and nurture local talent, then the PADC is meaningful even if the awards are not.

Anon Perspective said:

It's a very fair point Steve makes that work must be judged more on results - all the serious shows now are. I'm with you there mate - but yours is THE LAST agency that can say this.

The Brand have been the scammers of the shows.They generally do very well (albeit not this year) with a slew of one-offs. Can somebody please name the last serious campaign they did that won anything -

Yes, Singoes did this - and I respected them for it - but look how their last ten years has gone. The role creative plays must be respected and nurtured for the sake of our bottom line - it is now the only department that separates us from media companies.

Anyway, this reeks of bad sportsmanship. You guys had a bad year creatively, and have chosen to spin it rather than soak it up. Not even a good PR move, considering that you've permanently lost a great deal of respect.

Read it and weep said:

Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.
Charles Spurgeon

The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that's also a hypocrite!
Tennessee Williams

Well done Steve. If you couldn't be more popular with the way you dispatched of Harvey then this really seals the deal amongst your peers and probably former friends.

Constructive Criticism said:

Why not change the awards format to adjust with the times? As a client, I often hear agencies grumbling about the quality of local awards and the difficulty experienced in getting support for various events.

Why not make them more results/effectiveness focused? You'd clear out the 'once off scams', while still providing a great platform for recognition amongst the industry.

A Client said:

I've been on the client side for a dozen years, I wish i did care about the state awards but the times i have been to the Oasis Ball i get the sense you guys don't care much either - you don't even shut up to show some respect when they are getting handed out..
For me as a clientt- the local awards lack credibility (and that includes stuff like state AMI awards also)

Agree that the funding etc is the backbone of supporting the industry in WA and it's crucial to foster the right culture for the long term viability of it in WA, but maybe the model needs some re-work

Here's a thought ... said:


Can I suggest that The Brand Agency now make an annual donation to the PADC (in lieu of it losing your award entry fees) so it can continue to do the good work Malcolm has highlighted?

Insider said:

The Brand Agency's new motto:

If you can't beat them, just don't enter.

Ex-Ad industry said:

blah, blah, blah, look at all the free pr we are getting...

the Brand's gigantic ego was one of the main reasons I left this industry and 6 years on its nice to see they have not changed a bit...quite happy to slag off the others in the industry from the "moral high ground" while they do the same or worse

other than the financial loss the PADC will be far better off for this

Jeff said:

So... The Bland Agency is about to get blander.

Just like their horribly bland TV ad for the RAC that's on air at the moment.

Okay, can't let this one pass.

Firstly, Bravo Malcolm for such an eloquent defence of the club and all the good that it does.

But I have to be honest, I can see both sides on this one. Before you crucify me. let me explain.

Maybe The Brand Agency *is* making a shallow and cynical business ploy as some of you either openly or anonymously intimate. Maybe their motives are entirely selfish and the common good be damned.

And equally possible, maybe The Brand Agency is being genuine and we are the one's being overly sensitive to what is an internal business decision that has nothing to do with the rest of the industry at large.

(...I can hear the groans of the sceptics from here... For the record, No I did NOT come down in the last shower; I'm merely trying to be open minded here. From the looks of some the comments here, a few of you need to try it.)

I think though that Malcolm has highlighted a major problem nobody has yet found the answer to, in that the award show is the PADC's main source of funding, and this is far from ideal. Better funding means it wouldn't matter when a large agency decides not to enter, whatever the reason, be it rational or cynical.

The PADC is the loudest organisational voice for our isolated little pocket of the industry and it deserves our support, financial and otherwise. But it would be also be hypocritical in the extreme for me to stand here and passionately defend an award show I have not entered in nearly a decade.

I run a micro agency - my clients and my profit margins are both tiny. And for an agency like mine, the PADC awards are not the best way to market my services, develop my career or attract clients. The entry fee comes out of my own pocket (I know I am not alone in this) and frankly there are better uses for my hard-earned. I'm very sorry to say it, but the club in the past has not had a good history of reaching out to the small end of town. Unless I am mistaken, numerically speaking there are more agencies in WA who choose to have nothing to do with the club, than those who do.

