Sunday, April 10, 2011

And the winner in this category is... from another category!

The life of the lone inventor can be, well, lonely.

But there are rewarding times. A nice piece of PR coverage, or a juicy award can perk one up and re-energise the efforts to get your baby 'out there'. And an award can lead to PR, or both, with a fair wind and the right person down the line to take note, it can mean things get escalated to a more productive level.

Maybe, even, revenue. Because of course, as the family wearily asks when I burst in with some great news, if the answer to 'can we eat it?' is no, the rewards are seldom immediate or tangible, other than down the line. Possibly.

So, with some highs and lows through bitter experience, I have tended of late to be a bit more circumspect, even with time, and especially where money is involved.

But if you are in a lull, with not much happening, it can be darn tempting to risk a roll of the dice to get things moving again. Even if you don't win you may place, and even if you don't place you may get under the gaze of a judge who sees merit (and has a mate), or simply lurk in the brochure where that perfect fit person may be idly glancing through.

So it was that I was flattered by a contact by a major packaging industry trade media editor getting back to me in response to the latest PR on the RE:tie (very positive consumer market research results), but also with a suggestion that I enter their transatlantic awards.

I was, I do confess, flattered, and even after discovering this invitation was, of course, to spend money entering, still tempted.

What clinched it was the categories.

Because there, amongst all the high-profile, mega-player stuff, was a diamond of opportunity gleaming in the prospecting pan.


Best packaging for functional drinks
Best closure for functional drinks
Best functional drink label


However, when the press release and subsequent PR arrived post event, excitement turned to disappointment, and then confusion, and then something more.

Remembering there was really only one category of relevance, which I confirmed...

Me - This seems to be the only category of relevance: Best closure for functional drinks

...and had double confirmed:

Organisers - I would agree that this would be the best category for you to compete in.

Imagine how one feels that to find there not only is there no winner or finalists... the category doesn't seem to exist at all either!!!!!

On querying the missing entry, and mine in particular, I have had this reply:

'I have contacted Bill Bruce who was the chair of the judging panel to explain this, although he is currently in Washington DC at the moment he wanted to get back to you as soon as he could and has provided this statement for you:

'We received a very low number of entries in the closure category and in discussion with the judging panel it was decided to evaluate each entry against its particular criteria and then review the packaging entries to include closures.

As chair of the panel I can assure that full attention was given to each and every entry and that all outcomes were fairly decided. It is always unfortunate to have to revert to the position of 'the panel's decision is final' but in this case I consider this to be the correct decision for the competition.

The Junkk closure was featured for a long time during the awards presentation last night at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC and received a great deal of interest. It will further feature in the Awards Showcase magazine which will be included with the next issue of Beverage Innovation magazine. We will be very interested to follow this product when it is fully commercialised.''

Now, this really didn't quite answer my questions, or seem adequate in the circumstances, so I followed up:

'I very much appreciate you pursuing this so promptly.

I also appreciate Mr. Bruce taking the time to reply.

Whilst noting the positive aspects of the long feature and consequent interest during the evening, plus subsequent inclusion in the magazine(s), and interest in the product once commercialised... it's all nice but... not really the same as winning or being placed in an award for one's product in the specific category created and advertised, that was ideal to highlight it.

I just wondered if you and Claire [Editor] had any thoughts to share before I comment further.

Noting we are two cultures separated by a common language, it's possible that I have interpreted Mr. Bruce's statement in an Anglocentric manner that could have failed to appreciate the full scope of what he may have been trying to convey.'

Sadly, the exchange now seems to have stalled. Basically I am left with the notion that I entered in good faith, paid, and then less good faith kicked in thereafter. And it's all, like, tough, as 'judges' decision is final'?

Now, what to do? Especially as I seem out of pocket, out of luck, and out of my mind trusting any industry awards having had the exact same thing happen before!!!!

Why I did not kick up on that one more at the time I do not know. This time, I just might.

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