The Marketing Society’s implicitly themed awards

The theme for this week’s Marketing Society Awards for Excellence was ‘high flyers’. As such, the audience was treated to lots of man candy (mandy?) dressed as pilots. Even über-camp, hilarious host Giles Brandreth ditched his trademark jumper for a pilot’s outfit.

It seemed obvious to me that the decision to choose the airline theme was a clear homage to both British Airways’ stirring  reclaiming of their motto ‘To Fly, To Serve’ and the very successful Virgin Atlantic TV ads celebrating 25 years of flight – and thus a clear recognition of how TV advertising was central to so many of the winners.

At least I think it was an homage.  TV advertising works on the implicit mind, so even if the organisers didn’t think that was the reason for the airline theme, it probably was really, deep down. We may need to subject Hugh Burkitt to an FMRI scan to get to the bottom of it – which he’ll probably enjoy.

Either way, the Awards lived up to their billing; there was a lot of excellence awarded. In fact, as with so many awards now, I worry there may have been a smidgeon too much excellence awarded. There were 26 categories to win – plus commendations. Not everyone needs a prize and perhaps less is more when it comes to handing out gongs.

Anyway, it is true that TV advertising was central to most of the big winners. From the Grand Prix (McDonald’s) to New Brand (i Newspaper) to Brand Revitalisation (Foster’s) to Marketing Communications (John Lewis), TV creativity was at the heart of magnificent integrated campaigns.

And even some of those categories which ostensibly recognised explicitly non-TV success ( for Ecommerce and for Mobile marketing for example) can’t really be separated from their excellent and very successful TV work.

Overall it was a wonderful night packed with worthy winners. And, to do our bit, we have put together a gallery of the brilliant TV campaigns which made important contributions to the winning brands.


    I agree was a great evening, however am not sure I took the airline metaphor to be a reflection of airline TV advertising more of a pun on “High Flyers”.
    Whilst 26 categories is still too long, it didn’t seem to drag on. What I appreciated was that there were only 4 or 5 short listed in each category, not as seems to be the trend for Centaur Awards events to have 10+ in what is laughably called a short list (ie a long list) in a cynical means to sell more tables. The recent Marketing Week Engage awards was truly dreadful, endless “short” lists and endless awards. Agencies should insist on proper short lists before entering – I for one will insist on this clarification before forking out for awards entries, tables, wine etc etc


       You’ll have to forgive Lindsey.  We tend to see the world through TV-shaped glasses at Thinkbox (…and she might have been joking, of course).

      • Lindsey Clay

        Yes, I confess, it was meant to be a joke. Next time will clarify with liberal use of exclamation marks and emoticons.