The Business of Awards
When we sold out to North American Publishing Company in 1992 and moved to Philadelphia, we brought our incredible archive of direct mail samples with us—several hundred thousand pieces in more than 200 categories, consumer, business and nonprofit.
Today, the Archive contains 140,000 packages (catalogs excluded). When a new mailing comes in from one of the correspondents around the country, and it matches an existing mailing, the history is transcribed and updated onto the new envelope and the old version discarded. As a result, those 140,000 packages represent mailing information and history of probably 250,000 or more efforts.
I haven’t counted the number of Grand Controls, but they number in the hundreds, and are pure marketing gold. Many are available as PDF files.
We gave up on awarding Axels because it was too time consuming. I feel guilty. They were the only direct marketing creative awards that made sense.
The Ig Nobel Awards
This column was triggered by seeing the note that Stacey Burling of the Inquirer won the American Association for the Advancement of Science award for her stunning piece on Alzheimer’s.
However, my favorite awards in the field of science aren’t the Nobels, but the Ig Nobels (as in “ignoble”), named for Ignatius Nobel, co-inventor of soda pop, and possibly a distant relative of Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite. Founded in 1991, the 2006 “Igs” were presented on Thursday evening, Oct. 5, at Harvard’s Sanders Theater.
“The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur people’s interest in science, medicine and technology,” said Marc Abrahams, editor of Annals of Improbable Research, co-sponsor of the event.
Many of the awardees were serious scientists, who paid their own way to pick up their prizes. According to the BBC News, “The winners are given a one-minute acceptance speech, the time policed by a loud eight-year-old girl.”