The Caples Awards 2018

The Caples Awards were founded in 1978 by the formidable Andi Emerson, a BBDO copywriter who wanted to recognise and reward creativity in direct marketing.

Issue 48 | September 2018

The show was named after the legendary John Caples, copywriter, former creative director of BBDO and author of "Tested Advertising Methods" and "Making Ads Pay".
After Emerson died in 2008, The Caples began gently to run out of steam.

But in late 2017, Caples trustee Duncan Gray persuaded Directory to take on The Caples and run the show out of London.

Not a great time to get into the awards business.
Firstly, there has been a backlash against awards shows, inspired in part by Publicis's decision to pull out of all awards for a year.
Secondly, growing protest at the vast sums of money agencies are required to pay in order to get recognition and respect. Thirdly, a feeling that only pro-bono and charitable campaigns ever win. For instance, at Cannes Lions 2017, out of 27 Grands Prix only three had a clear commercial purpose.

Undaunted, the Directory team set about relaunching The Caples – as an awards show that fist-pumps and high-fives ideas that actually sell stuff. Shock horror.
That said, where other Direct Marketing awards are principally about results, The Caples is about ideas, in the fervent belief that more engaging ideas are more effective ideas.

Run by creative people for creative people, the mission of the new team is to reduce costs for beleaguered creative directors. To that end, the number of categories agencies can enter has been halved. So, it is impossible for a campaign to be entered more than three or four times.

The international jury, admirably led by Emma de la Fosse, CCO of the Ogilvy Group UK, were instructed to get behind "work that works".
They awarded 17 Golds, 20 Silvers and 68 Bronzes in total.

They were unanimous in honouring CHE Proximity's "Auto Ads" for as Best in Show.
As well as Golds in Branded Content and Integrated for "Auto Ads", CHE Proximity also won Gold with "Inconvenience Stores" for Swann Insurance, with Cochlear "Hearprint" and with Velocity's "Billion Points Giveaway". By some distance, CHE Proximity Australia was the Agency of the Year.

The Caples is very different to other awards shows in that it does not have a big, money-making gala dinner. The way it works is the jury deliberate for two days then come together on the third day to announce the winners. So, the dinner is very much about them, the jurors, a thank you for judging, as well as a sort-of press conference at which they reveal the winners.

And what better venue to host the jury and the awards celebration than an old London pub? Great Guns Social is a traditional boozer modernised by Laura Gregory, legendary CEO of the film production company Great Guns. The kitchen specialises in fine cuisine with a series of guest chefs each given a month's residency.

The jury worked upstairs during the day and came down to the bar in the evening.

It seemed to work.

It's fair to say that The Caples Awards 2018 were organised in a hurry. By a team who had never run an awards event before. In a time of agency cut-backs. And yet there were exactly the same number of entries as 2017, despite fewer categories to enter. More agencies entered than in 2017. And the overall standard of the work was high.

Looking ahead to 2019, final deadline for entries is April 26th 2019. Judging is on Tuesday May 7th and Wednesday May 8th and the celebration dinner on Thursday May 9th 2019.
Do remember that any campaign that gets showcased in Directory is eligible for a £50 discount when entered and any agency that subscribes to the magazine gets £50 off every entry.

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