It’s All in the Planning

NEW YORK As an industry we are not very good at monetizing the ideas we bring to the world or even celebrating their impact. Without great ideas, our business is just pretty pictures and/or questionable results. To this end, the American Association of Advertising Agencies inherited the Jay Chiat Planning Awards five years ago and, with the help of myself and co-chair Murray Hardie, director of planning at Fallon, re-vamped the evaluation criteria to be less about effectiveness and more about the quality of the thinking.

The assessment criteria for “brilliant strategic thinking” takes place in two stages: Firstly by planning directors from agencies both in the U.S. and globally; secondly by leaders of the industry as a whole—agency heads, creative directors, clients and influencers. The judges are selected to reflect both the geographic and the diverse philosophical spread of agencies that make up our industry.

This year’s Jay Chiat Planning Awards program introduced a new International category, with a judging panel pulled from the best and the brightest planning directors around the world. This is the first time the Jay Chiat Awards has accepted entries for any creative work that has run anywhere in the world.

The final judging panel met at the 4A’s offices in New York and included an incredible selection of well-known names in the industry. Despite some disagreements, there was total agreement on honoring only great thinking that was apparent in the creative work.

“A brilliant strategy isn’t brilliant unless it drives famous advertising,” says Brad Jakeman, executive vp of creative strategy at Macy’s and the only client on the final judging panel.

The winners will be officially announced today at 4A’s planning conference in San Diego, where the three gold winners will have the opportunity to present their cases to win the Grand Prix. Of the 100-plus entries there are only 10 trophy winners and 12 honorable mentions. The winner for the Grand Prix will be decided by the 4A’s planning committee at the conference.
—William Charnock, co-chair, Jay Chiat Plannng Awards and co-head of strategic planning at JWT