Judges reveal worst entry mistakes

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Australia’s B&T Awards have published a useful guide on how to avoid the worst mistakes in preparing an awards entry.

The guide is based on judges’ past experiences in the B&T awards schedule.

For one judge, a common mistake is “being too glossy and PR driven in your submission”.

“Award entries need to pop and in my view that is about taking the ‘less is more’ approach,” the judge says.

“Be concise, be accurate (grammar matters), be different (what is your agency brand/personality and does it shine through?).”

Another judge said, “The worst mistake a presenting agency can make is not to reiterate their achievements in the awards criteria. Yes, judges will have read the entry but they still have to give a score on the day for each criteria.

“The same can be said for the entries themselves – if you miss out a criteria, it can’t be scored so your entry has an uphill battle to get over the line.

Another gripe for the judges was “not making sufficient effort.”

“Judges, in the pre-selection and on the day, give up significant time to assess entries. A surprising number look as if they were prepared on a Friday afternoon just before the entry closing date!  Make the effort.

“This is a significant opportunity for your agency or work – give it the best chance by putting in a supreme effort.

“Many entries fail to grasp agency culture.  It isn’t about monthly BBQs. It is often a key differentiator in a pitch so get across the real, core agency culture and maybe include ideas on recruitment, retention and harnessing the power of your culture.”

For another judge, the worst mistake was “Claiming work as yours that was done by several agencies and not being clear on contribution. Too many times the same campaign is claimed by more than one agency.

“Also, being clear on which category you are entering – I have seen same campaign across more than one category with no change in submission.”

Other common missteps are:

  • Providing too much unnecessary information.
  • Using too much advertising and marketing jargon that is hard to understand.
  • Using generic words like “the best campaign” or “the most effective strategy” without supporting data.
  • Using limited or insufficient statistical data .
  • Not sticking to word count.
  • Logging in on multiple devices – log in one ONE device at a time.
  • Writing in all caps or lower case – self-explanatory, just don’t do it

“Make it easy on us as judges, who may have as many as 20+ entries to judge in the initial round, leading to a shortlist,” another judges said. “Don’t overwrite (also known as boring us). A picture or graphic can often communicate the same as three paragraphs, and is more memorable.  Make it attractive to read.”

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