Who Can Afford To Enter Award Shows In 2021?

Jonathan Butts
President and Executive Creative Director

The pandemic has been a financial and emotional kick in the bum for almost every company — especially ad agencies. So, shelling out a hefty chunk of cheddar to potentially win some shiny baubles is out of the question for most industry folks.

Unless you enter the International Caples Awards, which is now free.

I’ve judged a lot of different shows throughout the past 20+ years — Mobius, ADDYs, ECHOs, Creativity International — and Caples, which is by far one of my favorites.

Why, you ask? So far as I know, this is the only international show that’s run 100% by creative people, for creative people. It’s a volunteer effort that’s powered by highly recognized, influential creative leaders from around the world. And it’s a labor of love for everyone involved.

Some award shows are run as businesses to make money for people who wear suits. And they are expensive. Very expensive. Quite often, the winning work is sub-par (as in, please visit our trophy shop and fill your cart).

Because of its love for promoting great creative work, and due to the pandemic, which left many of us feeling like the entire advertising industry was put on pause, Caples decided to make the show free to enter, starting in 2020. And that decision carries forward.

Free doesn’t necessarily mean crap creative work.

I’ve judged Caples for several years, and last year the number of entries as well as the quality of work was up. Small, independent agencies submitted work and won, which was as pleasing for those of us on the jury panel as it was for the agencies. And it was quite satisfying to see stellar ideas from small shops that simply could not afford to enter in years past.

Naturally, we had to do all of our judging, chin wagging and debate over Zoom, which, as you can imagine, was a challenge with jurors gathering from around the globe, many times in the wee hours of the morning, some logging in from their coat closets (not kidding), and a lot of us with major bed-head. But it was fun. And we persevered. And the show went on, as it will again in 2021.

I’m proud to be judging the Caples in 2021. This year the esteemed throne of jury President will be filled by none other than Steve Aldridge, CCO of Wunderman Thompson London. And we’ll have judges from the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Germany, India, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the Philippines, the UAE and the UK.

There’s still time to get your entries in. For free.

The deadline for FREE entries is April 30, so go ahead and nab your Entry Kit with details of categories, rules, how to register and submit work, etc.

To enter work, start here.

And check out the winners from last year.

I hope to see loads of entries from smaller independent shops this year. So please, throw your best creative work to the wolves, I mean throw your hat in the ring, and we’ll see what rises to the top in London this May.