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WHAT EPICA AWARDS JURORS WANT

Mark Tungate 2020-10-16

The Epica Awards have always been unique in the global awards landscape. From the very beginning, in 1987, they’ve been judged by journalists who write about advertising, design and marketing. Recently, they’ve been joined by specialist reporters in fields such as business, technology, photography, film production, automotive, entertainment and more for specific categories.

So what does that mean for Epica Awards entrants? Do our jurors choose winners that are “different” from those of other advertising competitions?

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History shows that there is a considerable overlap – but our jurors also know their own minds, and don’t always feel the need to pick this year’s big thing. What gets them sitting up is something they can write about or put in the spotlight. A headline-making idea; a great story; an arresting image. And they look for authenticity. When your idea sells itself, you don’t always need a glossy case study.


Here’s how to grab their attention, both during and outside the Epica season, in their own words.


What characteristics set Epica Award winners apart from the winners of other competitions?

Journalists are critical, sometimes cynical, beasts. Impressing a panel of global reporters is no mean feat. The Epica Awards celebrate the original and the surprising – these traits are crucial.
Jeremy Lee, consulting editor, Campaign, UK

Journalists view ads from a news perspective. Their legendary suspicious natures and questioning minds lend weight to their judgements.
David Gapes, editor and director, M+AD, New Zealand

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Journalists often reward storytelling because that is also what we do.
Aleksi Ylä-Anttila, reporter, Markkinointi & Mainonta, Finland

We try to award not just the most spectacular work, but the work that really creates a connection with the public.
Laura Buraschi, reporter, Touch Point, Italy

A potential winner has to grab my attention immediately, since that’s the job of a successful advertising image. The viewer might only have a second or two to be engaged by the visual and so it has to be powerful enough to work right away.
Terry Hope, editor, Professional Photo, UK


As an agency or a brand, what kind of work should I be doing if I want to make headlines in your publication or on your site?

We really try to look at the thinking behind the campaign, the insight that drove the creative strategy, and we like it to be a little left of centre. There is so much bland in advertising today. Smart copy, great production, but always the “why”: why this and why now.
Herman Manson, publisher and editor, MarkLives, South Africa

Share the behind-the-scenes of your best work. Entrepreneurs don’t want to know that something exists – they want to know how it was created, and what insights that process can provide to them.
Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief, Entrepreneur magazine, US

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Anything that pushes boundaries or creates a heart stopping moment has always been in short supply. It’s also important to remember that advertising is in its essesnce about selling product or shifting attitudes, and we celebrate that.
Jeremy Lee, consulting editor, Campaign, UK

Tell our readers something useful…Brands, artists and agencies who are willing to talk about details of their productions, who show their pipelines, scripts and workflows – with all the rough edges that real pipelines have – their approaches to making it work and developing their output into something worth watching is always interesting, appreciated and worth publishing.
Bela Beier, managing editor, Digital Production, Germany

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Your work should be outstanding in some way. Whether it’s the idea, the execution or the impact. Moreover, brands and projects that really make an effort towards sustainability – not greenwashing – are going to play a bigger role.
Nora Halwax, editor, Horizont Austria

Innovative, brave, creative solutions. If you manage to make an advertisement for a washing powder that’s different to all the others, not about whitening or colour fixing, but also effective – I will write about it for sure.
Agata Małkowska-Szozda, advertising, PR and marketing editor, Press magazine, Poland

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At Campaign India, we get requests on a daily basis from brands, agencies and PR companies to publish their work, but we limit it to two pieces. In those two pieces, we look for innovative work. It doesn’t need to be something new always, but a different spin on advertising in a particular category helps. For example, the recent Cred campaign that is on air during the Indian Premier League. The work featured three celebrities but ended up mocking them during the final films and has divided opinions on whether it works or not. I absolutely love it because we haven't had work like this for a while now.
Raahil Chopra, deputy editor, Campaign India

