Whatever Happened To The Prime Directive?

It’s called The Prime Directive. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you probably know it by heart. Essentially what it says is that societies must be free to sink or swim on their own without outside interference. It is, as Spock would say, logical.

So where is the logic in The WIN Awards?

WIN stands for Women’s Image Network. The WIN Awards is the first advertising awards show designed exclusively to honor women creatives. The show’s supporters say this is something that's been needed for a long time. I say women need this like they need a hole in the head.

Look, like the article in Adweek says, women make up a paltry 15% of advertising agency creative departments. They fare only better in the Director’s Guild of America at just 22%. But is a special awards show the way to solve that?

Charlotte Moore and Janet Champ are two of my all-time heroes in this business and trust me, I don’t have a lot of them. I had a campaign that lost to Janet and Charlotte in the Kelly Awards. The much deserving Nike women’s campaign. What could I say? I adored it. That work brought an intelligence and a literacy and a depth of emotion that I had rarely seen in advertising. It was huge and sparkling and historic and important and it kicked major ass in every show on the planet. Somehow, I don’t think winning a WIN award would have meant much.

I think the question we need to ask is, if talent is talent and great works gets noticed no matter who’s responsible for it, then why do we need The WIN Awards? And is it possible that what began as a well-meaning attempt to remedy the inequities in advertising creative departments could actually backfire by reinforcing the perception of women creatives as—and I think Sally Hogshead had this right-- a niche category.

There was a time when awards shows seemed to have a category for everything. Newspaper Over 1000 Lines. Small Space, Black and White Under A Quarter Page. Radio Retail, Banking And Financial. It was nuts. Until somebody had the sense to figure out that great work is great work and it doesn’t need to have its own category to prove it.

Neither do women.

AnonymousCoward's picture
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joytuttle's picture

What evidence can you offer to substantiate your assertion that THE WIN AWARDS will not have impact on society or on the media-makers?

Who knows why more women don't enter the ADVERTSING industry. But The WIN AWARDS honors media (and its makers) that portray women well BECAUSE given greater awareness generated from our show, WIN not only applauds established creatives, but also encourages more women to enter advertising. And by bringing a broader base of talent into the AD industry doesn

James_Trickery's picture

Excellent. Thanks for commenting and letting us know your point of view as the founder of WIN.

Dabitch's picture

Adfreak: Enough with the chick awards already

Fortune magazine has its 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business. Many business magazines do a “Women to Watch” feature in whatever category they cover. And this time around, it’s not just women but working moms, and it’s not just working moms but working moms in “the dynamic, creative and lucrative field of advertising.” Could we slice this any thinner?
A press release titled “Accolades for Top Ad Moms” arrived today and goes on to explain why advertising needs this new award so much. Each of the honored women knows what it takes “to succeed as a working mother in a high-stress, fast-paced business,” reads the press release. You mean, as opposed to an ER doctor? A high-powered attorney? A NASA physicist?
I’m sure AWNY, the organization that’s putting out this award, does nothing but positive things for women in business. But doesn’t the mere existence of these awards perpetuate the differences between the sexes?
Neo's picture

Just to correct the misconception in this post:
Ladies - an award for women and ads that empower women The award is not for designed exclusively to honor women creatives - but designed:

for ads that have been directed by a woman, created by a woman OR that promote empowering media messages for women.

In other words men can win a WIN award

Back to your regularly scheduled bickering all.

Dabitch's picture

True... True.

So then, is it still about as useful as a hole in the head ernieschenck?
The objective of the award is a tad different from what you seem to have thought it was.

ernieschenck's picture

Look, guys, the fact that this show is associated with the word "Women" still does a disservice to women. Doesn't matter that men can enter it. It's as absurd as having a "Men's" show. It just doesn't make sense. The world doesn't need a show to draw attention to women in advertising. I don't care if teddy bears can enter it. It still feels like a crutch to me and women don't need that kind of support. Just my opinion.

Neo's picture


It looks more like you are having some sort of knee-jerk reaction to the word "women". The WIN awards does not set out to do what you describe, so your whole argument falls like a deck of cards.

Now make another one instead, saying that media (theater, films and ads) don't need to change a thing in how they portray women. Is that really what your point was? I don't think it was. The point of the award though, is not to draw attention to women in advertising, but how women are portrayed in it. That detail makes all the difference.

ernieschenck's picture

Sorry if my comments on the WIN Awards seem like a knee jerk reaction to you neo. I can assure you they're not. Obviously, all of media needs to continue working at how we portray women. Nobody disputes that. But if we're serious about this, let's do something else besides launch yet another awards show that has very little chance of effecting real change. A creative director I know tells me only 1 out of every 10 books he sees is from a woman and he wishes it were different. So do I. Maybe the WIN awards can do something about that. If someone can explain to me how, I'd love to hear it. Seriously.

Neo's picture

My point is simple: the win awards aren't trying to do anything about the lack of female creatives, which is what you seem to think it's trying to do. That's all.

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