Shreyas Kulkarni

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

Grand jurors of the Foxglove Awards suggest actionable steps for young agencies.

Making an awards case study is like fencing, it is a noble art. Unfortunately, not everyone is as polished in this art form as they’d like to believe. But not to worry.

The Foxglove Awards, India’s biggest awards for agencies 12 years or younger, from afaqs!, has got you covered. We spoke to the grand jury, a crew of adland’s most creative folks, and absorbed knowledge on what agencies should keep in mind to make sure their case studies stand out from the pile of entries.

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

Josy Paul, chairperson, BBDO India

Josy Paul
Josy Paul

Content is ‘King’, but context is ‘King Kong’. Within 20 seconds, you should be able to present the context. What’s the point when the inflexion happens? How do you articulate the idea? You have to articulate it very clearly.

How you execute and amplify it, has to be told clearly with a certain level of emotion, and can’t just be a matter of fact. Like any two-minute viral idea, it needs an emotional angle. Humanity needs to come through.

Jury members come from different places. They have different backgrounds. You can’t assume what you feel about an idea, is exactly how they will feel too.

People who come up with the idea, may not be the best ones to make a case study. They need to see it from an outside world. They can write it slightly differently. Give the idea to another person. That's why they have the concept of ambassadors.

Keep editing. It is all in the writing. The case study will live, or die, by the writing.

Karthik Nagarajan, head, branded content, GroupM

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

It’s important to completely internalise the award’s criteria. The write-up needs to match the criteria. Most jury members are doing it pro-bono, so, they are short on time. Design your entries like that. If you have the resources, always go for a video.

Every award entry is an elevator pitch, what you tell the jurors in that short time, say that in the case study. You don’t have to write screenplays or novels, get to the point. Bullet points are underrated. Four bullet points eat a paragraph for breakfast.

A good award entry is an original one. If you have done a launch campaign, there’s no need to market it as a cause marketing campaign. The jurors are marketers, so, they know how it works.

People will undervalue the hard work you've done. If it’s ‘100,000’, no need to put it in a million, in terms of impact. Some campaigns are small, some are big, there’s no need to dress up.

Navin Kansal, chief creative officer, 21N78E Creative Labs

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

As the jurors are always starved for time, the entries must be packaged well. Less is more. Restrict the case study video to two or two-and-a-half minutes. If you need more time to explain things, it clearly means that you haven’t sharpened the video.

If agencies are submitting entries in multiple categories, the case studies should be a reflection of the category in which they’re submitted. Jurors always look out for the relevance of a case study in that particular category.

Mayur Varma, ECD and creative head, 82.5 Communications

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

The jurors go through several ideas. So, it’s crucial to have a good hook. The first 10 seconds of the case study video should excite them and make them want to see the rest of the video.

Keep it short and, if possible, trim the case study video to 30 seconds. Start questioning every second after the 30-second mark. If the length is over two minutes, question the need to send that particular video.

Treat case studies like an ad; a great beginning where you get to the idea right away, and an end which stays with the viewer. Make your case studies entertaining and think hard about what you’d like to leave the jurors with, once the video ends.

Mukund Olety, chief creative officer, VMLY&R

Mukund Olety
Mukund Olety

Craft your case study like you’d craft a copy or a film. Don’t stop at the first cut, keep polishing it, and keep it within two minutes. Once you’ve crafted the case study video, show it to the people who don’t know the work. It will give you an outsider’s perspective.

Make sure the case study does justice to its category.

A case study can't be a bunch of facts, it's a piece of communication and has to be engaging. You need to think through on how to make it interesting, as opposed to, ‘Now I've done the work, I just need to put the case together’.

A case study is almost a business proposal for your agency. It’s something one has to invest time, effort and, if possible, money in. It will showcase the kind of agency you are, to your peers and clients.

Azazul Haque, chief content officer, Media Monks

Azazul Haque
Azazul Haque

When you’re creating something for recognition, it has to be brave, experimental, look young, and stand out. Seek inspiration from case studies submitted for global awards.

If your work is regional and doesn’t have subtitles, you can’t possibly connect with the jurors. Make sure your idea is told simply and effectively. Also, a case study should reflect its particular category.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, chairman and chief creative officer, 82.5 Communications

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

Whether you’re writing or making a video, it should be very crisp. Look at the case study video like a creative piece and you need to hook the audience in the first 10 seconds, or else people will switch and not wait till the middle of the video to get to the main point.

Jurors have so many entries to go through, and they are exhausted and impatient. You need to make the experience of seeing your case study and/or video, rewarding.

Saugata Bagchi, head, global digital and content marketing, Tata Communications

The ultimate guide to create award-winning work

The first and foremost thing agencies should do, is study the category they’re submitting their entries in. Second, they need to be honest with themselves; carpet-bombing (excessive entries) doesn’t work and is sometimes counter-productive, because jurors may switch off after seeing the same entry in different categories.

Third, write the case study for the person who’s going to view it, and not yourself. Last, be authentic from the point of view of why the idea was conceived, what led to the brief of the idea, and if there were any discoveries in between which led to the elevation or improvement of the idea and the execution.

The winners of the Foxglove awards will be announced on 15th October 2022.

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