We like to see originality, fresh ideas and strong concepts. I’m less interested in the technical aspects of an image if it has the power to jump out at me, but if there does happen to be a strong back story about how it was originated then this gives us another aspect to be talking about.
Terry Hope, editor, Professional Photo, UK

I use agencies and brands as emerging technology use cases to demonstrate what’s possible…However, I can tell you that potentially really great examples sometimes don’t see the light of day because the spokesperson is unable to communicate a good story. What did you do? Why did you do it? What inspired you? What benefits have you or your audience/customers received as a result? Were there any risks involved? What did you learn?..My job is to find the thing that makes an example truly unique and tell the story.
Lisa Morgan, contributing writer, Informationweek, US

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What makes a jury of journalists relevant for a creative competition?

As journalists convinced of our choices, we’ll be sure to inform the industry about who won and why. So in PR terms we have a greater reach than many other juries.
Agata Małkowska-Szozda, advertising, PR and marketing editor, Press magazine, Poland 

The very foundation of journalism is impartiality and objectivity, which I am sure every juror brings to the table. The work we judge is not created by our colleagues – or friends – and not even by our compatriots, since we don’t even get to judge entries from our own countries.
Madeleine Nilsson, reporter at Dagens Media, Sweden

First of all, journalists usually see work from all over the world, so they are aware of the overall level of creativity. Then, they are used to looking at every piece of work with a critical eye: we see not only the tip of the iceberg, but are conscious that there’s a lot of work behind every project.
Laura Buraschi, reporter, Touch Point, Italy

Being able to cast a critical but an objective eye with the benefit of individual regional nuance and perspective means that Epica provides a unique platform for agencies to showcase their work and celebrate the best global creative output.
Jeremy Lee, consulting editor, Campaign, UK

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What makes any outside party relevant to judging a trade competition? It is their unique perspective, a knowledgeable outsider’s view, a perspective from outside the industry bubble. Journalists are creative people – we create through the act of writing and we produce our work; we commission images and art to accompany our words.
Herman Manson, publisher and editor of MarkLives, South Africa

Its independence. We are the consumer, not a peer or a client. Without the advertising trade media (which makes work visible) there would be less sense of a community and of what stands out.
Nils Adriaans, contributor, Adformatie, Netherlands

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We all come from different backgrounds and we each have different sensibilities and styles when it comes to judging work, What is deemed useless to one person is valuable to another. I like to be exposed to imaginative ideas from other markets, as shots’ traditional focus tends to be European/US based work.  So really it’s just about having as many different creative eyes on the work to give it a balanced and fair assessment.
Daniel Huntley, news editor, Shots, UK

Our work makes us more critical. And I guess we represent the public more than advertising people themselves. So the winners can be sure that they exceeded the efficiency targets.
Marcio Ehrlich, editor, Janela Publicitaria, Brazil

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As a specialist juror, how creative do you consider advertising in the field you write about?

Business advertising is challenging. You’re reaching an audience with very little time, and who’s very focused on solutions. That means that, while an advertiser has to be creative in telling their story, they also need to be informative – or at least drive awareness of value.
Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief, Entrepreneur magazine, US (specialist juror, corporate and B2B)

It’s much more creative than it used to be, because of technology advancements. There are more ways to express ideas and more channels to leverage. Advertising can be so immersive now, and that’s what it needs to be in an era of unprecedented stimulation. Targeting has become much more precise and there is less of a division between B2B and B2C creative approaches than there once was, which is a lot of fun, I think.
Lisa Morgan, contributing writer, Informationweek, US (specialist juror, digital)

Advertising photography has become a lot less predictable and more surprising over recent years and it’s good to see that great art direction and concepts are still very much in evidence. There are less of the big budget productions around perhaps, but that’s being compensated for by an abundance of strong creative ideas.
Terry Hope, editor, Professional Photo, UK (specialist juror, advertising photography)




The creative prize judged by journalists

is extending its entry deadline to November 2nd.


Click here to enter.






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