I personally think that awards are a great motivation for creatives to push their work further. Okay, it is true that a lot of award winning work have nothing to do with the daily work in an agency. But I think awards keep the fun in advertising, it's motivating creatives to extend their creative limits and therefore they will be able to make better work with 'normal assignments'.
But recently I started to doubt the relevance of awards. The reason is that the work that did something at awards shows is the least good work in my portfolio. I got a shortlist nomination in Cannes with a one-shot that could have been made 10 years ago. My more interesting work does nothing in the student award shows. There was even a discussion in school about a campaign that won the Student of the year award at the German ADC. Everybody said that the winning idea is not very good and that it won because of the execution. I thought that this was the final proof that you cannot take awards too seriously.
Until I looked on the website to see the winning work... When I saw the striking visual of the ad, I held my breath for a while. And I think the idea isn't small at all. It's simple. But often simple ideas are mistaken for being small ideas. In my opinion, it totally deserved the big award. See the campaign (it's the one for Leica with the zoom lens) here. For me that's this proves that if you made really good work, it will be a certain winner. And it's the certain winners that you should always aim for when you're making advertising. Congratulations to Muco, Clemens and Alexander for making such a great campaign.