How do you win a DMA Royal Mail Direct Marketing Award?
First, produce work with a powerful strategy, outstanding creativity,
and cost-effective results. Second, enter it. And third, impress the
seasoned judges who will evaluate it.
About 150 judges dedicate a total of over 1000 man-hours to select the
In 1997, 1031 submissions were received across the 31 categories, and
specialist judges from clients and agencies gathered for three days with
the challenging task of reaching agreement on which entries truly
represented the most outstanding work.
The large judging panel is supported by an utterly democratic system
designed to ensure that only the best work entered will win. The judges
are supervised by experienced judging group leaders. Judith Donovan, of
JDA, was recruited as chair of the DMA Royal Mail Awards judges for
1997, because we knew she would do whatever it took to uphold the
integrity and democracy of the process.
Judges are always surprised to discover a high level of consensus in
their scoring, even though as individuals they represent a variety of
interests and experience. On rare occasions, when a category is weak,
the scoring may not point to an obvious outcome. In such cases,
controlled debates and tie-breaks ensure that the best work entered
receives the accolade. The system factors out any of the judges’
self-declared interests, and guidance notes prepared for each category
by industry and sector experts provide additional direction.
The Awards have to reflect best practice if they are to be a meaningful
showcase for the industry. Every finalist is screened by the Advertising
Standards Authority, to ensure that standards are being upheld;
nominated winners have been withdrawn, on thankfully rare occasions,
when found to be in breach of the industry codes of practice.
In addition, a random audit is carried out to verify the information
submitted on selected entries. In other words, while the creativity of
the campaign may be important, creativity has no place in the
description of results. In any case, the judges are too experienced to
be blinded by smooth talk on the entry form.
You can see the outcome of this unique judging process in this
supplement - an impressive showcase which demonstrates the very best in
There will always be those who are disappointed not to be among the
winners, and it is usual for them to question the judging process which
did not deliver their anticipated glory. But to dispute the outcomes is
an insult to those who dedicated so much of their time to participate in
the judging, and is recognised by all except the perpetrators as sour
We’re proud to celebrate the 1997 DMA Royal Mail Award winners, who
deserve every success for their contribution to the growth and
excellence of the direct marketing industry.
JUDGES’ COMMENTS ...
Judith Donovan, JDA, 1997 Chair of Judges:
’There’s nothing that can go through and win that doesn’t have equal
credibility on its strategy, its creativity and its results - I’ve been
most impressed with the attention to detail of the judges. There are
incredibly exciting business stories coming out of these Awards, and
they make direct marketing not only respectable, but the business lever
moving into the 21st century’
Arthur Bell, Scotland Direct:
’I think there’s a fresh perspective brought by the entrants every year
- that’s the key thing. We’re here to seek freshness - are there new
ideas, are people being innovative, and are they getting the right
Lin McCarthy, Royal Sun Alliance:
’The mix of judges means that different people will view things from
different perspectives, but the reality is that the three criteria of
strategy, creativity and results need to be judged equally and scored
Brian Aspin, Royal Mail:
’Everyone wants to come up with the right answer for the right reasons,
and be able to look the other judges in the eye and explain why they
think something is good.
No one wants to get that wrong - and getting the right mix of people
there contributes to that.’
Martin Sanders, Honda:
’The value of the Awards to the industry is making sure that the
standards are maintained, that there is consistency.’
Kate Mather, Sitel Corporation:
’The Awards enable the industry to see how it’s maturing, and they will
hopefully encourage clients to see how they could use direct marketing,
rather than just concentrating on advertising.’
John Whitehead, National Trust:
’I’m looking for something that shows extra thought in terms of the way
the segmentation or targeting is used, the way that the creativity
applies to the targeting, and also for a fairly detailed analysis of the
results - which unfortunately isn’t always there.’