Ethics & Spirit

APG Creative Strategy Awards 2021

1. We’re going to be as open as possible – within the limits of decency, commercial confidentiality and keeping it an exciting and fair competition. So like last time we’re publishing the criteria we’ll be using to judge papers and how many marks each criterion carries. And, after the event, you can find out how your paper scored.


2. The theme for the APG Creative Strategy Awards 2021 will be announced at the end of 2020. 

3. Additionally the Awards will have a truly international reach so that we showcase the best thinking worldwide, and therefore will embrace papers from around the world and make it easier for non-UK-resident Planners to take part. The Grand Prix has been won by papers from outside the UK in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2019.

4. As usual there will be two judging stages – a written paper and a face-to-face stage. The written stage will count for half the total marks. The second and final judging stage will consist of a 5 minute recap of the salient points of the paper by the author(s) followed by up to 15 minutes of questions and discussion with the judges. This second stage represents the other half of the total marks.

5. The Shortlisting Panel will mark every paper and those with the highest scores based on the quality of the written argument will go forward to the final judging stage where marks will be awarded as outlined below. The Grand Prix and the gold, silver and bronze Awards will be based on the total marks achieved over both judging stages.


6. The chair of final judges and chair of shortlisters will work closely together to make sure that there is cohesion between the two stages. The chair of shortlisters will be on the final judging panel.


7. Although they may write or co-author a paper, no juror on the final judging panel may present a paper or be in the room when it is being discussed.


8. The allocation of marks at each stage is - maximum of 50 marks available at each stage – and will be made according to the following four judging criteria:

Written paper

  • How compelling is the story i.e. how effectively have you presented the idea (written case / presentation)? 20 marks

  • How interesting is the strategic idea at the heart of the paper? And how well is it linked to the work?) 20 marks

  • How much do I wish I’d done it? (The jealousy factor) 5 marks

  • How ‘useful’ is the case/the learning and/or could it be reapplied? 5 marks


Final Judging

  • Does the story stand up to scrutiny? 20 marks

  • How good is the strategic idea/thinking at the heart of it? 20 marks

  • How useful is it? 5 marks

  • How far do I wish I had done that? 5 marks

9. There will be no “categories” (except the Long Term Thinking category)  and we will focus on the intrinsic quality of each entry. Every paper that makes it to the final judging stage will be awarded gold, silver or bronze, and the best gold paper will win the Grand Prix. In addition, there will be a number of special prizes. As in previous years, we will award the Stephen King Trophy to the most successful agency – crowning them the APG Strategy Agency of the Year.


10. Each award qualifies for points, and the agency office (not network) with the most points will be the Stephen King Strategy Agency Of The Year.

  • A Gold will win 7 points;

  • A Silver, 3 points;

  • A Bronze, 2 points;

  • A Special Award, 1 point;

  • and the Grand Prix, 9 points (i.e. 2 points in addition to 7 for Gold)


11. The lead agency must be nominated on the entry form so that it is clear which agency is able to accrue any points towards Strategy Agency of the Year. In addition that agency office must have been responsible for devising the strategy that the entry describes.

Do you have any questions?

If you have any other questions, or something isn't clear, please give us a call in the office on +44(0)208 858 0707
or email Sarah -
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