Time is running out to enter this year’s Bookmarks Awards with only three days to go. The digital industry’s annual awards, organised by the Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA), recognises excellence in the field, across 52 categories. The judges have been announced, and TheMediaOnline caught up with Quirk’s Rob Stokes, a previous winner himself, to find out more about the judging process.
“There are five core judges who are each leaders in our industry both locally and abroad. These judges review every entry and then a specialist judge is introduced where relevant. The core judges must have solid experience in digital across the board with the specialist judges being experts in their particular area,” Stokes explains.
“The Bookmarks are results focused awards so for most entries, the effectiveness of the piece of work counts 40%,” he says. “Creativity is allocated the difference and this is broken down equally between the idea, the aesthetic and the technical innovation. Each of these criteria pays homage to the factors which make digital different and this scoring methodology makes the process as objective as possible.”
The Bookmarks changed the category system this year and Stokes says the main differences in this year’s awards are firstly, the removal of “a clear distinction between publisher and agency categories”.
He explains. “As more brands become content publishers this line has been blurring and so this year we decided to embrace the change and as a result there are no longer two sets of panels, rather one set which encompasses both disciplines.
“As a result, the second change to the judging process is that there are now five core judges who review every piece of work and where relevant one or two specialists are included to assist them. For example a specialist technical judge has been included to provide input on those entries with a highly technical element.”
Stokes says it’s unlikely that the judges won’t be able to reach consensus. “It’s not a voting system, but a scoring system. Also, whilst the judges openly discuss each finalist, the scores are kept private and only the Jury Chair (Jack Kruger) has access to them.
An international agency and publisher judges will be announced soon, and this will help judges benchmark SA work against an international standard. “We have judges with international experience to ensure we are comparing with the best the world has to offer,” says Stokes. “In previous years there have been very few golds awarded as the judges felt that while the work was often excellent, it didn’t quite merit a gold on an international stage. I expect this gap to close rapidly, particularly in the mobile space.”
Mobile has five categories now but Stokes believes it will make judging easier. “I actually think the expansion of categories will make judging mobile submissions easier as the judges will now be able to better compare apples with apples,” he says.
This year, a category has been introduced that explores civil society and public service websites. “These types of websites serve a very different function from corporate brand or retail sites and as a result we felt they deserved a specific category,” Stokes explains.
The Bookmarks committee selected the judges based on their experience and specialist skills.
The 2011 Bookmarks judges are:
Local generic: Jason Xenopolous (Native), Brent Shahim (Aqua Online) and Nic Wittenberg (Ogilvy)
Local publishing: Bridget Pringle (iafrica.com) and Alistair Fairweather (Mail & guardian)
Tech developers: Sophia Raw (Quirk)
Usability and interactivity (Craft awards): Rian van de Merwe (Kalahari.com)
Search and display: Adriaan Strydom (Clicks2Customers) and Andrea Mitchell (DigiVOX)
Interns and students: Alex Rees (Quirk)
Mobile: Jason Probert (Vodacom) and Vincent Maher (Motribe)
Community and PR: Simon Dingle (5FM) and Suzanne Stokes (MWEB)
Senior industry: Luke McKend (Google) and Renee Silverstone.
The clusters are: Websites and Microsites, Advertising and Search, Email Marketing, Community and PR, Applications and Tools, Games, Online Video and Audio, Intergrated or Mixed Media (all Product Awards); as well as Achievement and Special Honours; Individual and Team Awards and Craft Awards.
There is a limited time left for entry submissions, as the closing date is the end of the week. Entries can be submitted via the website at www.thebookmarks.co.za.
The Awards will be held in Cape Town on November 10, 2011, with workshops taking place on November 8 and 9 in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.
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