The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

How To Get An Effectiveness Judge’s Attention …
May 27, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Awards, Comment, Context

So I’ve been doing a bunch of judging this year and while some have been great, a lot have been fucking terrible.

It is kinda scary what some people think represents effectiveness.

Seriously, if they were running their own business based on their effectiveness measures, they’d be dead in a week.

Which is probably why they’re not running their own business.

Now there’s a bunch of stuff that can be done to make a Judge take notice.

Of course there’s the usual.

1. Actually have a story that shows effectiveness.

2. Appreciate judges know all the ways people try to polish bullshit.

3. Understand you have to have done something different to convention or you can’t claim you were directly responsible for the effectiveness.

But there’s one more thing.


Seriously, the amount of times I have to read, re-read and then re-re-read to try and work out what is being said is incredible.

I get some of the submissions are from people where English is not their native language so they feel they have to write more in a bid to make sure judges really understand the points they want to make.

I also know that I’m a bit thick so take longer to get stuff that the average person.

But – and it’s a huuuuuge but – some of the submissions are ridiculous, using 500 words when 10 would do.

I get the desire to add emotion and texture to the case study, but when you’re asked to ‘describe the insight that drove the strategy’ and you take 3 paragraphs to explain it, it’s either a bullshit insight or you’re trying to hide something.

A bit of advice worth thinking about is what a chef told my wonderful colleague Maria when she was doing some research with chefs …

“The more confident you are, the more simple your dish”

What I’m saying is that if your submission is good, have the confidence in it.

Seriously, good things will stand out and so all you need your paper to do is provide the stage for it to shine.

Failing that, you can always throw in a weird quote to capture the judges attention.

Recently, someone wrote this in their entry …

“It is only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence”.

No seriously.

I even wrote on the judging paper that this may be the best quote I’ve ever seen.

Sadly – for them – that was the only highpoint of their submission.

Anyway, I digress. Again.

Look, I understand we get excited about the work we do.

I understand we all want to explain the journey to get there.

But for gods sake, think of the context and environment you’re playing in.

When your competitors are bombarding judges with long and complicated explanations and charts, less will most definitely be more.

[I fully expect John Dodds to agree, given I’m basically saying ‘no one reads long copy’]


Irony. Rob writing about not overwriting.

Comment by DH

hes a planner, what the fuck do you expect.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes, but trust me … compared to some of the papers I read, this post is like a single word in comparison.

Comment by Rob

Now you know how I feel Rob.

Comment by DH

He doesn’t feel others pain, only his own.

(Only joking Rob)

Comment by Bazza

No you’re not.

Comment by Billy Whizz

irony is a fucking advertising effectiveness award.

Comment by andy@cynic

Pot kettle black.

Comment by John

That’s good advice for more than only advertising award submissions.

Comment by George

I have littele knowledge, but it often appears to me that effectiveness awards are mainly to do with how effective you are at persuading a panel of colleagues (who may or may not have an understanding of business and particularly numbers) that you achieved a self-selected and self-validated goal.

Comment by John

Yep. What I’d also add is it’s about writing a paper that makes a panel of judges feel it would be in their best interests to look like they are associated with that work.

Not always, but a lot. Especially in pure creative awards.

Comment by Rob

I completely agree with your points Robert. But complexity can be a highly effective strategy in certain situations, though I am confident that is never when writing an effectiveness paper.

Comment by Lee Hill

Complexity doesn’t have to be complicated.

Comment by John

Of course not. But there are occasions where that becomes the perfect strategy to secure a position.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’m intrigued by your distinction. Can you give an example or two?

Comment by John

I don’t know what Lee is thinking, but the pricing strategy of dominant mobile phone operators in the 90’s used to purposefully be made complicated so customers would inadvertently choose a plan that ended up being more profitable for them.

Then there’s lawyers fighting a hard case. Add complexity to the argument so the jury will find it hard to focus on the key issue that needs to be explored.

And finally agencies who don’t have the obvious credentials to win a pitch so add layers of unnecessary consideration to try and conflict a client and raise their odds of success.

I’ve seen all 3 happen first hand.

Lee? I’m guessing your examples will trump these.

Comment by Rob

My reaction to those is that they’re complication not complexity.

We’ll leave aside the semantic issue that they’re tactics not strategies.

Comment by John

In the case of the mobile phone companies, it must have been the longest tactic in history then.

Comment by Rob

A long-term tactic is not an oxymoron.

Comment by John

Great point about over writing – but that should extend to the entire job
And using big words to cover up the fact you’re not doing anything special
‘native’ is a wankers word for ‘advertorial’

Comment by northern

And then there’s words like narrative and curation.


Comment by Rob

Storytelling (we’re not Roald Dahl, not even Jeffrey Archer -actually, Jeffrey Archer shouldn’t be dismissed, he’s sold ten times more books than Julian Barnes, which is a bit like creatives looking to make art rather than money on yheir client’s behalf..anyway)

Comment by northern

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