Is there a failsafe formula to capturing an APG Creative Strategy award? Probably not, but the APG UK's series of events to demystfiy the judging process continued yesterday with some more advice for would-be gong-winners.

JWT's Guy Murphy, chairman of the 2009 awards, kicked off by asking: "Have you read last year's winners?" Only a few had. However, the papers have been well read on and the most downloaded on are not necessarily the 2009 judges' top picks. See the full list of 2009 papers here (only Warc subscribers can view the actual papers).

We will be doing the same exercise with the 2011 papers after these are published on our Latest Awards page this autumn.

Last night's speakers shared some insights (and some audio extracts) from the 2009 judging process on why certain papers didn't take the top awards and others did.

Here's Warc's summary of top ten tips to getting to the podium:

  1. There are formal and informal criteria from the process. The marks are evenly split between those for a written paper and those for a face-to-face presentation (see previous post or watch the event). The formal criteria are: How well written/presented was the material? (20% at both stages) Was it a good idea? (25% at both stages) Did it have the "I wish I had the done that" factor? (5% at both stages)
  2. All the papers that make it to the presentation stage have already been judged as, at least, good. In the final stages, therefore, the key issue for the judges is to establish the relative merits of Gold, Silver or Bronze contenders.
  3. In both your paper and your presentation, make sure, above all, that you have established the quality of your thinking, the quality of your creativity and the link between these two elements.
  4. If you don't have good creative, don't enter.
  5. Story-telling is a core planning skill: prove you can turn your idea into a compelling narrative. Avoid being over-colloquial.
  6. Presentations are judged on content rather than style. However, some live theatre can help your cause: for its 2009 PG Tips paper, Mother provided a video link-up to a chimpanzee.
  7. Think about what your paper can add to the sum total of planning knowledge, and bring this element out.
  8. Don't duck difficult questions: if you cannot prove your campaign's effectiveness, acknowledge this upfront.
  9. Tell people what you didn't do as a way of highlighting your unconventional thinking.
  10. Some campaigns will already be well-known by the judges: try to live up to their expectations, or better yet suprise them.

For more updates on the process - including the details on this year's jury - keep an eye on the APG's website. You can also catch a video of the previous APG awards event here.