Caples Awards showcase creativity, courage

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Last October, the DMNews team had an unparalleled opportunity to eavesdrop on the judges of the John Caples International Awards, who gathered in New York to assess creative work of peers from countries around the world. For the first time, DMNews is partnering with Caples to produce and manage the Caples Awards dinner, which will be held March 19 in New York. The evening is the culmination of the judging process, a unique celebration of creative for the entire industry.

Our goal this year, in addition to producing a first-rate event for the Awards itself, is also to facilitate an opportunity to take the creative impetus further and dig deeper into the qualities that inform innovation and risk-taking in the direct marketing industry.

In the middle of the judging process, the global creatives take part in an open discussion of the critical issues facing their shops, the market, and their clients today. It is a participant-driven discussion, of the kind that can't take place in a Facebook group or via e-mail. To inspire candor and meaningful solutions, you have to interact with people on a personal level. We were struck by how much this forum mattered to those who participate, who come to Caples judging from far and wide.

In that spirit, DMNews is introducing a new day-long forum that will run on the same day and in the same location as the evening Awards dinner. We are calling it the Global Creative Jam, and the theme focuses on one of the thorniest issues for creatives and the marketers who partner with them — how to take risks, especially in difficult climates. The event is inspired by the Caples Courageous Client Award, which each year calls out the marketers who took an important and daring risk in a campaign.

The event will include keynote presentations from inspiring leaders from the marketer and creative communities, including Barbara Goodstein, chief innovation officer, CMO and EVP for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. The company's 800-pound gorilla campaign has won high praise for the creative way it is reaching consumers about the critical issues of retirement.

At the heart of the event will be the three roundtable sessions, which will give attendees — marketers and creatives alike — an opportunity to focus on very specific questions related to innovation, taking risks, and having the courage to give creative the scope to take your brand to new and unexpected places.

Courage is a really important topic, especially in a climate where conservative and safe can sometimes override innovation. The Creative Jam will be a forum to glean the insight and tools you need to bring you brands, and your clients, to a creative level far beyond their competitors.

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