How do I win an AdNews Agency Of The Year Award?

Assia Benmedjdoub
By Assia Benmedjdoub | 21 June 2022

The AdNews Agency of The Year Awards 2022 has officially launched.

Each year, Australia's top CMOs and marketers gather to judge entries from across the advertising industry. So what stands out and what doesn't? 

Here are some of the top insights from judges, from compiling a balanced scorecard and addressing criteria to demonstrating effectiveness and diversity.   

National Australia Bank CMO Suzana Ristevski:

“The Agency Of The Year Award is a chance to showcase the agencies ‘balanced scorecard’. Applicants who stand out are the ones who showcase more than just their creative performance. They articulate and provide data that showcases their performance (year on year percentage growth/profit data is always helpful) and culture (engagement scores, retention, industry support). I’m sometimes surprised with how overweighted the creative part of the submission is vs the data part.”

MyDeal CMO Ryan Gracie:

"My expectation from an agency is that they provide my business with a creative way to sell more products or services, so when I read an ‘Agency Of The Year' entry, I expect to read something with a bit of flavour that also tells me why they deserve the top spot. Keep the fluff to a minimum, but keep me entertained, remember we read tonnes of these things. Give me the facts, real numbers around business growth and the metrics that count.

For me, creative that sells is the creative that counts, I’m not overly impressed by campaigns that tick all the ‘new gimmicks box’, or make consumers jump through hoops, I just want to know the campaign moved the brand and sales needles in the right direction and made a real difference to the top and bottom lines.

I also noticed all the agencies trying to get one up on the others by offering a plethora of staff benefits. Don’t get me wrong, be good to your staff and they will be good to you and your clients, but it sounds like there will be a point soon, where foosball matches and a session of downward dog with the office pooch will be the primary vocation over actual work for the client. I want to see that an agency has the work life balance in balance, that the client isn’t paying overs to fund a growing list of staff entitlements."

Myer GM of marketing Gemma Hunter:

"There are three key things I look for when judging Agency Of The Year. One: Examples of world class creative work, transformative and effective ideas that are born from a cultural insight. Two: A commitment to and examples of leading the way in the much needed equality, diversity and inclusion agenda in our industry. Three: A culture that adapts to the changing needs of agency talent in today’s world. If you can nail all three, you are the Agency Of The Year, a leader who inspires the whole industry."

Kathmandu CCO Eva Barrett:

"I’m looking for creativity that drives effectiveness. How do they answer the clients brief and clearly deliver upon the objectives outlined?

Great agencies partner with their clients, they know and understand their business, they’re curious, they’re consumer insight led, they spend the time on strategy first as great strategic thinking leads to great big ideas.

They support their clients to protect and nurture those big ideas so they get to see the light of day. But they need to be effective, they need to drive tangible results for the business and they need to get people talking about the brand.

They need to be integrated ideas, integrating digital, social, PR to drive results. Too often big ideas are not integrated with their social and PR partners.

This is what it takes to win an Agency Of The Year Award. Keep those big ideas coming, in a world where we can measure everything, creativity still tugs at the heart strings and I believe is still the biggest differentiator out there."

Witchery head of marketing Jennifer Petropoulos:

"It was a privilege to be invited into the inner workings of each agency and having the opportunity to look under the hood. What sets one agency apart from another is their approach to people – diversity, flexibility, supporting mental health and welling initiatives, training and development and high retention rates; their relationship with clients – high satisfaction, long tenure and stability; and their approach to the work, which is often an outcome of succeeding with their people and clients – understanding changing consumer behaviour, major wins, being strategic and showing innovation."

Maserati national marketing manager Tim Stanton:

"Going through the submissions, what really stood out to me was those that put effort into the layout and structure of their submission. A number of entrants made it easy for judges to score their submission against the key criteria through their layout and structure of the document without it being laborious to read.

I was also interested to understand how and why a change was implemented and if they measured the impact of that change. For example, we looked at workplace diversity as one criteria.Was this implemented to address the criteria as a bit of a tick the box exercise or did the business genuinely see the need to have a diverse range of people within their team and why was this so? I was also curious as to whether there was a measurable benefit to the business and the clients."

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