Editor's comment: COI should be proud not loud

No one advertises just for the hell of it - at least, we should all hope not - and the IPA Effectiveness Awards, detailed in this week's issue and on marketingmagazine.co.uk, have set the benchmark for proving the value of ads.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty stole the show, winning the Grand Prix with its Johnnie Walker paper, which set out to prove how its advertising has helped the Diageo whisky brand gain share and sales over the past decade. Well done, BBH.

These accolades prove advertising can work - a message that the IPA and the ad industry will be sharing with anyone who will listen in the current climate, as they attempt to use winning case studies to instil confidence in advertisers toying with budget cuts. Unlike some other industry gongs, most advertisers recognise IPA Effectiveness; one member of the clients' judging panel told me they had learned from the entry papers they had read, and often found them inspiring.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne recently took a swipe at the COI's adspend, questioning the value of it's work, so the body will be delighted that three of its ads were among the winners.

An IPA press release hails this as evidence that public-sector advertising changes lives, but I am not sure the COI should be shouting about that. It is comforting that government-led advertising can deliver at the highest level, and that the COI instigates important public-information campaigns in a complex media mix, but it could work against the body.

Other big-spending brands may not have been among the winners, but their work is not funded by taxpayers. With only three winners in the final, questions may be asked about other, more expensive, higher-profile COI campaigns, which were either not entered or failed to make the shortlist. Does this mean they were not effective?

Lucy.barrett@haymarket.com.

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