Judging Process

What does it take to win Gold? Why did the RSVP go to one campaign and not another?

What does it take to win Gold? Why did the RSVP go to one campaign and not another?

The simple answer is that the work was good, the results were there, and the entry submission did a good job of conveying this message to the panels of preliminary and senior judges.

More than 120 judges, each with a minimum of five years of experience in their field, volunteer to evaluate the award entry submissions and it’s a tough job to say the least. Each entry is reviewed by a number of preliminary judges, each of whom uses the information requested in the Call For Entries to rate the entries against a specific set of criteria. Each judge works independently and is asked to evaluate each entry on its own merits and not directly compare entries against each other.

Judges look for a strong plan that includes a well-articulated strategy and clearly defined objectives. They need to know how the campaign was executed and how well it did. Judges look for results and success against the stated objectives and the impact on business. Indicators of this success include share of market, response rates, lift in product volume, return on investment, etc. Index formats may be used to report this information due to its often highly confidential nature. Finally, judges consider the overall campaign including such elements as creative, level of integration between the elements, alignment with brand, use of customer information, and positioning within customer lifecycle, to name just a few.

Then it’s all down to the numbers. Scores from each judge are averaged together to reach the preliminary score for each entry. When all scores have been tabulated, entries which rise above a certain level move on to the second round of judging where a group of senior judges evaluate the entries against the same criteria used during the preliminary judging phase. The senior judges do not know the results of the preliminary scoring. The scores from each senior judge are tabulated to arrive at the senior score for each entry. The preliminary and senior scores are then combined to reach the final score for the entry.

To win a Gold an entry must reach a minimum score of 80%. Silver requires at least 75% and an Award of Merit must rise above 70%. These minimum requirements explain why there may not always be a Gold, Silver and Merit in each category. Winning is all by the numbers.

Lorraine McLachlan is VP, conventions and special events at the Canadian Marketing Association.

To participate as a judge in next year’s CMA Awards please visit the CMA Web site at www.the-cma.org/awards.