Avoid “brag and boast” marketing

A few weeks ago I got a press release from ad agency Imbue

The headline: “Imbue Creative Wins Three Communicator Awards from
the Academy of Interactive Visual Arts in Logo, Packaging, and
Non-Profit Brochure Categories.”

You can imagine how interested I was in this important, timely,
and useful news.

(Yes, that’s meant sarcastically.)

It’s typical when you win an award to send out a press release
about it. And I am not saying you shouldn’t – although I certainly
don’t do it myself.

After all, some of your industry trade publications and local
media outlets may pick it up and give you a quick mention, which
certainly doesn’t hurt.

And you may indeed get inquiries or even business as a result of
the award announcement.

However, I wouldn’t get too excited about creative awards …
because the number of award-winning ad campaigns that absolutely
failed to produce positive results is legend.

For instance, the communications director of the now-defunct
Outpost.com bragged about one of their TV spots winning all kinds
of awards including several Clios.

And predictably, the advertising, marketing, and creative
communities ate it up.

But she followed up by admitting that the commercial “generated
no increase in sales. And it pissed off the shareholders.”

Advertising Age magazine wrote that while the commercial won
those Clios, it did not make clear to consumers what Outpost
actually sold online, which was computer products.

Despite the cache awards may give ad agencies and even their
clients within the industry, consumers often view these honors
with great indifference.

In your PR, your time and energy is better spent creating and
disseminating content of real value — from tips and surveys, to
how-to e-books and white papers — than this type of “brag and
boast” PR.

A more grievous offense, at least to me as a direct response
marketer, is the quote that appears later in the release from
Imbue VP Michael Piperno.

He says, “We are delighted to be recognized for creative
excellence by The Communicators Awards in the different

Marketers who know what they are doing value response and
measured results — including leads, sales, and profits — over
“creative excellence” all day long.

“Creative” agencies have long made handsome livings preying on
foolish businesspeople who value creativity over sales.


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