Entries for the 2020 Financial Mail AdFocus Awards are now open. If you have not started, now is the time to get going on your entry, as those for the AdFocus Media Awards close on August 24 2020 and those for the advertising awards on August 31 2020. 

To enter, register on the website, www.adfocus.co.za. Last year’s log-in details are invalid for 2020, so you need to register again; this is a security feature of the site.

You will be sent a username and password as well as a dropbox link. Log on to the site with the username and password and fill in the questionnaire(s) for the relevant award(s). Add the supporting documentation (BEE certificate) and creative material in the link provided.

The main awards are judged for the period July 2019 to June 2020 and the media awards for the period May 2019 to April 2020.  

You can enter only one of the category awards, but for as many special and individual awards as you like.  You can save your entry and go back to it to complete it or change it – including changing the category if you decide you have entered the incorrect one. However, after the closing date you will no longer have access to your entry. Once you submit your final entry you will receive a message confirming that you have done so. Please note that this message will be sent to the e-mail address you used when you registered. 

Critical to remember is that this is a business award, not a creative one, so the questionnaire is the most important element of the entry. While entrants are welcome to submit creative material into the dropbox in support of their entry, what the jury looks at first and foremost is the questionnaire. This means that doing the write-up correctly is important, advises former jury chair Phumi Mashigo. “If necessary, use the services of a copywriter. The 1,000-word motivation for the agency of the year award is arguably the most critical component of your entry, and one that every judge reads for the context of your submission.”

Rather than including absolutely every small detail in the hope that something will land, be selective about what you put in the body of the submission. “The trick here is to be as clear and straightforward as possible. Don’t overthink what you include,” advises Mashigo.

Don’t complicate the numbers unnecessarily. However, at the same time, make sure they add up: the judges read the numbers and debate them.

Be aware that the judges are industry players too and would likely be aware of news that may have an impact on the authenticity and credibility of submissions. It is important, therefore, to provide upfront clarity about reputational matters, as these tend to come up during the jury discussions, says Mashigo. The AdFocus judging process is highly vested in transparency and open discourse about the industry. The jury will call an agency if it has queries about any anomalies in a submission.

“The final judgment is an individual score, but the discussion plays a big part in formulating that score for the judges,” says Mashigo. “I have seen people be swayed by clever and committed arguments for or against particular submissions that were vague.”

2020 AdFocus jury chair Tumi Rabanye says: “If the robust nature of deliberations among the 2019 jury is anything to go by, 2020 is going to be exciting. Last year we saw a clear evolution beyond the traditional players. The quality of submissions was diverse, challenging the status quo, and demonstrative of continental reach. I’m looking forward to more of that in 2020. I see the next two years as a time of opportunity to showcase a robust, growing industry in spite of the challenges, not least of which is Covid-19.”

This year’s AdFocus Awards categories include:

  • Large Advertising Agency
  • Medium Advertising Agency
  • Small Advertising Agency
  • Independent Media Agency
  • Network Media Agency
  • Specialist Agency
  • Public Relations

Please note that only one category can be entered. Agency of the Year is selected by the Jury.

Special Awards include:

  • Student of the Year
  • Partnership of the Year
  • Transformation Awards
  • African Impact Awards
  • Agency Adaptability Award

Individual awards include:

  • Shapeshifter
  • Industry Leader
  • Lifetime Achievement Award 

For further information about the awards process contact Danette Capper (adfocus100@gmail.com) or call 082-494-4174. For advertising and sponsorship opportunities in the 2020 Financial Mail AdFocus publication please contact Cortney Hoyland (HoylandC@arena.africa) or Kay Naidoo (naidooka@arena.africa).

The questionnaire is the most important element of the AdFocus entry.

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