Tom Denford
By Tom Denford
Dec 7, 2013 5:04:40 PM

ID Comms At #ANFO Awards, Oslo


On 20th November, ID Comms was asked to speak at Norway's main agency awards ceremony in Oslo. Hosted by the local advertiser trade body ANFO it was attended by the great and good of Norway's booming advertising, media and PR scene.

The event was co-hosted by Kampanje (Campaign) magazine Norway's main trade title and the researchers at TNS who expertly managed all the voting and explained in Norwegian (and at some exhaustive length) the methodology behind the voting.

The ANFO awards are notable because:

  1. They are voted for entirely by clients, no juries here luvvie. And no lobbying.
  2. There are only 4 awards in total - amazing. Simply, Best Ad Agency, Best Media Agency and Best PR Agency. Oh and then best overall agency. No messing about with award categories or making sure everyone has a go.
  3. The same advertising agency (called Try) has won best agency for the last 11 years. Seriously.
  4. No celebrity hosts or cynical comedians anywhere
  5. The awards took less than an hour leaving plenty of time to enjoy a very tasty buffet and some very drinkable red wine.

It was a peek into what awards ceremonies perhaps should be like. Simple, honest, fair (I think) and friendly. Starcom won best media agency.

I was there as a guest speaker. They devoted the first hour to allow two "externals" the stage. The first up was a lovely chap called Max Aperia who is a leading marketing consultant from Sweden and works with the SAS.

I followed Max and presented "Continuous Incremental Improvement: What Marketers Can Learn from the British Olympic Cycling Team". Pithy eh? It was a 40 minute speech, it took two minutes just to say the title.

This was a new presentation version of my recent article published inMarketing called "A Commitment to Continuous Improvement"

The lack of any patriotic British sports fans in the audience could have been a challenge. It was a risky pitch to a Scandinavian audience who's own cycling successes may be largely handicapped by the fact the roads are covered with snow for months of the year. But a number of guests afterwards revealed themselves as cycling enthusiasts and demonstrated a proper technical knowledge of the sport, which was reassuring.

The principles of my piece were simply this: Marketers can and should take inspiration from the British Olympic Cycling team and their commitment to seeking marginal improvements in performance. In a business which readily celebrates the slam-dunk successes of great 30 second spots, its nice to look at the micro-processes which get us to marketing success and see how we can improve them. Processes themselves don't create good marketing but I'll meet any bet you make that those companies with good process create better work more often (and therefore less likely to fail and waste money).

I estimate that marketers could easily find 5% productivity improvements each year in their marketing spend just from encouraging (and rewarding) better and better processes.

To those doubters? On yer bike...