Seriously, why is that the case??

I have mentioned many times before that freelancers and consultants for a start are under-represented in our industry and the PADC could be an ideal vehicle to speak on their behalf as well as the top end of town.

I am a realist however. The club has limited resources and has to focus its efforts somewhere. Also many of its members also work either at large agencies, the clients of large agencies, or the businesses that supply them. The club must rightfully represent the wishes of the majority, and of its patrons. I can’t comment if many freelancers are club members or not but I personally am not aware of many who are.

It just seems to me as long as the awards are the major fund-raiser for the club then it is going to struggle. Right now the club is disproportionately financially-dependent on a small number of large organisations, making large cash-injections to the club, for one purpose, at one time every year. That is a shitty remuneration model and we all know it.

Pot Calling The Kettle Black, I'm not a personal fan of the Brand's decision either, but it's The Brand's clients ultimately paying Steve's wage, not the industry at large. What they pay, how much they pay, and why they choose to pay it is none of our business.

Michael Sequeira said:

As a member of the PADC committee I see first hand the amount of time and effort the committee members past and present have put into the club, and into the industry they love. So it’s a shame that, in Mr. Harris’s opinion, the PADC sets a ‘low bench mark’ as an Award Show and has thus stopped entering his agency’s work.

For those local client CEOs that are ‘unaware,’ the PADC is one of the oldest advertising and design clubs in the world. A lot of the work first showcased here has gone on to win nationally and internationally.

When Andrew Tinning took over as president, the club was almost bankrupt. By economical and careful use of the club’s funds Eg. flying over past judges and guest speakers with a Perth connection, the club is now in a much better shape and ready to be bigger and better in 2012.

This year with a brand new president, Spencer Batista, an invigorated committee, and a brand new look, the plan is to make the PADC Club, The Festival of Ideas, The Award show and the Ball, plus some other cool initiatives we have in the pipeline - really world class. But we can only do that with the support of the Perth creative industry as a whole.

In an industry that is supposed to be about collaboration, we seem to spend more time anonymously back-stabbing each other than promoting and supporting good creative work and nurturing young talent.

I therefore urge everyone to get behind Spencer, the rest of the committee and the PADC. After all, if all we care about is ‘results’ we might as well stopping saying we work in advertising and all go into PR.

And, on a final note, if anyone would like to join the committee or has any ideas or suggestions on how the club can raise the ‘bench mark’ we’ll gladly listen and take them on board at the AGM and Bowling night, this Thursday.

My hair gets greasy if I don't wash it says.... said:

The PADC positioned Brand into the creative elite years ago with the racing ads. All those pats on the back mean nothing now. You have abandoned us for a new mistress. If it is all starting to fall apart then why come up with this excuse. Rebuild. Shame on you Brand. You've let the people who worked so hard for you down. You've let the Perth creative community down. You've let the dollar snuggle up to you at night while creativity sleeps outside.

I don't know Mr Harris said:

Isn't he just taking the piss?

Forget Steve said:

1. Take care of your clients.
2. Support the people who create shiny new things.
3. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Sheesh said:

Sheesh! Next they'll be saying they're not coming to the bowling night!

Judge and you shall be judged said:

AND THE AWARD FOR.... "The completely unnecessary Public Relations Disaster"
GOES TO..... (Drum roll please) ...... Steve!

Outrageous lie. said:

"None of our clients compete solely against WA businesses. They are all in a marketplace with national and global companies." Really. Mr Harris. Have and look at your client list or WA based clients you maybe talking to to get their business. Are they only "National and Global companies"? I think not! This isn't PR spin its just an outrageous lie.Or should we assume The Brand Agency will soon be resigning any piece of business that operates in the WA market only.

Pot Calling The Kettle Black said:

"I'm not a personal fan of the Brand's decision either, but it's The Brand's clients ultimately paying Steve's wage, not the industry at large. What they pay, how much they pay, and why they choose to pay it is none of our business." - Au contraire , my dear, it's all of our business when the advertising pie in Perth just keeps on shrinking to Eastern States agencies whilst simultaneously being undermined from within!

