Entries for the AMASA Awards opened on the 24 July 2019. These awards, established in their current format in 2014 by Advertising Media Association of South Africa, are intended to recognise media work that “demonstrates effectiveness, innovation, strategic thinking and executional excellence” and to inspire and motivate media talent to reach international standards.
This is the opportunity for media agencies to demonstrate the value the media discipline can bring marketers’ business. The dividends for winning agencies are heightened agency profiles, increased clout and credibility and the ability to a attract staff and clients. Wining is a powerful career boost for individuals.
Advice from the AMASA Win workshop
AMASA hosted a very useful workshop on how to win an AMASA award, led by Taryn Hood, head of product for Publicis Media. Besides being one of the AMASA committee members responsible for the awards, she is a previous Roger Garlick Grand Prix winner, making her eminently qualified for the task.
The first point that Hood made was that crafting award entries is a skill that one develops: even if you do not win the first time, persisting will help to build the required memory. She then set out to provide really practical guidelines to assist entrants.
For the first time a new online entry management and judging system, developed by The Loerie Awards Company, will be used. The great benefit of such a system is that it ensures that entrants work through all the necessary steps and that all the components of the entry are submitted, as well as streamlining the judging process. Entrants need to register on the Awards website before they can begin the entry process.
It is important to allow yourself enough time to assemble all the necessary information and supporting material, as well as to craft your submissions. If you have produced great work which ran between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, it is now time to familiarize yourself with the requirements and start preparing your entries.
Choose the categories you want to enter
Hood advised that the starting point was to decide what categories you intend to enter. There are 11 categories devoted to “Best Integrated Campaigns” across a number of sectors:
- Automotive & Transport
- Public Services
- Travel & Tourism
- Retail (Incl. E-Commerce and QSR)
- Media, Entertainment & Leisure
- Other Consumer Goods (Incl. Durables & Commodities)
A new addition this year is Best Integrated Campaign: Rest of Africa.
The definition of an integrated campaign is one where at least two media channels were used; judging will be based on how well the multi-channel strategy and execution has integrated the chosen media types throughout the campaign, and successfully demonstrated how different formats complement and build on one another.
Further categories are:
- Best Experiential / Event Campaign
- Best Sponsorship
- Best Pro Bono Campaign
- Best Branded Content Campaign
- Best Online Campaign
- Best Social Media Strategy
- Best Use of Mobile
- Best Use of Technology / Data
- Best Use of a Small Budget (<R150k)
- Best Tactical Use of Media
New categories, added this year, are:
- Best Use of Television
- Best Use of Radio
- Best Use of Out of Home
- Best Use of Print
The remaining categories are:
- Best Contribution by a Media Owner, which can only be entered by media owners. If an agency believes that a media owner qualifies for consideration in this category, they should encourage them to enter.
- Best Trade Marketing
- Ignition Award for Students
The winners of these categories will be eligible for the overall coveted Roger Garlick Grand Prix.
It is important to spend some time familiarising yourself with the detail of these categories and their judging criteria. Hood encouraged entrants to submit entries across multiple applicable categories, with the proviso that it is necessary to tailor each entry to meet the judging criteria of each specific category.
Put yourself in the judges’ shoes
There are two rounds to the judging process. The first is an online jury, which arrives at a shortlist of 50–60 entries: each judge has to evaluate three sets of eight entries. This is done on a voluntary basis and usually after hours. The second round is a live jury of 12 judges who work through the shortlisted entries to choose the winners and highly commended entrants, as well as the overall Roger Garlick Grand Prix. Simply, it is critical to understand that the judges have a great deal to get through: entries that will stand out for them are those that are succinct, simple to understand and written to answer the judging criteria of the particular category. Judging fatigue is real: judges are unlikely to persist with a confusing entry.
Writing the case studies
Hood pointed out that it is important to take into account the weight of marks assigned to each of the sections of the entry, and also to keep within the recommended number of words given for each section. This goes back to fact that judging is a pressured and onerous process; if you don’t keep within the guidelines, fatigued judges are unlikely to be indulgent.
The entry format
There are six sections to this.
- The challenge accounts for 5% of the marks, but it is the foundation on which your story is built and must be clearly articulated. Hood recommended that you try to clearly and simply state the core goal, objective or outcome is that you were trying to achieve; it may be a business, brand, communication, socio-economic or other challenge. All the subsequent sections of the entry need to relate to how this challenge was met. Hoods gave a basic simple example of the challenge as “sell widgets” but suggested that adding context to the challenge would help to define the campaign results e.g. explaining that the widget market was in decline.
- 15% of the marks are allocated to the insight, which must address the challenge: it must be rooted in what drives the sale of widgets or what barrier is preventing widgets from being sold.
- 20% of the marks are given for the solution/idea: it is important that the idea answers the challenge and leverages the insight. How is the idea going to sell widgets
- The same amount of marks (20%) are allocated to the strategy and execution: focus on how does the support the solution/ idea, answer the insight and address the challenge? Focus on how you strategically planned and executed the solution / idea to successfully sell widgets.
- For the results to generate a further 20% of the marks, they must link back to the challenge stated at the outset. If you said you were setting out to sell widgets, don’t go off on a tangent about how many millions of people saw your message or searched for your widget: these are irrelevant if no one made a purchase. It is important to remember that trade secrets do not have to be revealed here: results can be framed in terms of uplift rather than actual sales figures.
- Innovation is the final section, accounting for the last 20% of the score: show that the idea, strategy or execution was innovative or ground-breaking. How was the campaign different. Hood took the attendees through a number of examples of submissions, which underscored the need for directness and simplicity.
Tips to avoid epic fails
Her last tips were designed to help entrants avoid those dreadful epic fails which can scupper their chances of winning.
Don’t miss the deadline!
This may seem obvious, but with the deadline set at Midnight 30th August 2019, panic might be setting in. The good news is that, as with all award deadlines, there will be an extension, which will be announced shortly. Don’t relax too much though as the date for the Final Jury Judging is set for 03 October 2019, and shortlisting will must be done before then. Perhaps you can count about another 10 days or so: look out for an announcement.
Check your VIDEOS work before uploading
While some entrants have won without videos in the past, and they are optional, it is quite hard to make an impression without one. The examples demonstrated that they need not be complicated or expensive videos, but they must reflect the entry. Creative agency award video entries do not necessarily adapt well as they tend be highly emotive and do not make the media case. You can supply both an overview video and an original content video, but it is important to keep to the time guidelines.
Get another point of view
Hood advises that you get someone outside of the team, who is not close to the campaign, to read the submission. An outsider will be in the same position as the judges and if they can understand the case you are making then the judges should too.
Get a consent letter from your client
Client permission is mandatory, so ensure that a letter is supplied.
Be a CHAMP and CREDIT, where CREDIT is deserved.
Often campaigns are collaborative efforts with other suppliers: it is simply professional to credit everyone involved in the campaign. Do not try to pass off someone else’s idea as your own: the recriminations will not be worth it.
Have empathy for those hard-working judges: keep it short and to the point, lose the superfluous adjectives and jargon. Ultimately less is more.
Do not delay! Go to the website and familiarise yourself with what is needed and get to work.
Another workshop session is likely to be scheduled for the morning of Friday 30 August: check the website for details.
And good luck!
Having spent some decades working in the media agencies, Britta Reid now relishes the opportunity to take an independent perspective on the South African media world, especially during this time of radical research transformation.
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