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'You've got to articulate your idea in 10-15 seconds' – Leo Burnett's Beri Cheetham on how to win a Chip Shop Award

The Chip Shop Awards are back for another year to recognise the most out-there, cheeky and creative ads the rogues of the advertising world can muster. And as the 1 April deadline for entries approaches, we will be bringing you some insider advice on what it takes to win a coveted Chip.

The Drum has tapped the minds of our judges, creative directors from Mr. President, Innocent Drinks, Edelman, Sunshine, Arc London and One Minute Briefs, to find out about their most outrageous advertising experiences and get to the bottom of what makes the perfect Chip Shop ad.

This time, Beri Cheetham, executive creative director at Leo Burnett UK, talks us through his creative processes.

The Drum: How can Chip Shop entrants make sure their work gets your attention and doesn't get relegated to the bottom drawer forever?

Beri Cheetham: It’s got to be a great idea. And you’ve got to be able to articulate the idea in 10-15 seconds. Time to us is an absolute luxury - we won't sit through a monologue.

TD: What do you think the Chip Shop Awards bring to the industry? Are these awards a dirty joke or the place to stretch your advertising wings?

BC: Fun. And a chance to do the bravest stuff you’ll ever do while showcasing your talent to some of our industries biggest employers.

TD: What's the best idea for an ad you've ever had that never ran?

BC: The Coke Star Wars Force vending machine. Still weep.

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TD: Can you tell us about the most daring pitch you've been involved in - or heard about? (You don't need to name names.)

BC: We were once on the cusp of winning a big pitch – really tasted victory. But we all sensed that the client was an arse, and that although we needed the income, we believed that they would kill the people working on the account and ultimately kill our culture. So we pulled out. Sometimes the most daring thing isn’t what you do in terms of theatre, it’s doing the right thing.

TD: Where is the line between being provocative and going too far in advertising?

BC: When you know, in your heart of hearts, that you are doing the work for your own notoriety rather than acting in the best interests of your agency or client. For example, would you still run that idea if you couldn’t enter it for awards or be publicly associated with it?

TD: Is advertising more or less outrageous than it used to be? And is this a good or bad thing?

BC: Both. In previous decades there were many brands set to outdo each other in the outrageous stakes, and consumers of TV were crying out for it as a form of entertainment. Now, TV can often be less outrageous (quite probably due to restrictions) but express themselves in other platforms or experiences. Is this a good thing? If the work enriches our world in some way then that’s only a positive – but if it pollutes it, it’s just landfill and of no benefit to anyone.

Last week we interviewed Chip Shop judge and That Lot director Barney Worfolk-Smith for his tips on how to snag an award.

For some inspiration, check out our Chip Shop Awards Hall Of Fame. Or for more information on how to enter, deadlines and more, visit the Chip Shop Awards website.

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