The industry's unanimous open-mouthed reaction to this week's announcement that The Loerie Awards will be moving to Margate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, was initially disbelief and skepticism.
When assured that this was no joke, the incredulous mouths closed, breath was drawn and then began a litany of protest...While no one spoke up for discarded venue Sun City, which everyone had long wanted to abandon, there was little support for the new choice either and old arguments resurfaced regarding the necessity for the awards to be more accessible.
Someone who has long criticised the awards, AdVantage editor John Farquhar says: "They are moving out their depth. All over the world ad awards are a cinema-seating event which lasts two hours. Winners then go off and party at a venue of their own choice. We are the only country that turns ad awards into a Hollywood Show. Even the Oscars are handed out in a cinema.
"Can the industry afford to spend this kind of money when funds are needed to bring PDIs into the ad industry? More money should be spent on training. Then there's traveling and accommodation logistics. There is only one run down hotel in Margate. Visitors will have to stay in self catering B&Bs. I say hold the event in Johannesburg where the industry is."
Bob Harrison of Mediaworx was equally surprised: "I cannot understand this decision because the beef in the past has always been that youngsters in creative departments don't get to go to the awards because of the costs involved. Now this is going to create a similar, if not worse, problem in a limited resource town."
The messageboards on Bizcommunity.com began humming yesterday with comments as the news broke. Wrote anonymous: "The idea of creating a small town festival atmosphere is great, but how many festivals are held over only two days? I feel that despite the claims of greater accessibility, the situation is in fact the opposite. How many agencies are going to pay for their staff to fly down and then rent cars? And while driving or bussing is an option, how many agencies are going to give their staff the Friday and Monday off for traveling? It will in my opinion become an awards ceremony that is accessible only to CDs and MDs."
And then there was the succinct "The industry has finally lost the plot," by another of the family 'anonymous'.
Charl Nel of 9November says he's very glad it's being held somewhere else, but Margate is much too far and inaccessible: "But hey, I've never been there - that's a reason to go I suppose."
A production house director says the costs involved will be astronomical, involving flights, car hire and accommodation and that these factors immediately exclude his small company from being there.
Another visitor to Bizcommunity.com's Forum on the issue, who goes by the moniker "Sloppywriter", says: "It's a weird place to have the awards, no mistake, but Margate does have a certain dumb charm. The fact is, if the awards were all that they should be (and I'm not blaming organisers here - the industry is to blame for the lack of great creative these days) then people would attend even if they were being held in Hillbrow..."
Gitam's Yossi Schwartz's resolute comment is: "It's great for whoever is going to participate and take the time and the trouble to drive there. I can tell you that I doubt if Y&R and its agencies will."
And of course there was the inevitable: "Sounds like an April Fool's joke!" from Adele Wapnick at Cross Colours.
Looks as if the organisers are in for another tough year...
Freelance writer, editor and media consultant, Cheryl Hunter, has worked in the newspaper and television arenas, both locally and for the foreign media. Former editor of the Media&Marketing section within Business Report, Cheryl has focused on the advertising and communications industry and today provides clients with several marketing services including publicity, research, writing, editing and proofing.
Why not!? Its the same distance for the Capetonians,its closer for the Durbanites. The committee took a long hard look at accessibility and have the answers - why not ask them? You don't actually think a bunch of business men and women who run highly successful companies just simply closed their eyes and picked a town on the SA map?? Think of how Tourism into that area will be improved, and how awards of this magnitude will help the town and the surrounding areas from an economic perspective. As for the distance from JHB - planes, trains, busses, cars - hell, most of you do the heli flip from Nice to Cannes without a thought. Embrace the change, embrace the challenge! Posted on 21 Apr 2005 15:44
Clearly some people have an unbelievably inflated idea of the importance of the Loerie awards. Two days of Loeries will make a significant difference to tourism in the area? How? A whole lot of hotels will open just to cater to the Loeries? Everyone will have such a great time, they will cancel their trips to Cape Town, Cannes wherever and go to Margate for the holidays? Instead of making the Loeries more accessible this venue means most people who work in advertising will have to spend more money and time to attend... finally where is the only in a seven hour drive? Posted on 26 Apr 2005 11:33
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Well if Sun City was banging a head on a wall, we are now moving to jumping off a 5 storey building head first and expecting a better event????? Go figure: someone has seriously lost the plot Posted on 21 Apr 2005 18:01
i dont know what these awards are, but i know for a fact that margate isn't as bad as all you people are makeing it out to be. i live in broadstirs, near to margate and even though it has its problems, it isnt half as bad as what you are making it out to be.
The heavy weights who made this decision must be tripping. The major shortfall is not moving the awards out of Gauteng, but overlooking Durban as a world-class venue! The infrastructure, the vibe and entertainment value derived from hosting it in Durban would be far more enticing than hosting it in a seasonal, sleepy Margate. As it is, much of the advertising creative is pirated/shipped off to the JHB and CPT (larger) offices, now we're being disregarded on the hospitality front as well. I think on closer inspection, the big-boys of the industry will find that Durban has oceans of talent in both spheres. Regards, Brenen Posted on 22 Apr 2005 11:22
This is absolutely rudiculous...Who wants to go down to Drygate for the Loeries...the industry is here in JHB! And all those funds wasted for what??? Could be used effectively next time! Ever been to Margate anyone..Yes, I mean all ya'll who suggested this...ever been there! If you are trying to single out the PDI...then you are en route to doing it right...BIG UPS!!! Posted on 22 Apr 2005 21:48
Sometimes a brief comes along from a client whose product you don't particularly enjoy. You are forced to make the most of it and this challenges your creativity to the max. Let's turn Margate upside down. Don't be afraid of Margate we can still dress trendy like everyone else. Posted on 29 Apr 2005 16:19
The offical reason why margate was the final choice: bob the copywriter who is on the board of final location decision in his youth popped a cap of acid in margate. And still suffers from flash backs. The latest of which managed to convince the other fellows that a return to folly and youth was the buzz word you know the young are getting older and the older are getting younger.. and hey man... still time to sea, surf and chicks bru - but this time in a BMW and with a credit card. Posted on 4 May 2005 13:50
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