Dr Mumbo

How to win awards when you can’t enter awards

Dr Mumbo has, as regular readers will know, always been a fan of awards competitions.

So he was deeply sad for the staff of Publicis Groupe when it announced a one-year cost-saving awards ban to save up for an artificial intelligence platform.

Luckily, creatives are nothing if not creative when it comes to finding ways for their work ending up in front of juries.

Take Publicis-owned agency Marcel. In June, before the ban kicked off, the Sydney agency won a Gold Lion in the Outdoor category of the Cannes Lions for its Air-Ink initiative for Singapore’s Tiger Beer – a campaign which harvested pollution from the air and recycled it into sprayable ink.

So what to do about The Spikes, now under way in Singapore? It would be a shame for global winning work not to get up at the regional version of the awards, wouldn’t it?

And, surprise surprise, a remarkably similar entry has indeed ended up in front of the jury in the “Applied Innovation” category.

Only this time, the entry hasn’t officially come from the agency, but is in the name of Heineken APAC, Tiger’s parent company.

But who actually submitted the entry?

When Mumbrella asked both the client and the agency, they both issued the same statement: “Marcel submitted the Spikes entry on behalf of Tiger Beer, which commissioned the entry as the proud brand owner of the Air Ink campaign.”

So Publicis agencies can still submit awards entries – so long as the client picks up the tab.

Should Tiger be lucky enough to win, Dr Mumbo will be fascinated to find out who goes onto stage – and more importantly where the trophy ends up. Still, Dr Mumbo supposes that Marcel can always buy itself a duplicate trophy once the awards ban is over if the original has ended up on the client’s mantlepiece.

Meanwhile, Dr Mumbo has also spotted a similar happy confluence of events involving another Publicis agency – Leo Burnett India.

Having won silver at Cannes for its ‘Roads that Honk’ campaign for Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, no doubt the team at Leos would have been sad not to see it in the running at the Spikes.

Fortunately, like Tiger, the client was delighted for the entry to go forward in its name instead.

Curiously, despite the question being repeated by Mumbrella a number of times, neither HPCL or Publicis will say who actually paid the S$625 entry fee. 

Instead, a spokeswoman for Le Groupe tells Dr Mumbo in a statement: “Clients and partners are still welcome to submit work to award shows”. Which wasn’t quite what he asked.

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