Do Awards Matter?
Please, pardon the cliche and forgive our momentary lack of humility, because we here at Farmhouse truly have something to ‘crow’ about! *rimshot*
Our small firm recently came away from the American Advertising Awards competition in California with a haul of Gold and Silver ADDYs in a feat that is nearly unheard of for a firm of our size – especially when you consider we shared the limelight with agencies so big their clients have names like, oh, Subaru, Honda, REI, Allstate, GE, AT&T … you get the picture.
So, what does this awards haul mean in the grand scheme of things? Do they really matter? The answer is “Yes” and here’s why: For a small agency that has been operating for a short time, participating in awards allows you to see how you compare to peers. It gives you an opportunity to measure your creative value. Winning awards are important to establish venerability and a reputation for design and creative. And it also helps evolve the overall creative community and set a new bar for the marketplace.
I cannot stress enough the strong bond and exceptional collaborative environment of the Memphis creative community. It is a compliment to the entire culture of those who are in this industry when recognition is bestowed on one of our brethren. Recognition moves us forward. The Memphis creative community was well represented on a national stage last week. We came away with a nice slice of our industry’s highest accolades, awards usually dominated by the big guys in LA, NYC and Chicago. We won, and we did so in large part to the momentum of the local design community.
These awards are also a compliment to the client market, the people who trust us to think outside the box, to help them deliver a promise, to do our thing. They have to have faith in us. Take for example our work with Jeff Johnson Restaurant Group. Jeff wanted to open an upscale Mexican cantina. Our task, then, was to come up with branding to set his Mexican restaurant apart from the numerous other Mexican restaurants in the area. A brainstorming session resulted in the idea to canonize Memphis legends and celebrate them through original artwork incorporating iconic images of Elvis, Isaac Hayes, Johnny Cash, BB King, Jerry Lawler, Al Green and Aretha Franklin. Thus, the project that brought Farmhouse national attention: the posters and illustrations in which we played with religious iconography, depicting folks our city holds near and dear as the Patron Saints of Agave Maria.
Nathan Crow, group creative director at Santa Monica-based advertising agency Rubin Postaer and Associates (RPA) and one of three judges brought in for the AAF 7 District American Advertising Awards in March where Farmhouse won 12 awards for Agave Maria, summed it up well with this: “Restaurants are typically very particular and tend to play it safe, but Agave Maria’s willingness to think outside the box by idolizing Memphis legends with such a fresh and distinct look broke through in the category.”
The Farmhouse team will continue to work hard and strive to excel at design and creative. But ultimately we believe a good showing for Memphis agencies in industry awards is the most important thing to place this community into the national creative conversation.