As the old saying goes, everyone makes mistakes, but it’s about time entrants in the B&T Awards learn from them, and to help, we’ve asked your judges for the worst mistakes they’ve seen when judging the awards in years gone by.
So to ensure you stay in the good books (and have a better shot at winning the crown), here are the top pet peeves for the people judging your entry at the B&T Awards. And if you want to see our judges top tips for creating a winning entry, check their advice out here.
For one judge, a common mistake is “being too glossy and PR driven in your submission”.
“Award entries need to pop and in my view that is about taking the ‘less is more’ approach,” they added.
“Be concise, be accurate (grammar matters), be different (what is your agency brand/personality and does it shine through?).”
Another judge said, “The worst mistake a presenting agency can make is not to reiterate their achievements in the B&T criteria. Yes, judges will have read the entry but they still have to give a score on the day for each criteria.
“The same can be said for the entries themselves – if you miss out a criteria, it can’t be scored so your entry has an uphill battle to get over the line.
Another gripe for the judges was “not making sufficient effort!”
“Judges, in the pre-selection and on the day, give up significant time to assess entries. A surprising number look as if they were prepared on a Friday afternoon just before the entry closing date! Make the effort.
“This is a significant opportunity for your agency or work – give it the best chance by putting in a supreme effort.
“Many agencies fail to grasp agency culture. It isn’t doona days and monthly BBQs. It is often a key differentiator in a pitch so get across the real, core agency culture and maybe include ideas on recruitment, retention and harnessing the power of your culture.”
For another judge, the worst mistake was “Claiming work as yours that was done by several agencies and not being clear on contribution. Too many times the same campaign is claimed by more than one agency.
“Also, being clear on which category you are entering – I have seen same campaign across more than one category with no change in submission.”
Another judge broke the worst mistakes they’d seen into four parts:
- “Provided too much unnecessary information.
- Using too much advertising and marketing jargon that is hard to understand.
- Using generic words like “the best campaign” or “the most effective strategy” without supporting data.
- Using limited or insufficient statistical data, e.g. someone two years ago said their campaign has just ended so they couldn’t provide any stats, and someone else said their customer wouldn’t provide any stats due to confidentiality. So why are they entering such campaigns?”
“Not following the outline,” was one judge’s pet hate.
“Make it easy on us as judges, who may have as many as 20+ entries to judge in the initial round, leading to a shortlist. Don’t overwrite (also known as boring us). A picture or graphic can often communicate the same as three paragraphs, and is more memorable. Make it attractive to read.”
Finally, we spoke to our very own Events team who coordinate the entries for the judges, and who had a few gripes of their own. For their sake, here’s the following classic errors they see time and time again:
– Did not receive an email to confirm my login – if you’ve tried a few times and still no confirmation email has arrived, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can confirm on the backend. But please don’t leave this until the closing date, register your login TODAY.
– Not sticking to word count – word count is calculated differently on different systems. So instead of leaving until the last minute (e.g. award closing date) before you load up your entry onto the submission portal, double check it so you don’t find that you’re over the word limit when it’s too late to change.
– Logged in on multiple devices – our submission portal has some auto-save features, which means if you’re logged on onto your entry on multiple devices, they’ll keep saving over each other. Please log in on ONE device at a time.
– How do I pay – there’s a shopping cart symbol on the top right hand side of every page of the portal, once you submit an entry, it’ll be added to the cart. You can submit multiple entries this way by adding them onto the cart.
– If in doubt, log off, and log back in again – I’m not sure why that solves problems, but that’s the number one thing to try whenever you call tech support, so give that a go first.
– Writing in all caps or lower case – self-explanatory, just don’t do it, it’s bad use of grammar and hard for the judges to read (special exception for brand names which are in all caps or lower case).
– Ensure the person who’s submitting the entry is not on leave while shortlist announcements are made.