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We're announcing the new Long-Term Thinking Award: A new category, for 2019 APG Creative Strategy Awards.

As our world is increasingly filled with the mediocre, there has never been a more important time to celebrate the role that truly creative strategic thinking can play in stimulating more inventive creative ideas. Jim Carroll, Chair of Judging for the 2019 APG Creative Strategy Awards will be focussing on the very essence of creative planning and “looking for the purest, smartest examples of strategic thinking that make a difference to both output and outcome for brands.” Many of these will be new campaigns or innovations. But this year, we are adding a crucial new category to recognise strategists who have taken a longer-term perspective of 5 or more years.

Very few campaigns last for more than a couple of years. Why? Because as an industry we are psychologically predisposed to the shiny and new. We tend to treat each new brief as a stand-alone project, allocating fresh creative teams to it. And Marketing Society figures show the average tenure of CMOs in the UK is only 18 months. Who can resist the desire to throw out both baby and bathwater and start again with something we feel we can personally own? Sometimes this is the right thing to do. But not always.

The mainstream British audience is not so obsessed with the shiny and new. They revel in the ‘unfamiliar familiar’ - something that they recognise that has been given a new context or twist. Our proud comic tradition of sketch shows uses this week in, week out. And some of the most famous campaigns in advertising history are built on it for brands as diverse as Nike, Dove, Carling Black Label, John Lewis, Specsavers, This Girl Can, Beats by Dre. A core idea flexed and evolved over time to pique interest, engagement and relevance. There’s a strong commercial reason for doing this too. The IPA Effectiveness paper for Specsavers demonstrates the growing sales over time from the “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” campaign (and the corresponding loss of sales from a brief move away from it). And John Lewis have demonstrated increasing commercial payback with each Christmas spectacular. As Chair of Shortlisting I think, sometimes, the hardest, bravest but most commercially savvy thing to do is to evolve what you have to fit a new cultural context.

We are breaking with tradition and adding a new category to the 2019 Creative Strategy Awards – Long-Term Thinking. It is open to campaigns that are still running after 5 years. As Matt Tanter, APG Chair explains, “It is designed to celebrate strategists who know how to protect and evolve big ideas. It’s tough! But when is a planner’s job ever easy?”

Entries to the APG Creative Strategy Awards and the Long-Term Thinking Award can be made at The next ‘How to Win’ evening is on Tuesday 5th March. Entries close at noon on 4th April.

APG Awards Judges 2019

From left to right: Vicki Holgate, Chair of Shortlisting. Jim Carroll, Chair of Judging. Matt Tanter, APG Chair.


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