Proud papa Robin Heisey, ECD at DraftFCB received great news in the morning: his son graduated at the top of his class and his other children won two Lions, a silver and a bronze. A great day back in Toronto for his team, especially for first time winners Lauren Miller, Anna Neilson, and Elma Karabegovica. Robin knows a thing or two about it. When pressed, he ever so humbly and always deflecting to his team said, "I have won four. I prefer to say more than three, but the first one is special." Robin has learned the art of positioning.
Simon Creet, ECD at The Hive, remembers his Lion in 2006 for his work on AGF which quickly went global and also incidentally tipped his career into overdrive. "Competing against the best and being judged to be of the highest global standards by the world's best is what it is all about." Creet wasn't here then to receive it. Six years later this is his first visit to Cannes. Even veterans get completely inspired to see the world's best work. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the expression goes. I see Lions in his future.
"The visibility is great for our clients, Union Hearing and PFLAG, and wonderful for us and the team," said Heisey. "The awards allow us to attract talent, create an environment where we can retain better in a tough market."
Awards create conversational capital that in turn inspires creativity. And it helps the folks who do the work negotiate better pay packets too. As I heard from a Toronto ECD last night, our winner earlier in the week has already left us for another agency. Winning brings opportunity and drives the price up for talent. Everyone I have asked would list money as a direct outcome of winning a Lion. Heisey sees further though: "There is a tipping point. You may get to pay more initially to acquire an award winner or retain one, but in time, you end up paying less if you are seen as a destination for the talent."
That is the financial tightrope an ECD must contend with -- getting to the tipping point without breaking the bank. Daniel Dutesco, VP Planner at DraftFCB Montreal, is here as a first-timer to bring back his own gold. "The agency's position as ROI driven for its client is clear," he said. "We collectively want to elevate the playing field and drive the point home to the team that the standards aren't what is being done in Montreal, but in fact around the world. Being here, take back ideas will nurture clients to choose more calculated risks."
Iconic adman Jeff Goodby gave a session about risk called, "Why aren't they buying my brilliant fucking idea?" The room was packed. I plan to test the insights at home first to see if there is a tipping point.
Stefan Danis, reporting for Adnews.com, is CEO of Mandrake and NEXCareer and has published Gobi Runner, a book about overcoming adversity, available at Amazon.