And the award goes to…

It’s that time of year when children get excited about the holidays and the judges gather in New York to try and figure out who is going to win the much coveted PR Week Awards. For the second time now I’m one of those judges and for the second time I have to trawl through a huge binder full of submissions. It is a tough job – not least because of the volume of submissions. It reminds me how an editor must feel when he gets a mountain of press releases to read to see if any is worthy of a news item.

Let me be very clear. There are some great pieces of work covered in the entries. Sadly when you have a binder full to read it’s hard to make sure you give all the entries the attention they probably deserve. Instead you start to develop a system, whereby you look to make sure everyone has included basic items like measurement. Sadly even some of the good campaigns seem not to have covered such a basic item properly. I also looked to see if anyone actually took the trouble to justify why they chose the strategies and tactics they selected. Again most seemed not to bother. Using these and a few other criteria I was able to select my top two or three entries. While my approach to the task was solid enough, I would say that I’d really encourage people entering these awards to try and put themselves in the shoes of the judges before they even bother to start writing the entry. I couldn’t help be reminded when reading some entries of resumes I’d seen over the years from people who clearly didn’t know what the job was but had applied all the same just in case.

I would like to say that judging the entries was fun. It wasn’t. People had crammed so much content onto two sides of paper it took an age to read them all and ‘entry fatigue’ was definitely setting in by the last few in the pile. So next year when it’s award time again, give a little thought to the poor judges and try and think of what would help you give the submission a high score if you were a judge.

Of course I can’t reveal what category I’m judging or who my chosen few were. That said I’m one of several judges for the category so my votes my end up being irrelevant anyway. All will be revealed when the awards are made in March. Let’s just hope the other judges stayed the course and managed to get through all those entries. After all, buried in that pile of entries are some good campaigns that truly do deserve awards.