Time to turn that effectiveness case into the gold standard

Why not add aiming for an IPA Effectiveness Award to your New Year’s resolutions?

I’d encourage as many of you as possible to start 2024 by thinking about how you can turn all that hard work over the past couple of years into an IPA paper to garner the recognition and reward your stellar campaign no doubt deserves.

No sooner are we into a New Year, than the awards season is upon us. And this year it’s the big one – the much-coveted IPA Effectiveness Awards is back. The awards show that’s renowned as the gold standard for effectiveness globally.

And the good news is that if you’ve already written an entry for the Effies or another effectiveness awards show, you’re most likely already halfway there. Making it more manageable than perhaps you think to turn it into an IPA Effectiveness Awards entry by the 18 April deadline.

And today at Lucky Generals, we find ourselves contemplating how to turn Yorkshire Tea’s Grand Effie and Gold APG-winning paper into an IPA entry.

Two years ago, I was sitting exactly where you were (though admittedly halfway round the world in Canada). We had some effectiveness awards already under our belt for SickKids, Toronto’s hospital for sick children, and we believed we had a great story to tell for the IPA.

For those of you feeling as daunted as I did, I wanted to share my top tips for how to hit the ground running and make the most of the next 14 weeks to get it over the line.

Perhaps the first and most important thing to say is that there is still time.

Week-by-week plan and identify your crew

But where to start? It’s not rocket science, but I think you can’t go far wrong if you start by sketching out a week-by-week plan of how you’ll get there. It will not only keep you honest with where you need to be by when (including with the all-important client sign-offs), but it will also be a useful document to share with the broader team – from contributing authors to proof-readers to researchers to data analysts who will all help take your paper from good to great.

Identify your crew and get them on board early you’ll most likely need to enlist partner agencies whose help you may not have needed for other awards shows. Think broadly about who can help strengthen the paper and be generous with who you invite to contribute. Whilst it makes sense for one person to ultimately author the paper, it takes a village to win an IPA award.

Getting client buy-in early is key – I’ve always found it useful to enlist the help of a senior client to sponsor the paper. If they’re invested, they will corral and cajole the organisation to make sure you get the richness of data needed to win. Both times I wrote a SickKids paper, the clients helped set up stakeholder interviews with the wider team - this was critical to success as it really helped us get under the skin of the broader effects of the campaign and how it worked.

Once you have the ops side of things down, you can get started on shaping the paper.

Outlines and outcomes

Start by writing down the key beats of your story in bullet points outlining how you believe it has worked. Next, identify what data you’ve got and where the gaps are. I always hit up WARC and download some IPA-winning papers – they never fail to help spark some thoughts as to how you can strengthen your story. You’ll need more commercial data for an IPA paper such as margin, profit, etc and it’s always useful to make a bit of a wish list of the data you’re going to need so you can share it with the client in one hit.

Next make a list of every single outcome – both intended and unintended ones. List them all out – even the ones which feel more anecdotal. It all helps to contextualise the impact, adding richness and interest to make it a more memorable read. I remember writing about one of the unintended outcomes for our Sainsbury’s Christmas 2014 campaign was that many teachers up and down the country were using our TV ad as a learning resource for WW1 commemorations – a wonderful outcome, but something we had never foreseen or planned.

Now the groundwork is done, you’re ready to get writing. It doesn’t matter how messy it is to start with – just get it all down and out of your head. Then refine, refine, refine. Stay open and be prepared to kill your darlings because sometimes a new narrative will emerge as you blast through the drafts.

Cat Wiles, Chief Strategy Officer, Lucky Generals

This happened to me two weeks out from submission which was difficult as I was emotionally invested in the story I’d been crafting for months, but I bit the bullet and rewrote it. The result was way better, and the story just fell into place.

So why not add aiming for an IPA Effectiveness Award to your New Year’s resolutions? I promise you will get so much more out of it than that dodgy piece of exercise equipment you bought on a whim.

Register by 31 January 2024 for the opportunity to be paired with an Effectiveness Awards Mentor, to expertly guide you on your way.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 01 May 2024