January through to March is peak season for entry submissions to some of the most prestigious advertising awards, including: D&AD, Cannes, The Drum Marketing Awards, The CLIOS and Marking Society, to name a few!
Award entries are never easy because different awarding bodies look for different things. The D&ADs are creatively focused whereas The Drum Marketing Awards are much more strategic, so a great idea presented in the wrong way is as useful as a jelly hammer.
However, if you know you’ve got a winning idea and the right angle, then don’t eff it up! Two must dos: 1) Include results – write them loud and clear people! Without results you might just be spinning a big ball of yarn, and 2) Get the entry copy edited. I’ve seen it countless times where award deadlines creep up, everyone panics and the account manager ends up sending a bog standard case study full of typos. Nott cool. See?
Getting the entries in:
1) Firstly, find the work. Even the best copywriter can’t spin a crap idea into a winner. Read the award brief clearly and don’t kid yourself. Or, if you know you’ve got a great project but not sure what it’d be right for, ask your marketing director (who should be a font of award knowledge!).
2) Get a draft entry together. Research the award, read previous winners’ papers, and check for any entry checklist on the website. Get a v1 together making sure you’re ticking boxes, collaborate with relevant departments for their input and finally, send it to your marketing director to get their input.
3) If you work in New Biz, this is when it’s over to you! You’ll probably be bombarded with entries over this period, especially for the big dog awards, meaning you need to decide how many, and which to enter. Asking what your budget is will help to determine this as awards aren’t cheap, as will an understanding of the award and exactly what they look for.
4) Work with account and creative teams to get everything you need to knock the judges’ socks off: strategic rationale, creative assets, testimonials. Make sure any images are the highest quality res – this is an easy win often overlooked. Make sure a copywriter, or ideally the CD, has worked their magic on the words too.
5) Collate and get it out the flipping door! Award bodies are clever, they know how busy us agency folk get busy so they create a deadline, then an extended deadline and then a late fee deadline – knowing we’ll all ultimately opt for option 3. To please you finance director make sure you get all entries in on the first deadline!
With over 30 award submission periods (for above and below the line) falling from Jan to March there’s something for everyone, so get entering.
Words by – VT