For years at 522, we have contemplated entering awards competitions for the work we spend countless hours perfecting. Every year deadlines come and go before our eyes. Too busy, not interested, couldn’t be bothered and frankly just plain lazy are excuses that we used to justify our absence. 

This year, 522 finally got off our keesters, filled out the lengthy manifestos, submitted the work, and paid our entry fees. We entered four different competitions ranging from local to national competitions for video and website marketing.

Out of the 11 submissions, we’ve won 5 awards to date. And not just honorable mentions either, but Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Not bad for first time entrants, eh?

But soon after getting over our excitement, we learned that winning these prestigious awards comes with strings attached. Pricey strings I might add. We discovered that not only do organizations have to pay to enter competitions, they also have to PAY to receive trophies as well. Seriously? I have to buy my own award? Kinda takes the fun out of it and makes you wonder…

Now, we’ve entered award shows before, especially over the last 11 years working in advertising and video, but this is the first time we actually had to buy the trophy. Usually, the first trophy is included in the entrant fee and then if you want to purchase extras you can. Did the rules change over the last 4 years or did we miss the 3 point type at the bottom of the site where this was all explained. Nonetheless, it has really made us question the legitimacy of these competitions and what they really stand for.

Do our clients expect us to have the trophies? Does it really change our reputation to display a wall of them for award winning work if you have to purchase the trophies?

So I ask again, what makes a company award winning? The trophy or the product?

We definitely have learned a lot from this process and frankly, if we enter again, we’ll need to set aside a chunk of our marketing budget to buy the darn things.

This may come across as cynical, but at the end of the day, we really are proud of the outcome and our recognition in the industry as being a top-notch, award-winning creative production company… with or without the trophies.

Now, I’m sure most of you reading this blog want to know if we succumbed and bought trophies? The answer is yes… but only two. I mean, we need something to put on the new office mantel… right?