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Inside the Jury Room at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising


By The Drum | Editorial

November 3, 2023 | 3 min read

Judges share what went on behind the scenes as they deliberated entries to this year’s awards.


Amazon was nominated in the Digital Advertising for Good category

The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising celebrate the very best work, people and companies across the digital landscape.

This year’s Awards were chaired by Dathesh Rao, head of brand marketing, advertising & media at IBM Global Services and Carmen Graf, global VP, brand advertising, media, and experiential marketing at Indeed. They led a jury that included representatives from the likes of BBC, Accenture, Uber, Mars Wrigley and HP.

The Drum’s Jen Faull caught up with Rao and Graf to talk about what went on inside the jury room as they deliberated the entries.

“This year, the bar has risen. The trends seem to be the same, but the usage and bringing all factors together... there are no limitations now,” says Rao on the work he judged. “There are no boundaries for ideas, and everything can work everywhere, and this is what I’ve seen. Extensive use of technology, data, and the coming together in a creative idea has been tremendous this time.”

There were, of course, heated debates among the jurors on which work should take home the biggest prizes. Graf reveals that the topic of awarding big-budget campaigns over small-budget briefs (and vice versa) did come up time and again, but ultimately that spending didn’t influence their decisions.

“Low and high won," she says. “It really doesn’t make a difference. But we’re seeing a lot of data, tech and integrated creative ideas. The most debated entries in our groups were the ideas built on tech and data, but how did they deliver a business outcome? In some cases, entries that didn’t tie to a tangible outcome were the most debated because that’s the most important thing."

You can watch the full video with Graf and Rao’s advice for future entrants above. Check out the nominations for The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising here.

Winners will be announced during The Drum Awards Festival, taking place from November 27 to December 8. For more information on the Festival and how to attend, visit the website.

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