Design and creativity may be vital, but results are what the Effies are all about Most advertising awards look at creativity. The Effie Awards, held for the first time in Hong Kong this year, take creativity into consideration - but only in terms of how well it helped achieve an advertising campaign's objectives. The Effies were launched by the New York American Marketing Association in 1968 to honour 'the real world work of agency/client partnerships that create, manage and build brands'. 'The fundamental reason for advertising to exist is to create results. In a sense, creativity becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself,' said Mike Wong Ka-fai, managing director of McCann-Erickson Guangming and chairman of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Hong Kong (HK4As). 'Judges look at what kind of marketing and communication strategies were agreed on to achieve the objectives outlined in the brief, and then measure if these objectives were met or surpassed.' The new emphasis on results is due in part to global trends - people are demanding more bang for their buck - and in part to developments that are mostly local in nature. The economic downturn that hit Hong Kong in 1997 forced companies to look at advertising with a more critical eye. 'Hong Kong's economy has been getting increasingly more mature and competitive over the past five to 10 years. One could argue that the good old days, when you could enjoy the creativity and results would follow almost automatically, are over,' Mr Wong said. Another issue is the changing face of the media. 'Today the competition is very keen, and the media landscape has also evolved. You now spend less money and expect better results. So people in the advertising industry have to be conscious of the way we calculate and plan the limited resources we have. 'That's why it's appropriate for HK4As to focus on the effectiveness of a campaign through these awards.' HK4As organises several competitions each year, including AdFest and the Media Advertising Awards. The Creative Awards, by far the most prestigious, honour the creative accomplishments of Hong Kong's advertising industry. Advertising agencies and their clients have been positive about the launching of the Effies in Hong Kong. 'We think the Effies are very important because there are a lot of awards for creativity, but they don't take into consideration how effective the campaigns are in terms of the business results and also their impact on the brand,' said Ogilvy & Mather Advertising business director Gladys Wong. 'Sometimes we have a long-term brand-building campaign and the results cannot be seen immediately.' Measurability is another aspect that distinguishes the Effies from other advertising industry awards. 'In a nutshell, the results have to be proven with verifiable independent data,' said DDB Worldwide chief operating officer Mark Crouch in Hong Kong. 'Winning an Effie can have a very positive impact on an agency. It's great for the client, great for the staff. It sends a signal to the market that the agency can combine creativity with strategy for the ultimate impact.' These awards effectively gauge a campaign's overall effectiveness. 'The Effies are the other side of the coin from the Creative Awards and provide an essential balance.'