Making Effie’s submissions more effective – from the jury’s viewpoint

Observations and tips to make your Effie’s case submissions more effective

Make your Effie submissions more effective

It’s always an honour to be invited to judge advertising or marketing awards. Particularly Effie awards as they underscore the real value our business delivers. So I was delighted to be invited by the Pakistan Advertisers Society to judge this year’s Effie’s submissions. It gave me the opportunity to brush up on the latest techniques and to be reminded of the challenges facing marketers and agencies today.

Like any award judging, it also provides a unique perspective about what works and what doesn’t in case submissions. It’s been a journey of discovery, observing the nuances of strategic thinking and creative execution.

I’d like to share some observations hoping to improve your chances of standing out in the eyes of the jury with thoughtful and well-crafted presentations.

The judging panel

PAS (Pakistan Advertisers Society) conducts the Effie’s annually, and this time there were multiple virtual sessions, with juries comprising jurors based in different countries, and with differing backgrounds and specialities, ranging from research to e-commerce, from different sectors such as telecom marketing, FMCG, financial and production, from creative to strategy Heads. This helped in getting wide-ranging, unbiased and objective opinions, which led to engaging discussions.

Jury duties

Each jury judged a different set of cases. The process involved reading each case individually, and then seeing its showreel together, following which there was a discussion involving all the jurors. After the discussion, we entered our scores and comments individually online, so that they were completely confidential, and then recommended the case for going ahead into the final round or being eliminated.

The comments section itself required the juror to comment on the strengths, weaknesses of each case and its relevance for the category in which it was entered. We also had to give our advice for what they could do better in the following year.

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The cases spanned many categories, from FMCG to influencer marketing, from corporate image to promotions, from relaunches to occasion-specific campaigns, from David-Goliath situations to financial products.

We occasionally found that the same case had been entered in multiple categories, and made the point that perhaps there needed to be a limit to the number of categories the same case could be entered, thus ensuring the contestant displayed more rigour in selection.

Though tiring (we did about 18-20 cases per day for two days), the level of discussion was high, and the observations were usually spot on, bringing experience and locations into the mix.

Both sessions had a Jury Moderator who ensured that jurors kept on track and the discussions were productive.

How to make your Effie submission more effective

Here are 5 tips on how to make a submission to the Effie awards more compelling and persuasive.

  1. Clearly define objectives
    Begin by clearly outlining the objectives of your campaign submission. Clearly articulate what you set out to achieve, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or changing consumer behaviour. Providing measurable goals with specific metrics helps judges understand the impact of your campaign.
  2. Strong insight and strategy
    Present a compelling insight into your target audience’s motivations, behaviors, and needs. Show how this insight guided your strategic approach and how your campaign effectively addressed these insights. Demonstrating a deep understanding of your audience and how your strategy aligned with their needs can significantly enhance the persuasiveness of your submission.
  3. Results-driven approach
    Emphasize the tangible results and impact of your campaign. Provide clear, quantifiable evidence of success, such as sales figures, market share growth, brand metrics improvement, or any other relevant KPIs. Highlight how your campaign exceeded expectations and delivered measurable outcomes, showcasing its effectiveness and ROI.
  4. Creativity and innovation
    Showcase the creativity and innovation behind your campaign execution. Highlight unique and original ideas that set your campaign apart from competitors and captured audience attention. Whether through creative messaging, groundbreaking technology, or innovative media placement, demonstrate how your creative approach contributed to the campaign’s success.
  5. Compelling storytelling
    Craft a compelling narrative that engages judges emotionally and intellectually. Use storytelling techniques to bring your campaign to life, highlighting challenges, breakthrough moments, and the journey towards achieving your objectives. A well-crafted story can evoke empathy, build connection, and leave a lasting impression on judges, making your submission more persuasive and memorable.

On this last point, a number of jury members commented that the cases needed to be written better. Many were verbose and repetitive, and sometimes not relevant to the category. Follow these five points and you’ll have a head start to make your Effie submission more effective.

Parting shot

I personally found that the use of technology, the depth of validation, and the strategic thinking based on the latest research techniques were of an international standard. However (to point 4 above), with the exception of a few executions that were absolutely outstanding, the standard of creativity and innovation was mostly routine. I did remark on this anomaly and suggested that agencies needed to get their clients to be bolder, and to not underestimate their consumers’ intelligence.

All in all, the sessions were stimulating and enjoyable.

Stronger relationships produce more effective work

Aprais has a particular interest in Effie awards. We analysed the WARC Effectiveness 100 Awards (including the Effie’s) over a 9-year period. The study revealed that that award winners had stronger relationship scores than average. Download the free report here.

To talk about how we can build stronger business relationships for you contact us here.

Sunil Gupta is Regional Associate for Aprais in South Asia.