Strategy and Creativity bolster AC&E Awards

30 Aug 2019

What makes the ADMA Creativity & Effectiveness Awards (the AC&Es) unique is they celebrate both strategy and creativity, says Steve Coll, Head of Facebook Creative Shop, Australia & New Zealand, who is one of the judges for the 2019 awards.

Coll said both creativity and strategy are critical, but together they create work that stands out so people notice — and tells consumers the exact message on a client's behalf.

“I've been in advertising for 20 years, and when I see campaigns combine both incredibly smart strategy and wonderful creatives the results always exceed everybody's expectations — the clients included,” he said.

Past winners strongly illustrate this point.

One of the campaigns from the most recent AC&E Awards that embodies the important and effective blending of strategy and creativity was “Be The Bill” — created by Cummins & Partners Sydney for Go Gentle Australia.

When a voluntary euthanasia Bill was introduced in the South Australian Parliament, the client wanted to give the Australian public an accessible but powerful platform to voice their support that politicians couldn’t ignore. Be The Bill also wanted the public to speak up and speak directly to their representatives.

For five weeks up to the parliamentary vote, people could personalise the draft version of the official voluntary euthanasia Bill on the Be The Bill web site. Supporters could replace the neutral legal word 'person' with their own name throughout the Bill, and have their Facebook profile picture placed on the document cover to create a highly personalised PDF version. It could then be emailed to politicians with a request to read the Bill, and could also be shared in social channels.

The campaign was so effective that it crashed the SA Parliament’s email servers on the first day. More than one million personalised Bills were sent to politicians.

Growing recognition

Coll said the importance of great strategy and great creative is part of a global conversation in marketing. “This is not just isolated to AC&E. How strategy and creative works together, uniting these two powerful forces, is the holy grail for marketers, platforms and agencies globally. Even a few weeks into the job, I can see it is a big focus at Facebook. So the debate that AC&E seeks to continue isn’t restricted to a small part of our industry. It's universal.”

Having judged the awards on numerous occasions in the past, Coll said, “It's wonderful to be in the same room with people who are passionate about great new thinking, new ways of looking at messages, new ways of crafting things. They want to see how that has had an impact for a client and how it delivered results.

“Most awards celebrate a small part, so the creative awards are right to celebrate creativity and strategy at the same time.”

Some marketing awards just celebrate the client, but not many celebrate the whole team, he said.

“I don't think anyone celebrates the work of the whole team — from the client that instigated the brief, to the strategists who ask 'What's the right angle on this? What's a new way of tackling this problem?' and then to creatives who in their best work come up with entirely new ways or incredibly emotional ways of articulating the client's message.

“Celebrating this collaboration is the best thing about the AC&E.”

The interplay of creative and strategic thinking — and arguments over where the balance of impact lies — creates a fascinating environment for judges.

When submitting an entry, Coll said the biggest challenge for any agency is producing something no one has thought of before. “The judges are from different backgrounds — clients, strategists, agency, media. They'll all unite around a couple of pieces of work that absolutely stand out as being completely original thinking.”

The AC&E Awards Gala Dinner will be at The Star in Sydney on 24 October. Early Bird tickets are on sale now, buy your tickets today and save even more. 

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