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Why the IPA Awards Advisory Service is worth its weight in Gold

Why the IPA Awards Advisory Service is worth its weight in Gold
Carl Sarney of FCB New Zealand, on how the IPA mentoring scheme helped them win Gold and Best International Winner in the 2014 IPA Effectiveness Awards.

Our campaign and online tool ‘The Journal’ which aimed to get people using self-help techniques to recover from depression, won the Grand Effie for sustained success in the 2013 New Zealand Advertising Effectiveness awards. After taking out the top award in New Zealand, we decided it would be worthwhile taking on the best in the world at the IPA Effectiveness Awards.

 It would be the first time a campaign from New Zealand was recognized at the IPA Awards in 20 years. We knew it was a very effective campaign, and we had the data to prove it. But for the IPA Effectiveness Awards, that isn’t enough to win gold. We had to wrap up the objectives, the strategy, the creative and the results in a compelling story.  Our client, The National Depression Initiative, had a complex problem and our strategy to overcome it involved some complex thinking. Telling the story to a panel of UK judges who had never seen the campaign (and who were unlikely to have much knowledge of the medical condition of depression) would require a careful balance of detail and simplicity.

When we learned that a mentoring scheme was on offer for IPA award entrants, for us it was a no-brainer. We wouldn’t be doing our story justice if we didn’t seek the expert advice of an IPA veteran to ensure we were telling our story in the most persuasive way.

Signing up to the mentoring scheme meant I could write with confidence. Confidence that I would get plenty of early feedback before submitting the paper to an otherwise unknown panel of offshore judges.

The feedback I received was always prompt, and constructively critical. For example, the celebrity who fronted our campaign is hugely famous in New Zealand, but would be totally unknown to the judges. I learned that I would have to provide some context of what a big deal it was in New Zealand when this famous rugby player admitted he had experienced depression.

As well as feedback on my paper, I was also supplied with copies of IPA papers that had won in previous years. This provided a good sense of the tone to use, and the level of detail to include.

After submitting several versions and re-writes to my mentor, I eventually got an email back to say “I genuinely think it’s terrific. I wouldn’t change anything”. So I knew I could stop tinkering, and feel relaxed and optimistic about submitting it for judging.

A couple of months later, we won gold and were recognized as best international paper. So the decision to take part in the mentoring scheme certainly was worth it’s weight in …gold. 

To help authors shape their entries for the IPA Effectiveness Awards, the IPA has created an Awards Advisory Service which pairs agencies with mentors who are all experienced former judges and authors. Find out more

Last updated 26/10/2015

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