And the winners are...
 
Funny how the same campaigns succeed at awards, isn't it? They're like some marketing behemoth, moving between Cannes and the Dorchester and cleaning up at all stops in between.
 
It's tempting to complain that they have the big clients, the big budgets or that they're working on business that lend themselves to awards. (Here's a dead dog, where's my award? anyone?)
 
There's something to it, but after spending ten years freelancing at agencies of every size - in terms of both physical size and creative reputation -  all over London, some agencies are just better at creating the conditions needed for getting lightning in a bottle.
 
I've worked with the same art director for twenty years. In that time we amassed a reasonable haul of acrylic trophies. The number of times that we have concluded a new project thinking that it had award potential and that it came to pass are vanishingly small, maybe happening once or twice. And most recently it happened working in the most unlikely of agencies.
 
A partnership marketing agency had parlayed their way onto a pitch with Sport England. Realising that they didn't have the experience to produce the creative solution, they got us in. They had an interesting brief: to change school age girls’ attitudes to sport and to get them participating. They even had the outline of an experiential programme.
 
Best of all for us, they had a client and a planner who were really excited about the project and the client was able to transmit that excitement to us. We want a name, a brand look and feel and to see how that translates into a nationwide experiential and social media campaign, they said. And can we something in a work in progress by close of play tomorrow?
 
The initial something we presented the next day grew into the BloominGirls campaign. Its big sister for Sport England, This Girl Can, has been cleaning up at the awards and rightly so. We haven't done so bad either: a silver and bronze at the IPMs most recently and mentions in dispatches at other dos.
 
We're a good creative team, but you still need all the planets to line up in the right order if you're going to make it as far as the awards juries. A brief that doesn't paint you into a corner right from the start, an agency willing to trust you (especially when you're a freelancer with the experience in an area that they lack) and a client willing to trust the agency; without any one of those your work is done for. Oh and a tip for creative directors: saying at the outset that the brief has award written all over it, doesn't make it so.
 
So if you're off to the south of France, good luck and enjoy your good fortune and the ruinously expensive booze, thanks to the company credit card. If you're not, put the mankini back in the wardrobe and think about creating the right conditions for turning a promising brief into something more rewarding.
 
 
 
23 June 2015 09:45