Feedback re: Andrew Human
Andrew Human, MD of the Loerie Awards, disagreed with my article titled Fall in entries for Digital Loeries points to adoption issues published on BizCommunity.com.
This is what he had to say:
Mr Manson’s assertion that “fall in entries for digital points to adoption issues” is simply not supported by our entry statistics. A breakdown of the digital category for 2009/2010 shows:
1. Online advertising remained virtually unchanged with 32 entries vs. 34 in 2009;
2. Microsites INCREASED from 26 to 32 entries;
3. Viral dropped slightly with 25 to 28 entries (however – viral videos moved to another category in Experiential media so in fact viral media increased this year);
4. Digital applications INCREASED from 8 to 12 entries;
5. Campaigns dropped slightly from 19 to 16 entries;
6. Digital crafts INCREASED from 22 to 24 entries;
7. Mobile advertising decreased from 4 to 2 entries;
8. The main cause for an overall drop in digital entries was a decrease in entries in the WEBSITES category from 37 to 19 entries. A drop of 18 entries or 49%.
Websites are not the domain of advertising agencies – they are large corporate projects traditionally sitting directly with digital agencies. I believe that the large drop in this single category is indicative of the economic times as this is a large expense that corporations can hold off – and there are less new companies coming into the marketplace now.
Clearly, the above stats are contrary to Mr Manson’s assertion: adoption of the digital medium in the advertising areas has been strong, and has kept the entry levels of these categories roughly steady – with some solid growth, compared to a drop in the development of corporate websites.
There is no need for me to be defensive about our entry stats, and that isn’t my intention. Rather, I believe it is important that any misperceptions created in this article are balanced with the correct information.
And my reply:
I think you just proved my point which was that the larger advertising fraternity hasn’t successfully integrated digital into their offering and that this is reflected by entry volumes in the relevant categories of the Loerie Awards.
Obviously the above is based on my interview with Clint Bryce, chairman of both the Digital and Online Advertising judging panels of the 2010 Loerie awards, and the data given through to me. You seem to agree with me that digital entry volumes fell in a year that saw unprecedented growth in online/digital spend (at the end of point 8).
In fact five of the eight categories you highlight saw a drop in entries, one of them a cliff fall – the website category. Also “Online advertising remained virtually unchanged with 32 entries vs. 34 in 2009”. Virtually unchanged would be … unchanged. From 34 to 32 is a drop. So defacto there has been an overall DROP regardless of how many times you put INCREASE in caps.
In fact you recently told Tony Koenderman that entries into the digital media category saw the second biggest overall decline in entry volumes after the design category. Koenderman comes to a similar conclusion as I did – that the fall in digital entry volumes indicate “South Africa is struggling to catch up with the rest of the world in effective utilisation [of digital media].”
You write that Websites “are not the domain of advertising agencies – they are large corporate projects traditionally sitting directly with digital agencies.” Exactly. A website is an incredibly important consumer touchpoint yet ad agencies allow it to be dropped into the (capable) hands of digital specialists. Excuse me but advertising agencies are either all “integrated” or own specialist digital divisions. Or so I’ve heard.
Two entries in the mobile advertising category? Sixteen online campaigns? It’s worse than I thought. Brands will notice, as will smart agencies looking for a gap in the market. What is important is to address the issues around digital integration and utilisation at agency level as an industry rather than to deny what the numbers are clearly telling us.
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