How to Win an APG Creative Strategy Award: Top tips from those who know

The Guardian hosted a seminar for the APG on Tuesday night featuring Craig Mawdsley and Bridget Anger – Joint CSOs odf AMVBBDO – talking about their experiences of short listing and the ethics of this year’s competition and David Wilding, CSO of PHD and Mark Finney – of the Guardian – outlining the case for media thinking and the Guardian’s Special Prize.

These are some the highlights from the advice given and the questions asked.


  • Point out what’ s clever about the paper
  • Beginnings & endings are very important
  • Illustrate your point with visuals too (planners love a diagram)
  • Check it reads well/test with a friend
  • New learning doesn’t have to mean new media although we d like to see some interesting cases that explore this.
  • The implementation of planning ideas by planners hasn’t been properly exploited as yet…


  • Read as many past papers as you can to learn the thinking
  • The work has to be good to enter but it doesn’t need to have won an award
  • It has to be a story based on fact, the storytelling has to be good – but it has to be true
  • If relevant point out how hard was it was – jeopardy helps the case – adding a personal anecdote makes it an interesting read
  • Point out what you didn’t do and why/what you learned
    moral of the tale, think what you now know that you didn’t before
  • Know what your end goal is; it makes it much easier to write a coherent and interesting story
  • If you’re writing about a good campaign expectation is higher
  • What’s the bit in the middle (from brief to creative work)?  Telling this story well can be really influential.  How did John Lewis get from Never knowingly undersold to ‘Always a woman’?
  • What’s your killer punch – that will help the shortlisting judge make their decision & sell it in to the others
  • Make it easy to read – chapters to the story
  • What have you contributed to the Planing community?  A reminder that old learning reinterpreted (Dixons) can be as important as new…


Speaking as media planner

  • The roles of account planner and media planning roles are mixing /getting harder to distinguish o go ahead and write papers singly and in collaboration
  • APG Creative Strategy Awards are especially interesting and distinguished because they are about creatively unlocking a problem
  • 2011 yielded some strong examples of media thinking- so as a media planner don’t be put off that you re not an account planner – see Yeo valley, NHS stop smoking,

Mark …

  • The Guardian is about openness and collaboration: forward looking, curious people who embrace change and technology.
  • It’s proud of its advertising and its association with the APG
  • The Guardian’s special award for Progressive Thinking will reward campaigns that create engagement across platforms with great stories that are not just customer journeys

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