Once you look past the One Show, Cannes, the CLIOs and all the other popular awards shows, there are a whole shit-ton of other shows that attract more client attention. Some are tactic-specific, some are industry-specific, but to many folks other than creative types, they matter quite a bit.
Over at Gods Of Advertising, Steffan Postaer takes a look a one such show, the Racies, sponsored by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association:
If the RACIES are dubiously viewed and attended by the creative community the opposite is true regarding attendance from heavy breathers on the client side. By their own admission, “RAMA’s Board of Directors is comprised of more than 50 industry CMOs, partners and supporters.” And guess what? They were all there, along with brand managers and account directors, too many to name.
Forgive the cliché, but finding CMO’s at the RACIES was like shooting fish in a barrel. I was giddy at the prospect of meeting and greeting so many potential “patrons.” And with nary a creative director in the room, it was like I had them to myself. In fact, I managed several terrific conversations with men and woman who, if the Gods of Advertising be willing, might some day be my clients. Contrast that with the other more “popular” award shows; where everyone I meet is just like me: a copywriter, art director and/or creative director. Nothing wrong with those, but I can’t deny the thrill of talking with potential clients versus my competition.
Creative people bitch about being insulated from client contact and kept away from decision makers. Yet, here’s a venue where all that existed, replete with an awards show, and only a smattering of advertising creative people anywhere to be found.
Two quick points here: Until the awards shows I mentioned above stop being the primary means by which our industry measures talent, then shows like the Racies won’t matter. I once had a homebuilder client who cared deeply about the local homebuilders’ association awards and was ecstatic that we helped them win some. And while I was happy for them, it didn’t do shit for my career.
And second, while It’s clearly a great opportunity for client contact, but in this day and age, how many agencies are willing to send creatives to a non-creative type conference to hobnob with clients? I know not all creative people want the chance, but I would welcome it. These days, however, most creatives are lucky to get the cost of an ad club event reimbursed.