Here Are Lots of Ways You Can Shamelessly Cheat in Your Award Show Entries

But with the Effies, here's why you shouldn't bother

Agencies goosing their award show entries for a better chance of winning? That never happens. Does it?

Such chicanery won't get entrants anywhere at the 2017 North American Effie Awards, that's for sure. That show honors advertising effectiveness. So, to win an Effie, you'll need verifiable real-world results.

Take, for example, impressions. And we're not talking about some art director's goofy take on Jerry Lewis that rocked the holiday party, but quantifiable proof of a campaign's penetration in the marketplace.

Effie judges expect to see carefully calculated numbers scrupulously checked for accuracy. Having some dude named Melvin pull random figures out of his butt simply won't do:

Hmm, 2.6 billion impressions on a total media spend of $500? Pretty impressive. That guy must work at Walrus!

Kidding, Walrus … you're above reproach. The New York agency created "Impressions" and several other amusing spots for "It's Effie Season," a new campaign promoting the show while also calling out all manner of entry shenanigans.

"Sometimes agencies can go a bit overboard in their attempts to prove their work changed the world," Walrus CCO Deacon Webster tells Adweek. "This campaign aims to have a little bit of fun with that behavior. It's about as inside baseball as you can get. An accountant would have no clue what we're talking about here. But to anyone who's ever filled out an Effie entry, hopefully this will strike a chord of recognition and amusement."

Work runs across the award show's social and digital platforms and in its email marketing. The first Effie deadline is Oct. 11, and the final one is Nov. 9. So, get cracking on those submissions. Just remember, case-study videos driven by hyper-passionate voiceovers won't sway the judges:

That's voiceover pro Kevin Cummings, whose pipes just oooooze sincerity. "He was great at hitting that cheesy 'Our ad campaign changed the planet' type of tone that we were looking for," says Webster.

Next, a scribe slaves at her keyboard to embiggen a modest sales bump:

Yep, writers can twist words every which way until they say something that seems impressive, even when the actual facts and figures add up to bupkis. (That's why writing's the best paying job on earth!)

Finally, a timeless marketing trope gets bumped up a few point sizes:

Wha? Hey, dudes, you're supposed to make the Adweek logo bigger, not that other one! Ah well, the whole point is that such puffery falls flat when you're entering work for the Effies.

"It does seem that every year there are things like 'A billboard powered solely by hugs' that get a whole ton of industry accolades even though the outside world never sees them," says Webster. "Ultimately, the great thing about the Effies is they effectively weed all that noise out because results are a huge component of winning. So, sure, enter your hug-powered billboard—but a whole heck of a lot of people better have hugged it, and it better have demonstrably moved a lot of product if you want to win."


Client: Effie Worldwide Inc./North American Effie Awards

Agency: Walrus

Chief Creative Officer: Deacon Webster

Art Director: Evan Vosburgh

Head of Integrated Production: Valerie Hope

Production Company: Whiteboard Pictures

Producer: Jonathan Yaniv

Director: Jacob Sillman

First Assistant Director: Nadia Fedchin

Director of Photography: Christopher Parente

First Assistant Camera: Cameron Femino

Gaffer: Forest Erwin

Grip: Justin Chen

Sound Mixer: Chris Scott

Art Director: Cory Nicholas

Hair, Makeup: Lani Barry

Production Assistants: Liz Bendelac, Megan Brittan, Mark Stepanov

Casting: Whiteboard Pictures

Actors: Anthony Michael Lopez, Rikki-Lee Millbank, Marc Levasseur, Morné Vogel, Carmen Mendoza, Andrew Colford, Mike Holt

Voiceover Artist: Kevin Cummings

Voiceover Casting: Carrie Faverty, The Sound Lounge

Locations donated by: Red Fuse Communications; The Sound Lounge

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.