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How to win a Caples

Now in the second year of managing the John Caples International Awards, DMNews and parent company Haymarket Media are poised to make the 32nd edition of the Awards the best one yet.

There are a slew of exciting additions to the Awards agenda this year, including new categories and twice the number of worldwide creative directors on the judging panel. Despite that, the heart of the show has not deviated.

“The Awards are still based on the principle that Andi Emerson created 32 years ago, which is celebrating the creative people who make relationship marketing work,” explains Gary Scheiner, director of Caples Judging and chief creative officer at Rosetta. “There’s a lot of focus on the results of relationship marketing and even strategy, but it’s the creative product that gets consumers to react and respond,” he adds.

While the worldwide economic climate may have strapped client marketing budgets, agency creatives never missed a beat when it came to producing inspiring and innovative direct campaigns over the past year. A tough economy is just another marketing challenge, and creative solutions to marketing problems make up the essence of the Caples Awards.

“It’s even more challenging in these times to produce great work, which makes Caples even more relevant, because you have to dig even deeper,” Scheiner adds. “It shows the value of the work and the impact it can have.”

In addition to celebrating the most creative solutions to the biggest marketing problems, Caples is underscored by its “for creatives, by creatives” approach to judging.

“Being judged by an international panel of respected creative people goes a long way,” says Jason Inasi, CEO and creative director of The Factory Interactive. “The exposure and quality of the event is something every agency should participate in.”

While last year’s work was judged by 40 creative directors from around the world, this year’s entries will be judged by twice that number, including Inasi himself, whose “Germville: A sick place to live” campaign took home the only US Gold last year.

“We were flattered to be among some of the work we saw last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the international creative community is bringing to the table this year,” Inasi says.

Judging will take place this fall, on November 5 and 6. Entries for all categories must be received by September 28. Late entries will be accepted until October 5 with a $50 late fee. The Entry Kit is available at caples.org/enter.

This year’s Awards feature two new categories – Best Art Direction and Best Copywriting. Last year’s category addition, mobile, was added to incorporate an emerging channel into the awards mix. However, this year’s newbies are a celebration of the fundamentals that lie at the heart of direct marketing.

“We added the art direction and copywriting to celebrate the craft of creativity,” Scheiner explains. “A great headline or e-mail or well-thought-out copy with a consistency of voice that captures the essence of the brand; or the purity of art direction – how the elements are put on a page or on a screen.”

To streamline the entry process, DMNews has a dedicated microsite outlining the entry details and requirements for each of the 50 categories. The site also allows agencies to upload digital collateral directly.

A simplified entry system is beneficial. This year, the Awards will once again have a strong international presence, with agencies such as New Zealand’s AIM Proximity and Sydney-based BMF both looking to build on a string of recent successes on Caples night.

“We look at the US as the home of direct, so for us to be able to perform well at awards shows in the US feels great,” says Darryn Melrose, CEO of AIM Proximity, last year’s Courageous Client and Best in Show winner. “It’s great to be in an environment where direct is acknowledged and celebrated.”

BMF creative director Dylan Taylor, who received the Irving Wunderman Award at the 2007 show and whose agency took home Gold last year for the “TED696 project,” shares Melrose’s sentiment. He agreed being on a global stage against the year’s best work offers a true perspective how one’s own efforts stack up.

For 32 years, Caples has been showcasing the creativity and adaptive resolve that the best of the direct marketing industry has to offer, as judged by industry leaders themselves. Because consumers are bombarded with more media than ever before, the challenge of breaking through the media barrage has never been greater, and creativity is at an all-time premium.

“As the amount of communications and the ability for consumers to filter out content has increased, the need for creativity and engaging consumers are all the more important,” Melrose says.

John Caples International Awards

Eighty full-time senior creative directors from around the world judge your work in November. Finalists will be announced on December 14.

Deadline for entries September 28, 2009

Entry kit
Visit Caples.org/enter.

To become a sponsor or partner
Contact Deborah Hartley at [email protected] or (646) 638-6188

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