Malaysia’s top awards show revamps to ‘restore credibility’ following series of scandals

Dentsu Utama winning agency of the year in 2015

Dentsu Utama winning AOY in 2015. The agency was later disqualified for plagiarism

The Kancil Awards, Malaysia’s top awards show, is taking a break this year and is to return in 2017 with a revamped format designed to curb scam and plagiarism.

The main change to drive greater transparency is to award ideas not by medium, as Cannes, Spikes Asia and other shows do, but by business category. Also, work submitted for a campaign cannot be re-submitted as single entries, which will stop one idea winning everything.

The changes come in response to an “urgent need to refresh” the show to remain relevant, 4As president Dato’ Johnny Mun has said.

The announcement from Kancil this afternoon:

Petaling Jaya, 20 September 2016: For the first time in 20 years, the annual Kancil Awards will take a break this year to institute transparency and inclusiveness in a transformative revamp.

Prior to 1995 when the awards was christened the Kancil Awards, the advertising industry’s creative excellence awards event was known as the 6As Awards.

The revamped Kancil Awards, now scheduled to take place in the first quarter 2017, aims to celebrate creativity that enhances the relationship between brands and consumers by recognising the agencies’ problem-solving skills showcased through advertising campaigns. The new date for the Kancil Awards also ensures that the full body of work created by agencies this year is eligible for judging.

Says Tan Kien Eng, Kancil Awards Creative Council Chairman: “Apart from creating healthy and transparent competition, and the push-pull factors between advertisers and agencies, the revamp also aims to align the Kancil Awards with the industry’s continual transformation – the use of big data, convergence of multiple disciplines and media platforms, disruptive technological advancements, accessible information, and social media active consumers.”

Notable changes include revamping the categories as Business, Channel, Craft, and Special Awards instead of confining it channel-based categories, as a means to recognising all parties involved in the creation of a campaign.

The Business category (Automotive, F&B, Consumer Services, etc.) aims to elevate creativity to overcome the growing complexity of marketing. The Channel category recognises the importance of using the right channels and effective targeting. The Craft category aims to distinguish good crafting and its values towards brand building and storytelling. The Special Awards category applauds all talents who are key to building enduring brands, including Insights and Strategy, Public Relations, Technology, and Big Data.

“We recognise the urgent need to refresh the Kancil Awards to remain relevant and adaptable to stay attuned to emerging new business models,” explains Dato’ Johnny Mun, 4As President. “The 4As collectively agreed to restructure the Kancil Awards to be more inclusive to all business sectors and talents, and be transparent in the work submissions and the judging process.”

For Kancil Awards 2017, agencies can either submit the creative work as a Single Entry or as a Campaign to reflect how a big-scale campaign versus one-off creative work solved the brand’s challenge. In short, a five-piece work submitted for a Campaign cannot be re-submitted as five Single entries.

“To re-establish the credibility of the Kancil Awards, we will upload all submissions online for public viewing one month ahead of the judging,” confirms Tan. “The public is encouraged to share their constructive opinions and raise concerns if they encounter any suspicious submissions to allow the 4As to investigate and take appropriate action before judging commences.”

Apart from international and local creative leaders, the revamped Kancil Awards will also include one client representative in each judging panel as a means to fostering a better understanding of good and great work.

“The main objective of the revamp is to recognise the expertise involved in creative problem solving,” reasons Mun. “We strongly believe that the refreshed Kancil awards will meet international standards in celebrating creativity.”

The Kancils has been hit by a number of scandals in recent years, including the disqualification of the winner of agency of the year, Dentsu Utama, for plagiarism at the last show in December.

The winner of best in show the previous year, a poster for KFC, was also criticised for copycatting but went on to win at Cannes.


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