404 Creative Strategy Awards | The Account Planning Group (APG)
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Creative Strategy Awards

Welcome to the APG Creative Strategy Awards

These awards are a unique and important part of the planning calendar. What makes them unique is that they are the only awards that recognise the day to day contribution planning makes to standout creative work. They recognise the often difficult journey from client brief to breakthrough creative idea. There is no doubt that just writing a paper is an experience that will leave you a better planner than before. And whatever your level or discipline, everyone can learn from seeing how other planners inspired great creative work. So enter away. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Today that journey from client brief to creative idea is probably harder than it ever has been. The journey is more time pressured, the creative ideas themselves must live in more channels than ever before and right now the economic climate doesn’t encourage creative risk taking. But it’s when creativity is under threat that planning can make a big difference and it’s arguable that inspirational planning has never been a more important short cut to great work. The creative strategy awards are here to showcase those moments of strategic inspiration.

As in all awards, the judges are looking for moments of unexpected thinking that directly led to outstanding creative work. Thinking that turned the problem on its head. Above all, the judges are looking for unequivocal evidence that planning made a significant contribution to great creative work. Not just doing diligence and doing the right thing but instead, unearthing some strategic inspiration which made the creative work not just good but great.

The planning discipline has evolved and we’d encourage all planning disciplines including media, social, research and PR to submit papers and show how their strategic inspiration helped great creative work, in whatever form it takes.

This year there’s also a new award. The Strategic Agency of the Year award. This is designed to recognise those agencies that support planning and are committed to improving standards across the board. This is an exciting first for the APG and we look forward to entries from lots of agencies, big and small. After all, it’s not about how many but actually how good an agency’s planning is.
So get thinking and write a paper or two – it’s a great chance for entrants to boost their own profile and that of their agency.

Good luck!
Olly Taylor,
Chief Strategy Officer, Host & APG Chairman of Judges


So now you want to fulfil your prophecy, this is what you need to know about entering the awards

The Awards reward the contribution that strategic planning makes to the creative work. This can be brand or channel planning, or both. Either way, the thinking should be robust, insightful and motivating.

In 1200 words, your submission will show the judges, the link between innovative thinking and excellent creative work. Winning submissions are those that best demonstrate how planning made a difference to the creative work.


To enter, you will need to determine the best category for your case study. APG judges will reallocate if necessary so make sure you opt for the most appropriate, based on your product or service.


You can only nominate one category per case study.

  • Campaigns for Established Service Brands
    Campaign in any media for an existing and marketed service brand.
  • Campaigns for Established Product Brands
    Campaign in any media for an existing and marketed product.
  • Campaigns for New Brands or Advertisers
    Campaign in any media that either launches a new brand or represents its first piece of marketing activity, this can include a product extension.
  • Campaigns for Public Service and Charity
    Campaign designed to influence a segment of the public to donate to charity or to change attitudes or behaviour on an issue of public concern.



You can increase your trophy pool by nominating your case study for any, or all, of these special prizes (only case studies shortlisted for a category award will be eligible to win):

  • Best insight
    This could be consumer, strategic, competitive or social insights.
  • Best use of data
    Using statistics and research data in an interesting and thought provoking way to achieve innovative outcomes.
  • Best approach to research
    Creative ways of uncovering interesting and unexpected answers to address your business case.
  • Best non-traditional thinking
    Including digital, social, experiential, PR and product innovation.
  • Best under $50k budget
    Total budget – creative and media.



To write a winning paper, you’ll need to know what the judges are looking for. Keep in mind your paper will be one of many so make your big ideas and clever insights leap out of obscurity.

Quite simply, make them wish they’d thought of it themselves.

Category Entries
These are judged in two stages. Stage 1 papers are judged by Senior Planners and Planning Directors from creative, media, digital and PR agencies. Stage 2 papers are presented in person, to a panel of Judges, Chaired by Olly Taylor. Shortlisted candidates will be advised of the presentation expectations and requirements once announced. If you are successfully shortlisted, this is your chance to bring your ideas to life and convince the judges of your unfailing belief in the power of planning!


  • What was the process and evidence of strategic thinking around the issue that led to the strategy/creative brief?
  • How interesting and original is the strategic solution and how well does it deliver on the issue?
  • As a result of the thinking, was the creative work original, relevant and did it have an impact in the marketplace?


Special Prize Criteria:


  • Was the approach unique, interesting, relevant?
  • Did the approach lead to valuable insights?



  • Was the insight valuable and unique?
  • How well did the insight shape the creative?



  • Was the non traditional idea a creative and interesting way to solve the communications problem?
  • How relevant was the idea to the audience, product/service and market?



  • Was the approach unique, interesting, relevant?
  • Did the approach lead to valuable insights?



  • Was the approach unique, interesting, relevant?
  • Did the results punch well above the weight of the budget?

Strategic Agency of the Year Entries

This award will be judged by an independent panel of industry leaders from marketing, media and publishing.

Individual agencies are to determine the exact nature of the submission. The award will be evaluated on a balance of the following criteria:

  • Investment in planning within the agency (% of staff)
  • Retention of planning talent (tenure)
  • Planning presence in the industry – what does the department do to foster planning in the commercial creativity business – blogs, speaking engagements, research initiatives, events, involvement in industry training etc
  • 3 examples of planning prowess or examples of planning innovation (either internally or with clients) – with particular emphasis on unexpected thinking.
  • How many APG Awards has the agency won, including Planning Idol (averaged over the life of the agency)?
  • How many Effectiveness Awards has the agency won, including Effies, AME, Cannes (averaged over the life of the agency)?



Don’t leave it too late to start. You will need client and management sign off and final preparations always take longer than you think. Start now and get your ideas together. For hints on how to structure the paper, take a look at previous APG winning case studies. The best papers read like a story with a clear purpose, engaging narrative and concise conclusions.

  • Kick start the process by taking a look at other awards you and your agency may have entered – Effies is a good place to start.
  • Talk to your clients, they should be involved and securing their input will help demonstrate the value of planning for their business.
  • Ask your colleagues and other agency partners. If the thinking was the result of agency collaboration, then let’s see it! Ideas can start solo but gain the confidence of community thinking as they evolve.
  • Read other papers – in addition to the Australian papers, APG UK is a great source of excellent planning papers.


Download the forms at APG Awards 2012



All entries must be submitted by APG Australia members.

You must enter your case study into 1 x Category. Special Prizes & Agency of the Year are optional. All prices include gst.

ENTRY – Category Award: $900 (NZ$820)
ENTRY – Strategic Agency of the Year: $900 (NZ$820)
ENTRY – Special Prize: $330 (NB. must be entered in conjunction with a category award) (NZ$300)


FILL OUT THE FORM & SEND IT IN WITH YOUR ENTRY Complete the attached form, make sure you secure all required signatures and indicate your payment option.
The deadline is 12 noon on Monday 17 September. There are no extensions.
All entries should be sent to: APG Creative Strategy Awards – The Communications Council

By Post: PO Box Q1389, QVB Post Office, SYDNEY, NSW, 1230. By Courier: Mezzanine Level, 65 York St, SYDNEY, NSW, 2000 (ph. 02 8297 3800) By Email: genevieve@communicationscouncil.org.au

ASSUME SUCCESS And let magic work the rest. We’ll announce the award presentation date soon, it’s your job to let the team know. What’s a party without the encouragement and recognition of those that helped you fulfil your prophecy. QUESTIONS? Contact the APG on 02 8297 3800 or genevieve@communicationscouncil.org.au