The Big Gong

Another year of Cannes is over. A batch of disgruntled French maids mops up the mess left behind by the drunken ad guy who jumped up and down on a bathroom sink, leaving nothing but a hole. Gaggles of ad-industry creatives and their entourage disperse to sunny European resorts to nurse hangovers. Others step blearily off long-haul flights into winter storms, clutching their hard-earned metal.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and you want to score more of those big fat advertising jobs, you’d better find out fast. The advertising event of the year, the Cannes Lions Festival 2014, just closed its beer and vomit splattered doors for the 60th year. OK it’s not all beer and skittles. Apparently some learning takes place too, and the patting of some very sunburnt backs as awards are distributed to the top dogs in the ad world. (And I’m sure there are some ad industry teetotalers…aren’t there?)

Many photographers ask me which photography awards are the most effective in building them respect and as a result, more work. Is it the International Photography Awards? The Lucies? The AOP Awards? The Photography Master’s Cup? One Eyeland? The Loupe Awards? I could fill a page and still miss heaps. And whilst it’s great to get recognition from your peers, there is nothing better than shooting an award winning campaign that make people in your target market green with envy.

Think about it. If you’re commissioned to shoot a building which goes on to scoop up tons of awards for the architect, you’re in. Other architects want the best shot of their own design- and who to shoot it but the guy that shot last year’s winner?

If you shoot an ad which cleans up at Cannes; boom. Advertising creatives will want to work with you. Seriously, if you shoot a Gold Lion Award winning campaign, you can bet your bottom dollar that creatives from around the world will be reaching out to you and your agent, trying to fit their schedule around yours. They see you as a way to reach that elusive gong. They know you got that other brief right. They know you were instrumental in making that campaign successful.

There are two reasons you enter awards;

  1. To win equipment and/or cash (so you can invest in your business or buy that car you’ve needed for a while).
  2. To get recognition. To build PR and profile and win more jobs.

If it’s recognition you’re after, who do you want to recognise you?