Effies get the green light to proceed in 2020

By the Comms Council

We almost didn’t have an Effie Awards programme this year. In fact, at one point the decision had been made to not go ahead. The Covid shutdown had hobbled the economy and there were serious questions over whether agencies and advertisers would have the resource or inclination to write papers.  But Effie isn’t just another industry awards programme. As Paul Head the CEO of the Comms Council said, “The Effies is unique in that its sole purpose is to interrogate and celebrate work that delivers attributable results, proving the value of marketing and advertising and the investment that businesses make in it.

For that reason, the Effies this year, and next, are more important than ever. As we move from dealing with the immediate health crisis to weathering the possible storm of recession, hard evidence of the kind an Effie paper provides will be a critical proof point that marketing and advertising are economic growth engines.”

We need the case studies, we need the numbers, we need the stories, we need the powerful brands and, perhaps most of all, we need the heroes. With any marketing, it takes the right mix of rational argument and salient emotional connection to be influential. The Effies helps do both for our industry. It creates that one time of the year when we take the time to carefully scrutinise, compare and learn. And it literally puts clever, confident ideas and clever, confident people on a pedestal where they can inspire us all.

There will be a few challenges or questions in mind for marketers and agencies considering entering the Effies this year. Here are four of the common ones, along with considered responses.

We’ve seen an increased interest from marketers in any opportunity to prove the value of their contribution to business. This includes evidence-based awards. The Effie ‘Step Up’ theme and its recognition of outstanding individual marketers directly supports this. 

  • COVID caused confusion or put a stop to any meaningful measurement or attribution.

The Effie eligibility period includes 21 months prior to the impact of COVID. Normally on-going campaigns with results stopping short of the Effie cut-off date would raise suspicion with judges. This year judges will be more than open to campaigns proving significant effects only up to the 25th March Lockdown. Of course, campaigns that can show results all the way up to the end of June will still be very welcome.

  • COVID put a dent in results, so we can’t claim effectiveness.

Some have a mistaken belief that sales, or whatever appropriate measure, have to go up to prove effectiveness. We all like a hockey-stick graph, but it’s not compulsory. Many effectiveness awards (including UK’s exceptionally rigorous IPAs) have been won by campaigns that maintained sales, or in some cases showed declining sales and even share, that should have been much worse. The challenge, as always, remains to tell a compelling evidence-based story showing that advertising made the positive difference.

  • Agency resource is under immense, ever-changing pressure, so it’s hard to justify the time to write Effie Award entries.

Agencies are feeling the same kind of pressure as most businesses. It’s hard to keep your eye on the bigger long-term picture e.g. brand-building, when there are so many short-term concerns. Yet the evidence shows that’s what businesses should do to compete and grow, and we are advising our clients accordingly. If we believe our own advice, we should follow it, and continue to invest in our own brands, building and reinforcing our contributions to NZ business. Winning at Effies helps to do that.

New Zealand’s response to the virus put us on the world stage. Let’s use the Effies to celebrate and inspire New Zealand’s marketers, and demonstrate how we can help them restore New Zealand’s economy in a similarly enviable way.

The Marketer of the Year award will also be open this year, recognising outstanding individual marketers behind the Effie campaigns. The current Marketer’s leaderboard sits on the Comms Council website https://commscouncil.nz/effies-leaderboard/.  At the end of Effies, the Marketer’s leaderboard will be updated with individual points earned for finalist, bronze, silver and gold winning effie papers.

The call for entries is now open with a closing date of 18 August 2020.  Winners and finalists will be celebrated and awarded at the Gala dinner to be held at Eden Park, Auckland on Thursday 29th October.


For more information, please contact Natasha Galloway on (09) 303 0435 or at [email protected]

To download the Call for Entries document please visit www.commscouncil.nz

Important Dates for New Zealand Effie Awards

Call for Entries Issued:                                                             Monday 29 June

Entries close:                                                                           Tuesday 18 August @ 4pm

Late penalty deadline:                                                             Thursday 20 August @4pm

Preliminary Judging:                                                                  Tuesday 1 to 3 September

Category Judging:                                                                    Thursday 24 September

Executive Judging:                                                                   Wednesday 14 October (Auckland)

Effie Awards Show:                                                                 Thursday 29 October (Eden Park)

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