The Creative Awards System is Rigged, and Here’s What I Did About It
If Alice Never Went Down The Rabbit Hole
When was the last time you saw something out of the ordinary? Maybe you were on the subway and saw a homeless guy dressed as a wizard. Or maybe you were walking through the park and noticed a trail of toothbrushes leading into the woods. Did you follow it? Did you go up and ask Homeless Harry to cast an invisibility spell on you?
Human nature tells us to avoid these kinds of things and to stay in our lane. But what about the part of human nature that is innately curious about all the weird, wild, and different occurrences that contrast from everyday life? What if one day that power overcomes our sense of fear for the unknown and the unusual, and we follow that trail of toothbrushes to the psycho in the abandoned cabin? For Rock Candy Media it has never been a “what if” question. It’s been a “when” question. And the answer is now (By the way, the guy in the Cabin was just a nature freak with a passion for good hygiene. His name is Frank).
As an Austin advertising agency, we’ve surrounded ourselves with some extremely talented marketers and strategists that have a knack for swerving off the beaten path and forging new roads with different digital marketing concepts and creative advertising ideas. From graphic designers with a fetish for sharp objects to UX-based developers and animators who produce their own porno flicks in claymation, we’ve seen it all and loved every bit of it. So to show our appreciation for these risk-takers and wonder-wanderers, we’ve decided to create a digital platform where we can showcase their unique work, whether it be something from their adobe portfolio or one of their best print ad campaigns. We call it The Digital Shortlist.
We happen to get legit business awards and surprise design awards, but we’ve never been able to bring ourselves to pay $300 to join the big boys because we know what’s up next: a $2K invitation to fly somewhere and wear a bunch of suits and fancy dresses for a table that costs $5K to hear the “announcement.” What a racket right? In fact, there’s an agency we had mad respect for until we learned that all the gold trophies they lined their walls with were bought and paid for, like online retail style. We’re still in shock about these creative criminals and wonder if that’s the playing field we are on. The difference is that we know we have the best creative ads and don’t need some plastic golden spray-painted trophy to prove it.
We understand that getting yourself into the limelight isn’t as easy as it sounds. With some of the latest ads we’ve seen and the budgets they are working on, it’s not easy for the little guy. Big agencies and publications, most of them starting in the predictable letter ‘A’, believe in charging people hundreds of dollars to submit their work. While it’s not surprising, it is sickening. You think homeless Harry can afford a time slot at Max’s Magic Emporium?
The bottom line is that we are on the creative’s side. At one point in time, we also had a difficult time getting onto a platform that would recognize us. We didn’t have enough money to buy the full creative suite. We didn’t have $500 to spend on a contest entry for agency of the year. In fact, at one point, our only source of revenue was nude modeling in south Austin for a bunch of hippies, although that was pretty fun. In reality, we only had our innate talent and a passion to create amazing work. But guess what? That’s all we ever needed. We built The Digital Shortlist because we wish there was one for us.
Getting on the shortlist is about honoring the indy kid who paints pictures of broken furniture. It’s about honoring the rogue photographer who takes shots of objects in nature that look like genitalia (for a reason, of course). Sure, sites like Behance and Siteinspire offer a platform for the underdogs, but they are still diluted by the big boys. But you know what? Big businesses can keep charging people hundreds of dollars for advertising award entries and tables and ceremonies. All they will get is the same people that they’ve been writing stories about for years. We will take the weird, the wild, and the unique creative advertising ideas that you’ve constructed in your head, without any monetary toxins getting in the way. No offense Nike.
If you think your vibe aligns with our tribe, go ahead and drop us a line. While we love showcasing your creative advertising ideas and designs, you’ll never get a team who can broadcast your work to as many employers as us, Rock Candy Media. Our audiences are all business owners, shot callers and ballers. Get peer recognition. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. #getonit #theantiawards