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DMA Awards Category: Best use of mail - The nominees

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The shortlist is out for all the DMA awards categories and we’re rapidly approaching the announcements of the winners on 4th December. So, how was the “Best use of mail” category which I was lucky to judge?

I have never judged before so I will admit I had no idea that the DMA run it so brilliantly and efficiently; with each of us judges receiving an iPad with which we were able to score all the entries. It was a great experience so if you’re ever given the opportunity, I’d definitely recommend it!

We quickly whittled them down to 5 shortlisted clients. The consensus was broad, with only one pack causing real debate and the camps were pretty split!

To the entries themselves, well I’ll be honest it was a mixed bag. While there were some great work and quality campaigns submitted, the submissions themselves sometimes left me feeling that there were some missed opportunities too. And this is a shame considering the help that’s available to get these entries right.

As we know to win a DMA award the entry needs to combine creativity, strategy, and results.

Whilst the quality of campaigns was often strong, some of the submissions hadn’t nailed the story of how to tie the work together with the creative rationale and the strategy.

This makes me wonder what the process is internally for getting to the highest possible standard of submission. Having myself been responsible in several New Business departments in agencies for overseeing the award entries, I’ve been on the other side of the judging process.

The trick, I believe, is to work out what the key insight was, then ensure you understand how that key insight affected your strategic approach and therefore your creative rationale.

So what goes wrong?

In some cases, this crucial factor did not run seamlessly through the award entries which meant the judges were left digging for the story.

So how did I used to approach this challenge? We started with what was unique about the audience and what was special about the way that we decided to communicate to them. One example I recall is an RNLI campaign that I worked on back at Proximity. The client had identified an issue – they weren’t appealing to young people – and found it difficult to engage with a “YouTube” generation. So what we decided to do was target 12 well know vloggers with bespoke mail packs (based on the subjects the vloggers vlogged about) and encourage them to share their views on ‘who they really are’ and what the RNLI meant to them.

The results? More than one million viewings of the vloggers' musings on RNLI, reaching 11 per cent of 15 - 20-year olds with the campaign's core messages.

The campaign managed to transform the RNLI from one of the least known charities amongst youth into one of the most talked-about online.

This particular award entry was crafted and crafted, by the team that created the campaign, overseen by both strategic lead and creative lead on the account to ensure that this strategic tour de force came across to the reader.

It makes me feel there’s a real opportunity for next year to utilise all the available support on how to write a winning Award entry, we have exciting times ahead. And just think, it will make judging even more challenging and even more rewarding.

Sophie Grender

DMA Award Judge

Grab some inspiration

DMA Award Shortlist 2018

DMA Awards Judges 2018

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