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Pinterest, Spotify, Birds Eye, Infectious Media: top tips for entering The Drum Awards


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

January 23, 2020 | 7 min read

The Drum Awards is a global scheme that aims to identify the best practices, companies and people in our industry. Its mission is to share that information with readers of The Drum - one of the world’s largest marketing platforms - to help them make better decisions.

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Pinterest, Spotify, Bird’s Eye, Infectious Media’s top tips to entering The Drum Awards

But how do you win? What makes an entry stand out with our jury? What’s the magic ingredient to writing your award-winning report?

Earlier this month, we held panel sessions in the UK and US, chatting to previous judges and winners about their top tips for entering The Drum Awards.

Judy Lee, global head of industry and experiential marketing, Pinterest

When judging awards, each person is responsible for reviewing hundreds of submissions. It's important to make your entry memorable and differentiated. I typically look for work that moves me, either emotionally or inspires me to act. Then, it’s critical to provide context for the work, and to share constraints or any other notable elements that may not be readily apparent in the work itself.

Award-winning work should set the standard for the industry and show a novel approach to solving a business challenge. For me, I'm very passionate about brands and companies that are creating a more inclusive society - that is where the future is. I'm inspired by the ideas that not only reflect the real world around us but also help take us to a more positive place.

Pinterest has been involved in judging various Drum Awards

Marco Bertozzi, vice president EMEA sales & multi-market global sales, Spotify

Don’t enter for the sake of entering. Wait until you have a good campaign, that you know is a winner. Some people scrape though and enter a lot of categories and awards. But generally speaking, the good ideas win awards. All you need to do is present it clearly, with clarity and succinctly. Don’t just throw mud at the wall and hope some of it sticks.

As well as that, I don’t want to be reading an entry and having to work out where to look for the different pieces of information. I want to see something that is very clear about where I am going. If I’m looking through 40+ papers, I don’t want to be wondering where you put the results because you’ve put a lot of fancy stuff on the page. Follow the guidelines and be clear about what you're putting on the page.

Bertozzi was a judge for The Drum Digital Advertising Awards 2019

Michael Cruz, chief content officer, Drum Agency

It's about inspiring us. As judges, we want to be inspired. That's why we're involved at all. We gain visibility into different campaigns that we’d otherwise not have seen. So, when you're inspired by the work, and perhaps a little jealous, that speaks miles.

Also, bear in mind when submitting into any category, that you need to tell a complete story. Be clear on the objectives of the campaign and tie that objective to the results. Even great inspiring work can fall victim to an incomplete, disconnected story.

Don't just copy-paste when submitting into multiple categories. Judges can tell when it’s a copy-paste. If you're submitting to multiple categories, be sure to always tailor it specifically to the category you're entering, if it’s a close race it sometimes comes down to whether the submission really fits the category. If it doesn't quite connect it won't win.

Cruz was a judge for The Drum Agency Business USA 2019

Colin Buckingham, head of media, Birds Eye UK & IE

Don’t enter an award until you know why you're spending money. Awards encourage you to evaluate your big campaigns and big spends for the year. What did you do that was good that year that drove the business? What should you be doing more of now?

It encourages you to stop for a moment rather than moving onto the next campaign, which we can all be quite guilty of doing from time to time. It gives you a chance to reflect on what you've done, what's worked well, and that forms your award entry. That's the bulk of the work done.

Finishing up the year having been recognised among your industry peers as being best in class, that builds up to a really good sense of positivity internally. Positivity can breed positivity.

Birds Eye are winners of The Drum Marketing Awards Europe

Neil McKinnon, marketing director, Infectious Media

Look at the categories. The Drum Awards has plenty of them and you may go in with a preconceived notion of where your stuff should go. Look at whose won that category previously. What are your chances of winning? Could your submission go into something that is less well entered? It may give you a better chance.

Also, what is the marketing message that goes behind winning that category? Are you trying to show a different side of your business? Are you trying to push into a different area by winning an award in that category? That can help with your marketing messaging. But if you can't explain it to your mum, then you don't understand it. You shouldn't be writing it down. Don’t push random red buttons.

Infectious Media are winners of The Drum Marketing Awards Europe

Dee Frew, programmatic technology specialist, The Guardian

When we receive the entries, we don’t have an overview of them other than the name of the campaign. We have to go into the report to see what’s going to stand out. Some things will immediately leap out and you want that to be in your summary. You want that upfront and to make sure that you are boasting about whatever that achievement is. Don’t leave it as a surprise twist at the end of the entry. It needs to be up front and centre.

A schoolboy error I come across a lot is where people use words they don’t understand. Don’t do this. If it's not AI or you don't understand that, whether or not it's AI then don't put it in the entry. Unless you fully understand it yourself, it's probably not going to land with every judge and that means there's going to be confusion when the panel is looking over and comparing and contrasting notes.

Frew has been a judge The Drum Digital Advertising Awards

The Drum Awards are currently open to submissions across our marketing, advertising and creative competitions. For more information on how to enter and which awards area perfect for you, click here.

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