This advertising competition has a nice ring to it

It’s an accepted truism that in advertising, not everything is as it seems—and that goes for the awards. One of the industry’s most coveted prizes, the Cannes Gold Lion, is actually made of yellow copper, and the One Show’s Gold Pencil is actually gold-plated steel.

But the co-founders of Young Glory, a global advertising competition structured around the concept “8 months, 8 briefs, 8 big name judges,” have come up with the first industry bauble they say could actually gain in value: a gold “championship ring.”

Young Glory winners are typically invited to present at the C2 Montreal conference, but the event was cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Needing to come up with a new way to reward this year’s winning teams (one from Ukraine, the other from Australia) organizers came up with 18k gold rings emblazoned with the Young Glory logo.

“The idea of championship rings came up almost as a joke,” said Rafik Belmesk, the vice-president, head of strategy at Taxi Montreal who co-founded the Young Glory competition in 2011. “Then we thought ‘It actually works.’ When you change agencies you leave the trophies there, so we thought there was something really funny about having the only trophy you want to hold onto because it increases in value,” he says.

Created by a jeweller in Montreal (who also designed the engagement and wedding rings for Belmesk’s wife), the Young Glory ring went through five or six iterations before organizers hit on the final product.

It weighs about 10 grams, which at current gold prices puts its value at about $620. “We wanted to make it a lot more valuable and put diamonds on it and stuff like that, but then we realized we had to make four of them,” says Belmesk. “We pulled it back a little and didn’t put diamonds. But maybe next year.”

The plan is to make the championship rings part of Young Glory’s annual awards, with Belmesk saying organizers are toying with the idea of a different ring design each year. It might even lead to an uptick in entries for the show, which could make this an idea worth its weight in… well, you know.

Registrations for the 2020-21 Young Glory competition are now open.

Chris Powell