Honoring Ad Industry Egos

The ad industry famously loves awards. The newest will test the industry’s ability to poke fun at itself in honoring narcissism.

The Hubies won’t be about the work, but instead will be all about the characters behind the work. Think categories like “Best Hair” and “Best Dressed.”

The official categories will be released Dec. 18, and until then people can submit ideas. Once the categories are announced people can then submit agencies and specific people as nominees for each of the categories. The Hubies Award Show Extravaganza will take place as a Google Plus Hangout on Feb. 12, and the lucky winners will receive Hubies Award PDFs to print out and proudly hang on their office walls.

The mastermind behind this funny awards show is “creative bohemian” Doug Zanger of the Advertising Week Social Club. Zanger took time to answer some questions about the Hubies and the ego issue in advertising.

How did you come up with the idea for the Hubies?
I’ve always been acutely aware of the fact that the people of this industry look and dress well (or interestingly) and have some hubris (the reason we’re calling it The Hubies). Appearance in any industry is important, but advertising people can take it to higher art. I also thought that we “really” needed another award in this industry. I don’t think we have nearly enough of them. But I do think what really shook it loose were a couple of things. First, I’ve always loved Jon Kamen’s (of @radical.media) eyewear. It’s the truth. I think he has awesome glasses. I tend to collect eyewear and I have a great appreciation for things like that. Second, since 2006, I’ve had longer hair. It has a bit of a reputation among my peers and we generally get a good laugh over it. Especially since it’s salt and pepper and when it gets super long, I end up with gray Paulie Walnuts wings around my temples. How’s that for narcissism?

Why is it that the ad industry has such a big ego problem? 
Ego problem? Really? Actually, I am firmly in favor of a productive ego. I think that it helps us keep our edge and allows us to push harder. Destructive ego is a completely different animal. And we’re not trying to play to that side of the equation, which is why this is intended to be more a wink than a mandate about narcissism. I can understand that people may think that there is a high level of ego in the business. But, in my experience, I am seeing less and less of the destructive version. I tend to see highly confident men and women (and children) who are working hard to do the best work possible.

Do you think people will be able to laugh at themselves with the Hubies or will their egos get in the way? 
God, I hope so. If not, then that’s kind of sad. We all know that this exists. This just does the “full kimono” (which, by the way, is the dumbest term ever and I can’t believe I used it) thing and gets it on full display. That’s why the logo is an elephant in the room.

Can you give us a bit of a preview of what kinds of categories there will be? 
Well, we do know that “Hipster of the Year” should be hotly contested. I’m pulling for someone in my hometown of Portland, Oregon to take that one. I’d be very upset if Williamsburg beats us there. So come on, Portland, get your s**t together on this. We’re thinking the usuals like best dressed, hair, eyewear, etc. But we’re knocking around a few more interesting ones like “Best Twitter Avatar.” At this stage in the process, we’re asking people to weigh in with categories. But there will be nothing mean-spirited or nasty. That’s not what this is about. We’ll end up creating 10-15 categories to keep it simple.

What will the highest honor (or dishonor) at the Hubies be?
I think that the aforementioned “Hipster of the Year” may be up there. And I really hope that a woman wins that. We may ask Kristen Schaal to autograph something if that happens. Or, we may just buy something signed by her on eBay. If a man wins, then it’s John Hodgeman all the way. “Best Facial Hair” for men might be a big one as well. Overall, though, I think the biggest “honor” will be just the opportunity for us to get a good chuckle out of this.

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