I’m at the Brave Dog offices, at my desk, making my way through the day’s industry and awards news—when I stumble upon something incredibly unexpected.
A story on AdFreak about a new fake award show called The Handys “for Advertising’s biggest wankers”—and the faux competition’s trophies seal the deal with a series of phallic visual gags.
Well, that’s when I spit a mouthful of Cran-Raspberry La Croix all over my computer monitor.
Not only was the name “Handys” on-point (see the –ys and –ies suffix that tends to occupy the name of just about every advertising awards competition), but everything about the design of the creative looked exactly like the branding of many of the competitions we enter for our clients on a regular basis. It was uncanny—I was cringing and laughing at the same time.
The gag goes a step further, with a whole website and an app you can download to any number of your smart devices. It turns out it doesn’t work like an awards competition at all. The app rewards you with a prize just for shaking your phone up and down like a Shake Weight. (Pull up handyawards.org on your phone, and check it out.) Here’s the Handys’ description from its website:
The Handys are the world’s first advertising award show where you can give yourself an award in the comfort of your studio apartment or at your desk within your agency’s open office. All without entering any work or sitting through someone else’s boring case study video.
The AdFreak story quotes the press release, which adds more context to the spirit of the stunt: “It’s pretty clear award shows have gotten out of hand, so we wanted to take the piss out of them.”
The concept comes from a couple of industry creatives who prefer to remain anonymous at this time. “The Handy Awards” make a statement in the comment’s section of the story: “Remaining anonymous was at our employer’s request for fear of client disapproval. We both want nothing more than to take credit for the idea and will in due time.”
We hope that when the creators of the Handys become known, they enter the creative into an awards competition. (Really, we do.)
The whole concept of The Handys is great for making everyone in the advertising world pause to look at the greater picture. The motivation behind an excellent campaign should be driven by the will to do good work, and where it’s relevant, to fulfill the needs of the client—and should not be just about patting yourself on the back.
That being said, awards are and continue to be important to our industry. By setting the bar for excellence, creatives are finding they constantly have to push themselves to keep up with their peers and outshine their previous work. And winning awards is positive affirmation outside the walls of your own offices—that, yes, you are doing great work. Maybe you should receive a boost in your budget. Or perhaps you should be considered for a promotion.
Awards are and continue to be important for all kind of reasons. And that’s why Brave Dog exists. We know that your marketing team or creative agency has a million and one important things to do—or perhaps talking about how great you are can feel a little awkward. We’re happy to do all the dirty work for you.
But it’s also nice to be reminded every once in a while that we all shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.