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit said:

Could you please change the article headline to "How to Win Friends & Influence People"? Thanks.

Sniff any armpits lately says... said:

Big chance for the mid size shops to work their way into the award league tables now. Agencies like Linc have a chance to pick up metal that previously went to scammy ads from Brand. Blessing in disguise.

The tip of the penis is tender alright says.... said:

This is sad for the young creatives at Brand.

Chaffinch said:

Time to set aspirations for your tawdry spruiking a little higher?

We are a creative solutions company for ambitious brands.
Our head office is based in Perth, with offices in Melbourne and Auckland. We have around 120 people, who have helped us win four AWARD awards in 2008, plus the Best of Show and two Gold "Skulls' at the 2008 PADC Awards. Our client Bunnings has been voted one of Australia's Most Authentic Brands and WA Business News rated RAC as WA's Most Recognised Brand."

Happy Valentines Day... said:

Most agencies in London do not enter the London awards. Most agencies in New York do not enter the New York Festival. No person or any one agency is attacked because of this. One thought is perhaps Campaign Brief can become the dominate award show in Perth (one show is probably enough) with more categories including a few awards esp. for agencies under 20 people - with all the proceeds not going to charity but to the PADC - who can continue their fine (non award focus) work.

Meh said:

This has been great for their 'brand' image. Everyone already hates brand, this just makes us hate them even more. I would never work for a company like Brand. Do what you need to do, just don't make it public.

Oh please... said:

Wasn't 2008 Best of show was for a one-off enjo book that never saw the light of day! ? That was the ultimate scam. RAC outspends almost anyone in the local market and has bloody vans all over the place, and Bunnings is a dinosaur who will soon discover that serious competition (Woolies/Lowes aka Masters) means it will need some serious advertising! (which I'm not sure you will be able to provide)

Sorry Pot Calling The Kettle Black, but that makes no sense. The size of Steve's pay check is completely irrelevant to the long term trend of clients moving over east / overseas. As for the local market being undermined by the Brand's decision, well it certainly doesn't help the PADC's coffers much, but as I intimated earlier, the club being reliant on one event to survive is a big part of the problem.

Jerry said:

Steve, if you're so keen to get on the high horse and 'champion' ethical standards, I suggest you should extend that thought by way of resigning Curtin. Have you noticed the unfolding PR disaster?

Here's a thought said:

If the PADC needs more money, why don't they set it as a creative challenge to its members - offer a prize/recognition to whoever comes up with the best idea to promote and fund the club. After all, don't we do this for charity accounts?

It seems to annoy people a lot that that an agency most can't stand is none the less needed purely for the cash they provide to the award show. Raise enough money independently and this would mean that the Brand can do whatever they want, and good luck to them.

Hello-Ex-Ad-Industry said:

Hey, Ex-Ad industry you sound cool. Where are you nowadays?

I am the Futurte said:

Here's a thought (6.00am)
Here's more food for thought... .Why can't the awards process becoming a source of funding for the PADCs? What if we took CB's points scoring for creatives and translated it into an amount of money agencies undertook to contribute to the PADC? Here's how it works: every award their creatives win triggers an automatic donation by that agency to the PADC. Like the points rankings, the bigger the award, the bigger the donation. Simple. At the end of the year, there is a PADC Creative Champion - the creative that has won the most locally, nationally and internationally, and an Agency of the Year, the one that has contributed the most. Great way to prove awards are not just about egos and nice opportunity for agencies who have set their aspirations high to prove it to everyone

Almost there... said:

C'mon people!... Only 9 more comments before this sits under the "BRAND CLEANS UP AT PADC AWARDS" article on the all time most commented on CBWA article!

Helpful said:

8 More comments...

And the GOLD goes too said:

Going for GOLD. Here's another comment.

Very Childish said:

I find it absolutely childish that someone would comment on this article just to lift its ranking on the all time most commented CBWA article. Absolutely childish, yet very, very funny.

pam anderson said:

Didn't Brand's TVC with pam writhing in cream break 100 comments?

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