In the interview below, Scott Rose, Executive Director for New York Festivals Advertising Awards discusses his thoughts on NYF’s stance on not awarding NGO work, how this initiative came about and how NYF will continue to honor work that saves the world.
Q - Why did you initiate NYF’s Advertising Awards (NYFA) controversial stance on not awarding NGO work?
Scott Rose: We’re not tone deaf to the state of the world and are appreciative of, and often in awe of, the creative use of media to create awareness and catalyze positive action. We will celebrate that amazing work, we’re just not awarding it in our competition. We recognize that brand work constrains the creative team due to managing the client's brand image and appetite for bolder, more divisive ideas. This is why we've decided NYFA judges will only judge brand work that has to move people to move business.
Q - This is a gutsy move, who stands to benefit most from this position and why?
Scott Rose: I wouldn’t frame this as a case of “winner/loser” or finding an angle of “benefit” and “advantage” in the move for us or for any of our entrants. It’s about narrowing our focus. Every competition has its “voice” and goal of awarding as much great work, as possible. There’s a place for all of us, but to make things clear for our clients about who we are, we’ve decided to focus on the work creatives, agencies, and in-house agencies are creating for commerce under the confines of restrictions and limitation placed on them by the client.
I like going to Target or Walmart for the abundance of selection as much as anybody, but when I want handcrafted, elevated quality, I go into Manhattan and over to the specialty store where they do one specific thing with high care and craft. We organize competitions and build world class juries with high care and craft for work done to move business.
Q - What does New York Festivals Advertising Awards hope to achieve with this initiative?
Scott Rose: There is no shortage of societal and global issues that need to be addressed and the people who have the megaphone and are steering the ship to tackle these issues are true heroes. But we're narrowing the competition's focus. With so much attention, rightfully, on societies’ issues, the ‘lift’ is even harder for brands, and we want to acknowledge that and make a fair lane for that work to compete.
The NYFA jury will be looking for the insight and creative execution that does the unexpected in telling important stories to build damn good brands and move the product which keeps the client happy and the economy churning.
Q: Will this initiative result in less entries and if so, how will the competition make up for the potential loss of income?
Scott Rose: We listen closely to our entrants and especially our Executive Jury Members about the state of the industry and we felt this was the right move for us and our entrants. Those same wonderful people have helped us carve out new lanes for the exciting, ever-changing landscape of advertising today. For 2022 we’ve launched The Future Now category group to shine the spotlight on work that uses technology to provide an innovative approach that leads to a more engaged consumer experience. New categories include Generative Creative, Altered Reality, Decentralized Tech, Best Innovation, and Crypto Product & Service Advertising. We’re also creating a separate lane for sub-50 person agencies to compete, as well as one that addresses the unique type of work for introducing a Start-up to the world. We’ll be continuing our partnership with the FQ/ANA for The See Her Lens Award and introducing a DE&I board which will be advising us as well as acting as a jury for three specialty awards, we’ll be announcing soon.
Q - What about creative work for brands created to help the world? Is there a place for them?
Scott Rose: Absolutely. Work that can move business and shine a light on a problem in society or effect change is in a league of its own, which is why we created a lane of its own in NYFA 2022, as well. The category group is called PUPOSE. I think that says it all.
I mentioned earlier that we will still be “celebrating” NGO work, just not awarding it with our jury. This is where our continued partnership with the incredible, philanthropic organization the G100, and the G100 category group comes into play. And before anyone calls us hypocrites, all the G100 work will judged by three of that organizations “Geniuses”, and the entry fees will be donated to The Himalayan Cataract Project. There will be a showcase of all of the G100 entries to celebrate the wonderful creativity being done in the NGO space.
Q - What sort of feedback have you heard?
Scott Rose: 2021’s Executive Jury President, Ralf Heuel, CCO &Partner, Grabarz & Partner, Germany commented:“What a great and bold initiative. I can't tell you how proud I am of the NYF. This is really a great signal to the industry. It will lead us to look at what we really are and what we are capable of doing. And to be proud of it. And it's not going to continue to channel the energies of agencies into a parallel universe where there's anything to be won by whatever-it-is for this planet. And that's why it will make advertising better. More credible. More truthful. Because creative brands will take their cues from other creative brands again.”