The Global Awards Executive Judgment Day - Review by Elizabeth Elfenbein, Health & Wellness Jury Chairwoman

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The final round of judging for the Global Awards took place in New York City in mid-October, with a host of creative leaders from around the world. This group of executive creative leaders was selected to help elevate creativity while recognizing the very best ideas in the healthcare advertising industry. 

At last year’s Global Awards event, Co-Chair Robin Shapiro spoke about trends in our industry. One trend is that premiere healthcare advertising awards shows have split juries. It was time for the Global Awards to follow suit. The health and wellness jury and pharma (Rx) jury were launched at this year’s judging session, a recognition of the need for work to be critiqued based on the kind of work it is so that it can be evaluated fairly.  

This simple notion changed the dynamic of the day and the caliber of the discussion.  
What unfolded wasn’t all that surprising—the day ran more smoothly and deliberation around each body of work was more effective. It allowed each jury to hyper-focus, within its respective category, on what “great” is. The pharma jurors had a healthy discussion, noting that while there was a decent amount of good work in pharma with 60 shortlists to debate—a vast improvement from previous years—there is still work to be done. We collectively agreed that pharma entries continue to be an opportunity for growth in our industry. With 94 shortlists, the health and wellness jurors had a greater breadth and depth of ideas to discuss and agreed that this continues to be an area where the work gets to great. 

Juries with a hyper-focus produce the best results

In the jury room, we saw that sitting on a specific jury allowed us to hyper-focus and, in turn, identify gaps in each category and have a broader discussion as industry leaders about what we need to do to fill those gaps. After each jury met to review all of their finalists and designate those that were “Global” worthy, the two juries came together as one to discuss which ideas rose to the top. Before the final day of judging, the Global Awards team and the Chairs decided that the power of inclusion in this discussion would ensure that all creative leaders saw all of the top work and had a seat at the table with the ability to communicate their respective points of view about what ideas excelled and why. That way, all of the leaders were equally invested in the outcome and could truly rally behind it. 

Building momentum and camaraderie throughout the day

This resulted in an unusually rich and respectful discussion around what we all believe deserved the “Grand Global” and which idea was the “Best of Show.” In previous years, these days could be a fight for each company and a fight for each creative leader’s ego to stand out and be heard. But on this day, it was different. It wasn’t that any spirits were quieted or that any points of view were squelched. That wasn’t the case at all. It was like we were all on the same team and were committed to recognizing only the best work, whether it was by our company or not. Everyone was a leader. We all collectively wanted to cheer for the work. The camaraderie that developed throughout the day got better and better, capped by a beautiful dinner where a number of us continued the conversation about the “what” and “why.” 

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We ended the day with a passionate debate around two ideas that we felt were “Grand Global Awards” worthy. Both brilliant ideas filled an unmet need and did so with beautiful and flawless execution. The debate involved each of us trying to peel back the onion to reveal why each idea was so brilliant and what insights were mined to help develop the strategy and ultimately the brief to get these powerful ideas to market. We discussed how the art of craft needed to be elevated to truly bring all big ideas to life. We even questioned if there might be a craft category. There was discussion around copy and how our industry has gotten lazy with a one headline approach across multiple visual executions and we agreed that there is an opportunity for more insightful use of language that surprises and delights the customer. Lastly, we talked about the state of the awards show, and the need to hone the two categories and make submitting easier.  2018 promises to be a year of continued growth for the Global Awards

- Elizabeth Elfenbein, Global Awards Chairwoman, Partner & Chief Creative Officer, The Bloc

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