MSN butterfly stays in the cocoon

Msnbutterfly_1So last night we went to the MSN Creative Awards, held at Glo in New York. (By pre-emptively stowing our earbuds in our bag at the corner of 16th Street and Ninth Avenue, we didn’t get to answer these questions: Is it bad form to listen to one’s iPod when entering a Microsoft event? And more important, does the bouncer have instructions to rough up people who do? But we digress.) The big shocker was that the judges (who had to endure the hardship of being flown by helicopter to the MSN summer beach house in Westhampton, N.Y., earlier this year to judge creative) handed out only one gold award and passed on giving away a Grand Prix. If Taxi’s Paul Lavoie, who chaired the awards and emceed the ceremony, weren’t such an imposing physical presence, we think he might have been roughed up. Anyway, in a bid to light a fire in the bellies of apparently lackadaisical creatives, MSN has upped the Grand Prix award prize for next year from $25,000 to 1 million shares of Microsoft stock. (Kidding! It’ll be $50,000.) BTW, we asked a source close to MSN why the annual award show is no longer called the Emmessennys. The source said the Emmys actually challenged Microsoft about the name. Hard to see how an online creative show attended by hundreds could be a threat to a TV award show broadcast to millions, but whatever.

Addendum: We asked one of the MSN judges, Barbarian Group president Benjamin Palmer, why the jury was so tough. He said: "This is a really unique awards show—it’s for a single media property, and is one of the rare places on the Web that has a captive audience (being the default homepage for millions of Windows users) and it seemed like advertisers used it as an excuse to do average work, rather than an opportunity to do spectacular work. There was some good work, but there was nothing that we felt deserved to be held up as inspiration for everyone else, so we hope that the best inspiration is the judges saying the bar has not been set, and the person that gets there first wins an even bigger prize next year."

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor