I have no issue with awards and agencies entering them. My worry is where agencies try to be too cute for their own good. Where they build their idea to such a complex level that it loses all connection/meaning to the audience.
Here is an example:
You are a large multinational consumer electronics company that is sponsoring the coverage of football matches of the England team. You want to be at the heart of it, to show you’re feeling the same emotions they are. The agency comes up with a great idea. They will develop a mechanical heart (made from your products) that will work – beating faster as the game gets more exciting. The question is:
Do you use internationally recognised symbol for heart/love/passion?
Or do you recreate an accurate representation of a heart that anyone will actually recognise as a heart but at least you are being true to your ‘art’?
As you can see, this company went for the latter. It was met with a lukewarm response to say the least with people not actually getting it – thinking it was just a blob. I didn’t understand then, and don’t understand now, why there was a need to re-invent the wheel. If there is a symbol that everyone knows and accepts, why not play to that.
Sometimes, in an effort to be creative and cutting-edge, agencies are far too smart for their own, and their clients’, good.