How to win a Caples

Caples Entries Open

Entries are now open for the John Caples International Awards

Click HERE to download your entry kit today

For 33 years the John Caples International Awards have celebrated the most creative solutions to the most challenging marketing problems. However, as all winners know, the road to the stage begins long before judging day.

“Successful campaigns always take time to develop because they’re daring and it takes time to convince a client to do them,” explains Vincent Daenen, creative director at Proximity BBDO Belgium and co-lead on this year’s Courageous Client award winner. “It’s a matter of creating confidence.” Daenen helped create Dodge’s “Baby Made on Board” campaign, during which customers were invited to give the backseat of a Dodge truck a “test run.” He said the time and opportunity was right for such a daring campaign.

“This was an ideal campaign to try to go all the way,” he said. “They let us push it as far as we had to in order to make it really work. If you do it halfway, it’s not funny or shocking and people won’t talk about it. You have to be able to go all the way.”

Guido Goffeau, Caples country chair for Belgium, co-led the campaign. Both agree that award-winning work is honored when business goals, rather than accolades themselves, are the work’s objective.

“Awards are always a consequence and never a goal, and that’s something that quite a lot of creatives in the business don’t really understand,” Goffeau explained. “Some people put too much stardust on themselves instead of on the work. From the moment the client feels you’re building the campaign for awards rather than to do the job at hand, you’re lost.”

Recently elected Caples board member and Wunderman chief creative officer Nick Moore agrees, and adds that creating a piece that cuts through the clutter in consumers’ lives is of the utmost importance.

“Everyone has a digital camera and access to Flickr and YouTube, so everyone is a creator and can express opinions on Facebook,” he says. “Creating average communication does not cut through the clutter. The amount of clutter in most people’s lives is increasing, so the need for breakthrough, creative communication is getting more and more urgent.”

The means by which a message gets through to consumers varies, especially in this age of multichannel marketing. What makes Caples special is that the awards recognize the idea behind the work and how well it resonates with consumers, rather than complexity for complexity’s sake.

Baby made on board

Agency: Proximity BBDO, Belgium
Client: Dodge


After 20 years of highlighting the advertising efficiency of its Pay TV Thematic channels to market itself to advertisers, marketing managers and media planners, Spain’s Conect Pay TV Thematic Council needed a change.


Pay TV partnered with Shackleton Madrid to update its messaging. Shackleton created an integrated tourism campaign for Miravete de la Sierra, a relatively unknown village, and launched four TV spots for the campaign.

The spots starred the village’s 12 inhabitants and were broadcast exclusively on Pay TV channels. Each one featured a call to action back to Pay TV’s website.

The site included a three-dimensional virtual tour of Miravete guided by the town’s eldest inhabitant, an online reservation office, ringtones and screensavers, a place to donate to buy new tiles to help restore the town church’s roof, a goat milking advergame and a map tracing the best route to the town.


The site was 10 times more popular than other tourism sites in Spain, according to Nielsen. The town’s only bed and breakfast was booked solid for four months following the campaign. Pay TV channels grew their average ad spend by 14.9% at a time when general TV ads fell by 13.9%. The brand recorded 517,000 visits to the site and Conect Pay TV’s awareness grew by 498% from 390,840 to more than 1.5 million.

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