Creativity awards: Great expectations?

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Given the creativity inherent in advertising, one useful measure of creativity may be the advertising creativity award. Although creativity awards have been used by academics, agencies, and clients as indicators of exemplary creative work, there is surprisingly little research as to what creative elements they actually represent. Senior agency executives were selected to assess their own campaigns in terms of originality and strategy, and were also queried about whether those campaigns would win creativity, and effectiveness, awards. Findings show that the campaigns deemed worthy of creativity award recognition are usually highly original. Yet, most award-winning work is rarely regarded as being highly strategic. The results indicate that this originality bias contained in award-winning advertisements may limit their usefulness as proxy measures of creativity. Although the originality aspect of creativity is reflected, strategy and appropriateness are not adequately, nor proportionately considered. Implications for the use of creativity awards by researchers, as well as managerial issues, are discussed. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]