CAANZ shakes up Media Awards

Yesterday marked the first call for entries for the 2012 CAANZ Media Awards, led by DDB’s Chris Hancock and Chris Schofield, with a theme that tongue-and-cheekily references the Mayan doomsday prophesy.

While we may wonder about the future of mankind, CAANZ has taken the opportunity to announce a host of changes to these and the other awards it runs.

CAANZ has been handing out agency of year prizes within the Media, Axis and Effie Awards for years, so, despite its need to remain relatively neutral, it often endorses the best in the business.

But it’s now decided to bring all these agency of the year awards under one banner through a new association with the Fairfax/AdMedia Agency of the Year.

And it’s already wielding the red pen, with the independent agency of the year category removed for 2012, something  chief executive Paul Head says came about because of feedback from the indie members that showed they wanted to be seen in the same light as the big networked agencies. In its place is specialist agency of the year.

CAANZ is also increasing the cost of entry for all its awards, with a small increase for CAANZ members and a “reasonable” rise for non-CAANZ members. Whether that price increase further dissuades smaller agencies from entering, particularly Axis, which aims to inspire more creativity across the whole industry, is something Head isn’t too concerned about. In fact, he makes no apologies for the rise because there are significant costs associated with hosting and judging these events that need to be covered.

“Most of our entries come from CAANZ members anyway … And a discount for entry is one of the benefits of membership,” he says.

As for the Media Awards, the most significant changes are that new categories have been added (including Best Launch, Best Communication Strategy and Client of the Year) and others deleted to bring the awards in line with industry practices, stay relevant to the rapidly evolving media business and more closely align with global awards and festivals like the well-regarded Festival of Media. CAANZ has also reduced the number of single media categories, with a view to phasing them out in 2013.

Head says the other big change is in the judging. While the discussions are continuing, he hopes to make it more “aspirational” to be a judge and tighter criteria means potential judges will be asked to apply for their roles or will need to be nominated by peers. CAANZ has also established a judging panel for the premium awards, to ensure greater consistency across the awards programme.

Entry forms have also been simplified and the word limit has been reduced in most categories.

This story originally appeared on StopPress.

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