A Memo on Passion and The Pursuit of Excellence

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

To agencies everywhere: Best Promotion in the World. A prestigious entry on any company’s resume. Worth a few million $$ in new business, to be sure. All it took was excellence. The kind that clients and agencies the world over achieve every day. Elements: Breakthrough creative. Brand-building strategy. Smooth execution. Superlative results.

Everyone had a favorite. A top contender was K2 (see World PRO Award case studies beginning on page 28). One of the few client-entered campaigns solved a formidable marketing problem in a brilliant way and overcame an all but insurmountable regulatory challenge in the process. Question: Why didn’t an agency do this?

Gutsy indeed. Proof of Ernesto Dorfman’s pronouncement on receiving “Best of the World” for his entry at the PROs in Chicago: It’s about passion – the passion of having a great idea and putting everything on the line to make it work. Seqor Dorfman’s Buenos Aires-based agency, StoPromotion has been setting high standards with promotions in Argentina, a land where pasisn is more than a concept, it’s a way of life.

That’s why we’re in the awards business: for the recognition of excellence. Long ago we saw the growth of promotion marketing as a truly worldwide phenomenon. We’d heard that superb creative was being done in Europe by European agencies, so we went to an APMA meeting in a place called West Berlin and discovered they were right.

TV hadn’t become the brand-building panacea that it had in the U.S., so below-the-line activities like promotion had evolved into sophisticated, effective ways to make the needle move. From that day, promo has worked to become an international clearinghouse for creative models, with the PRO Awards its centerpiece – a not-for-profit endeavor with a showcase of winners every year during PROMO Expo.

The program’s strength comes from partnerships with top-rated marketing magazines like Estrategias in Spain, Meio & Mensagem in Brazil, Professional Marketing in Australia, Media Key in Italy, Absatzwirtschaft in Germany, Media Marketing in Belgium, In-Store Marketing in England, Mercado & Publicidad in Chile, and Revista Target and Tiempo de Promociones in Argentina. Each supports the PROs with ads and publicity and helps with the selection of judges and judging sites.

New in ’99 Next spring, judgings will be in Brussels for Europe, Buenos Aires for Latin America, Sydney for the Asia-Pacific, Toronto for Canada, and Chicago for the U.S. World-level judging will again be in Chicago, a few days prior to PROMO Expo ’99.

New wrinkles: We’ll expand alliances with media partners and bring in new ones, making structural changes along the way to increase entries (the goal is 500) and reduce costs. Surely more than this year’s 373 will be worthy of nomination worldwide. We’ll be working with in-country awards programs, too, revamping categories and adding more client-side judges.

To make it easier and less costly, we’re dropping the requirement that work be submitted on large presentation boards, except in the final, worldwide phase of competition. Now the initial cost will be for entry fees and postage, eliminating shipping costs and customs duties.

That puts the emphasis on write-ups, which still must be in English, but with native-language versions invited to ensure that nothing will get lost in translation. We’ll accept them via e-mail too, if hard copies are enclosed with entry forms.

We’re offering tailor-made “Best of the Best” presentations by promo staffers in the U.S. and overseas as fund-raisers to underwrite costs, combining them with regional judgings and awards presentations. Formal proposals are being made to promo media partners as you read this. Want to schedule a “Best of the Best” presentation? Contact me via e-mail.

These and other changes will be detailed in a Call for Entries brochure to be mailed within the next 30 days. To be sure you get one, e-mail us now via joelle_kanuck@intertec.com.

If you think THIS year’s PRO Awards was a spectacular show, which it was, then stay tuned. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


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