How to write an award-winning entry for the ACA Awards

2018 will see the ACA launch its first International Awards with New Zealand retailers being entered in the open categories and taking on their Australian colleagues. Last year saw big brands including Noel Leeming, Flooring Xtra, Lush Handmade Cosmetics and Kathmandu take home awards for their outstanding entries, it’s only a matter of time until we find out who will be crowned this year’s Winners.

The recently added Direct Mail category is making a comeback this year, while the Point of Sale category is making its debut. These categories are soaring at the moment showcasing Direct Mail and Point of Sale as strong channels. We sat down with the ACA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kellie Northwood to find out the inside tips.

  1. What have you noticed across the Awards entries, judging, finalists and winners over your time with the Awards program? 

I have been overseeing the Judging process for over five years now and it has certainly evolved. Originally the awards were assessed for their print production and now the entries are purely judged on marketing effectiveness. The Judges’ chairs are now filled with marketing and agency experts who are assessing the effectiveness results. Entrants simply submitting their production specifications were scored poorly last year as the Judges are expecting the ‘story’ behind the campaign – why did this campaign take place, who was this campaign targeting, what was the overall objective and was this objective achieved? 

  1. When scoring the ‘role of the catalogue’ what are the key elements you are looking for from the entry? 

I always urge entrants to go back to basics – common-sense and logic. The role of the catalogue should be a logical connector to the brand, target audience and the entry should clearly outline the objectives. The best entrants know the role of their catalogue, and campaign, from the planning stage all the way through to distribution and ultimately a solid ROI. In the judging results we saw higher scores when the entrant outlined the story of the catalogue campaign – why did your team choose to create this campaign? What were the considerations around themes, timing, distribution, etc? Were other campaigns considered? Stories that give insight into the thinking scored highest.

  1. Catalogues are becoming more and more targeted, do Judges score audience insights highly? 

Absolutely. The campaign must identify with the audience. Some entries last year did not highlight their target audience and scored low results for this. The entries that outlined their target audience and then how their campaign addressed their audience scored the highest on all Judges’ scoresheets.

  1. Target objectives are weighted highly in the scoring, what should an entrant include in this section? 

As a brand the first question we consider is – what are we trying to achieve with this campaign? Understanding the target objectives and ensuring your campaign delivers on this is critical to a successful campaign. This is the story the judges want to understand when assessing target objectives. I do stress to entrants, be clear and concise – results and statements of achievement are more likely to score highly and see you taking home a winner on the night than vague non-descriptive essays.

  1. Is creative still a part of the judging? 

Creative is 20 percent of the scoring, however, the scores on creative can be deceiving. Last year one of the highest scores awarded across all Judges for creative was for a Noel Leeming entry. The scoring was high because of the creative thinking of the printed catalogue, they printed a catalogue that could fold out to the size of the television being advertised. This creative thinking scored highly. Other times publications with beautiful bespoke photography score highly, or design and layout that is applied in line with the campaign and brand presence. Creativity is not scored in the way design awards are scored and entrants should consider this and highlight their creative thinking and application in their entries. 

  1. Innovation can be an overused word, what does it mean to the judges? 

Innovation does not mean digital. Sure, some innovation is demonstrated by the application of technologies, however, innovation can be in how to develop a low unit cost/high volume self-mailer to engage consumers to adopt a supermarket offer. The innovation here is in the data mining and applying some science to the thinking of how to design, print and fold the self-mailer to maintain high volume in a tight budget. We saw a lot of examples of innovative thinking like this across the Direct Mail category last year and I look forward to seeing more this year. I’m also keen to see the innovative solutions around Point of Sale, whether by printing onto unusual substrates or the logistics of in-store fit-out. Entrants were scored higher when the innovations they outlined inspired the Judges. Again, it comes back to building the story.

With that advice, you’ve got nothing to lose. If you think you’ve got a winning catalogue, direct mail or point of sale campaign, go to www.catalogue.asn.au/awards-entries-2018 or send your entry to:

Awards Team
Suite 6, 151 Barkly Avenue
Burnley VIC 3121

Don’t delay, entries close Friday 8 June, 2018.

This story is part of a content partnership with TSA Limited.

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