War of the Awards: Design Awards v Product of the Year

In this feature that first appeared in Appliance Retailer magazine, we look at the similarities and differences between the Australian International Design Awards and the Product of the Year Awards.

By Patrick Avenell

Australia’s two significant product awards programs have both announced expansions to feature appliances and consumer electronics more prominently during their 2013 programs.

After a garlic crusher trumped all the consumer products at the 2012 Australian International Design Awards, the organisers have decided to restructure the categories so that Domestic Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Housewares are now completely separate. This guarantees that one appliance and one electronic device will be named Best in Category at this year’s event.

Soon after announcing its winners for this year’s Product of the Year Awards, which was almost entirely comprised of FMCG categories, the local organisers of this international for-profit awards network revealed that more appliance categories would be included for the next event.

Out of 34 Product of the Year Awards presented last month, only two were appliances: Breville’s Fast Slow Cooker won in Small Appliances and Philips Sonicare AirFloss was recognised for Dental Hygiene. New categories for this year include TV and Video, Major Appliance, Small Appliance, Audio, Computers, Cameras and Camcorders and Gaming.

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Although the next editions of the Design Awards (2013) and the Product of the Year Awards (2014) will carry different years in their name, the entry and judging processes will coincide.

Furthermore, because Product of the Year Award winners are told of their success well before the presentation event, recognition is in the same calendar year as well. Winners are informed in advance to facilitate future marketing plans around the public announcement.

Due to the Design Awards having a short lead-in time and Product of the Year a very long one, the two programs compete for entry fees.

The Australian International Design Awards has a dynamic pricing scale based on the date of entry and the size of the product. Typical prices for electronics and appliances will range from $650 to $1,200. Winners can then choose to pay a licensing fee, priced from $1,000 to $2,000, to use the Design Awards logo in marketing material.

Brandon Gien, the head of the company that organises the Design Awards, has previously said that these awards are not run for profit.

The Product of the Year Awards is very much a profit-making exercise. Sarah Connelly, director of the Australian chapter of this multinational group, said the Awards first launched in France almost 30 years ago and are now run in 28 countries. The first round winners among the free entrants pay a $6,000 ‘Finalist Fee’ and the overall victors pay a further $17,500 ‘Winner Fee’. This $23,500 investment includes the licensing of the Product of the Year logo for one year.

“Product of the Year is not simply an award, it’s a powerful marketing tool,” said a company spokesperson on the subject of costs. “Past winners have seen sales increases of 10-15 per cent as well as increased product trial, distribution and consumer awareness.”

Australian International Design Awards

Entries Currently Open
Entries Close 28 March 2013
Finalists Announced 3 May 2013
Winners Announced 30 May 2013
Cost: $650 to $1,200, plus licensing fee

Product of the Year Awards

Entries open April 2013
Winners Informed late 2013
Winners Announced early 2014
Cost: Free to enter, $6,000 (finalist fee) plus $17,500 (winner fee)

Appliance Retailer magazine is the industry bible for the retrail appliances and electrical sales. Click on the link to find out more.

 

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