Entering awards? Make sure you think about the judge

I have the daunting task of judging online awards for London International Awards and due to my work load, I’m running extremely late in getting my judging finished (sorry). While I was going through the award requirements, it made me realise that this is the perfect thing to record what works and what doesn’t.

In the digital section, there are so many entries with each entry created differently and formatted based on agencies brands/requirements. BUT, what actually gets cut through and makes me to decide to put the campaign through to the next round? I am going to use this as a learning experience and make sure I take notes about:

  • What stands out? Why?
  • What the typical agency fails to do when entering awards?
  • What are the top ten learnings?


I have nearly finished the first 10 of 120 entries. Common themes are ensuring there is a:

  • Campaign summary – One page (well designed without scrolling) concise campaign summary including creative elements (theme/character from the campaign)
  • Difference/Relevance – There needs to be one sentence on why this campaign is different or deserves to WIN.
  • Video – On the page there must be a link to a campaign video (with music or sound) showcasing all elements of the campaign. Even better when the video automatically loads.

After 3hrs of judging, I still have 75 entries to go and I’m so annoyed with every entry that doesn’t have a campaign overview page or video. It takes such a long time to go into every entry and look at all the details, especially when you are trying to find the most important elements that the agency/client want judged. It’s very time consuming and supports the campaign overview page being so important. Thinking back, out of the 50ish entries I have judged there are only three campaign overview pages I can remember and all have been put through to the next stage because I knew exactly what the campaign was about and all elements included.

Another hour later, down to 50 entries. Aaahhhh, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so frustrating not having campaign overview pages and videos. Any entry that doesn’t have one is definitely at a disadvantage and even though you try and keep an even mindset for all entries, there is a sense of relief when someone has thought of the judges and made it easy to take in all pieces of information.

Down to 41 entries remaining and just waiting for them to download (I’m judging these from work, so it shouldn’t be this slow). It is taking forever and very frustrating.

On the home straight only 20 entries to go and it should only take another hour or two until I am finished. I am exhausted, but extremely glad that I have recorded my thoughts and learnings.


Five things to do:

  1. Campaign summary page (art directed and without scrolling)
  2. Auto play campaign video within the summary page
  3. Reason why you think your campaign should win/why it is different
  4. Results – how well did the campaign do?
  5. Client quote – how did it impact their business?

Five things not to do:

  1. No campaign summary page – Don’t just include the URL to the work without a campaign overview page. Within the cosmetic/toiletries/pharmacy so many of them just launched straight into the website and it was difficult to understand what the client problem/challenge was, what were the objectives and what was the solution (and potentially even results).
  2. No campaign video – When you have are trying to represent multiple executions in a campaign or multiple areas of a website, the best way to ensure everything is seen is with a video summary. The best ones explain the details
  3. Written in a language other than English – Even if the campaign is not in English, the campaign overview page must be. Many of the entries weren’t in English and even though I tried to look around them, it was very difficult to judge them.
  4. Slow load times – Due to the use of large files, so many of the sites took a long time to load. Unfortunately, this hinders the judging experience. Any heavy sites should be hosted through video streaming platforms like Akami.
  5. Don’t think of the judges – There were over 135 entries that needed to be judged between doing a ‘normal’ days work, exercising for the marathon and making sure Justin has dinner. So many things going on that entries need to be as easy to digest as possible. Whatever can be done to make it simple and easy DO IT! Think of the judge and everything that is going on in their life.


The most competitive category was the weird and wonderful work. This group of entries had the campaign overview page down pat. Most of them were great.

The least most competitive category was travel work. Overall a large percentage of the travel sites just used their site’s URL as the main entry with no campaign overview page or a video describing the campaign.  Having a guess, I would say that it was the client or site itself who entered a lot within this category.


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