What the judges are looking for

Here are a bunch of quotes from our jury that give you an insight into the types of things they are looking for when they are judging your entries.

“A compelling story that resonates with the target audience and showcases the brand’s raison d’etre is a must. It’s about having a simple concept, brilliantly executed. Clear objectives and outcomes together with ROI will go a long way to securing a happy ending. Every story should have one.”

Bev Aujla, head of PR & policy, Kelkoo Group

“Standout campaigns are based on a key insight, put through a creative lens and delivered through razor-sharp execution. The outcome will meet the objective. As a judge, if the work stops me in my tracks, makes me pause for thought, raises a smile or more likely, a tinge of envy, then they’ve probably nailed it.”

Andrew Roache, external affairs lead UK and Ireland, Mondelez International

“2020 was a year like no other and I’ll be looking for campaigns that showed genuine empathy - not performative kindness, but a real understanding of what matters to people and makes a difference to their lives. And being an in-house person who signs off campaign budgets, I love creativity that drives brand loyalty and wins over new customers.”

Doyel Maitra, group communications director and board member, Hachette UK

“If you can sell your idea in a single sentence, you’re probably onto something. I would love to see original ideas that actually have an impact beyond vanity metrics. And ingenious creativity. The kind of creativity that makes you a bit jealous that you didn't think of it yourself. ”

Caroline Fisher, comms director EMEA, ASICS

“I’ll be looking for campaigns that effortlessly engage an audience using clever creative and powerful brand storytelling to cut through. Think differently about your entry and make sure it’s as engaging and inspiring as your campaign was - clearly demonstrate the impact you made through relevant metrics and show us why and how you got everyone talking!”

Fiona Mills, brand communications manager, Greggs

“Given the year we've had when most had budgets and resources slashed, I will be looking for how you maximised what you had to work with and levelled-up on creativity. If I had sat in your initial pitch, what did you convey that would have made me want to choose your approach over others and what set you apart.”

Roopa Ramaiya, VP of communications, Feedzai

“I’m looking for a razor-sharp strategy that leads to insight you can’t argue with. A cultural truth that makes you think ‘of course that’s the campaign they had to do’. And work that only works for the brand it’s designed for – if you can switch it out for someone else, it’s not the right idea.”

Katreena Dare, director, Ketchum

“I’ll be looking for campaigns based on insight which used stand-out creative to deliver genuine outcomes that make a difference.”

Mary Whenman, director, communications, British Business Bank

“I am always looking at the results beyond coverage numbers. I want to know what impact the activity had, whether that impact is footfall, sales, website visits or engagement. It’s always nice to see creativity within a budget too."

Alison Jackson-Carter, consultant, Markettiers

“I’ll be focused on ideas that evoke that hybrid emotion that every creative knows well… the combination of envy and admiration. We’re talking meaningful campaigns, smart perhaps even counter intuitive creative and flawless execution that had real world impact. Stuff genuinely worthy of a spot on the podium.”

Kat Thomas, founder, One Green Bean

“Our industry is brimming with creative talent and innovative thinking, which makes standing out from the crowd a huge challenge. Smart campaigns that think big, shape the agenda with strong messaging, challenge people’s thinking and clearly delivering on the original objectives are what I’m looking forward to seeing in the entries. However, everyone who submits an entry should be immensely proud of the work of their team, so good luck to you all!”

Ruwan Kodikara, senior vice president, corporate communications, Sony Music Entertainment

“I’m really hoping to see campaign results written up with quantifiable impact across a range of measures. Phrases like ‘beat all expectations’ without understanding what those expectations were, are at best, unhelpful, at worst, bring down the overall score.”

Natasha Hill, managing director, Bottle PR

“A well-conceived campaign and story based on solid insights and research. It’s not about being creative for creative sake but being creative with a purpose – to deliver on the agreed business objectives. There has to be a clear and proven link between business goals and results.”

Rob Ettridge, chief operating officer, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

“With so much noise and so many channels making it, I’m looking for campaigns that really understood an audience and reached them in interesting and creative ways. More than just a potential eyeball, can you show that people were genuinely engaged.”

Tom Hills, creative director, John Doe

“Work that makes a genuine, tangible impact to the client is what separates the great from the good in our industry. The standard and volume of award entries is always high, so authenticity is what really cuts through, combined with instant clarity on what your goal is.”

Emma Streets, senior consultant, Blue Communications

“An award winning entry for me is a piece of work that delivers tangible benefits for the client or business. Numbers of pieces of coverage, share of voice, social media statistics are nice, but changing behaviours of key target audiences, to contribute to the success of an employer or agency customer is what really grabs my attention.”

Matthew Knowles, global corporate communications, Inmarsat

“I'm looking for creative that packs a punch and is built on a 'can't-believe-I-didn't-think-of-that' insight. The best entries get to the point. What was your 7-second pitch to media? How did it really connect with consumers? We need to believe in the real impact your campaign had and how it drove conversation or galvanised interaction. Build off this and take us on the journey.”

Aisha Jefferson, head of consumer comms, UK & Ireland, Deliveroo

“Think out-the-box ideas. Think intelligent execution. Think genuine creativity. I'd like to see compelling entries that clearly articulate your story. Last but certainly not least, include metrics to support your statements and backup your brilliance.”

Victoria Usher, CEO, GingerMay

“I am looking for how data is used to influence the creative campaign and audience targeting. Then how this strategic planning runs through to metrics and evaluation. Also absolute mind-blowing creativity - 'how did they come up with that.”

Hannah West, EMEA PR lead, Oracle Technologies

"I'm looking for entries that show they have really solved the business or organisation need. I want to know that you've thought about the actual problem or challenge, connected it to the audience through insight and come up with a solution that feels like the only answer, with results that prove it."

Kath Myers, partner, consumer and planning, Milk and Honey PR

"I'm looking for impactful work that goes beyond creativity as a standalone and provides measurable value to clients. Think SMART objectives connected to business goals and the real-world outcomes your work drove."

Shayoni Lynn, CEO and founder, Lynn

“I’m excited to see work that are driving innovation in PR impact and effectiveness. PR is becoming the channel that all other disciplines are desperate to activate in so I’m going to be looking out for the agencies and campaigns that can demonstrate delivery against insightful strategies and results that link back to meaningful objectives.”

Lucy Mart, managing partner, PrettyGreen

"I’ll be looking for campaigns that grab my attention, tell a compelling brand story and make a lasting impression. Killer insight, carried through to excellence in activation is a must. As well as evaluation that proves the genuine impact of the work, in outcomes as well as outputs."

Holly Ford, head of consumer communications, Mind+Matter, Ashfield Health

"The creativity coming out of the PR industry seems to get stronger and stronger each year, so I can't wait to see this come through on the entries I will be judging, along with the insight of why it worked for the brand. I'll also be looking for the measurable impact the campaigns had on the brand / business; how it contributed to wider business objectives, did it impact sales, and website visits."

David Phillips, co-founder, Pangolin PR

“We want to see creative campaigns that really hit the mark. But winning entries tell the story of how and why the campaign was the best possible approach to solving a problem or market challenge; entries that demonstrate how insights and research led the team down this campaign path; and of course, entries that demonstrate how they met the objectives of the client and that connected to broader business outcomes and goals.”