APG Strategy Awards

APG Strategy Awards 2016 Entries



Dates for APG Strategy Awards have not yet been confirmed.
To register interest, please click here

About the Strategy Awards

Welcome to the APG Strategy Awards – a search for brilliantly influential strategic thinking.

These awards showcase the best of our planning community and provide you with a unique opportunity to demonstrate your strategic thinking. This year the awards have been updated to reflect the wider remit of modern planning, and the different types of planning across a range of agencies, from creative, to media, to digital, PR and beyond. This will be judged in newly created categories to ensure that like is judged with like. Awards will be allocated for Gold, Silver and Bronze, with a best in show Grand Prix awarded for overall excellence. Our judges are looking for evidence of how your strategy or strategic input has had a significant influence in terms of solving the challenge.

A series of special prizes is also available for entrants to showcase areas of specific focus. Use the entry details following to guide you through preparation of your papers.

APG Australia

Why we have these Awards

To reward influential thinking that demonstrates the value of strategy.

What the Judges are looking for

The awards recognise thinking that has provided a strategic solution to a real business, brand, marketing  or communications challenge. Judges will be looking at the difficulty of challenge, the nature and quality of your strategic input, the influence that strategic thinking had and lastly, whether there is anything new that planning can learn from this. In all cases, the thinking should be robust, intelligent and above all influential. In 1200 words, your submission will show the judges, how your strategy was developed and the influence it had throughout the evolution of the idea/ solution.

Winning submissions are those that best demonstrate how the strategy influenced and therefore maximised the opportunities for the brand, product or client.

Considerations for structuring your paper

  • What was the client challenge? Why was this hard to solve?
  • What was your strategy, how was it developed? What did you have to solve/overcome to get to it?
  • Identify the strengths of the strategic thinking
  • What influence did this thinking have? On who, what, when? Why was this significant? 
  • What lessons can we learn to enhance the planning process?
  • What insights or data helped you get there?



Entering a Case Study

Case studies may be entered on behalf of corporate, government or charitable organisations. Papers may be submitted by an individual or more than one person.

All papers are judged on individual merits, within the relevant category. The judging panel will determine the allocation of awards based on the calibre of all entries, with an overall Grand Prix awarded.

2016 Entry Fees

Membership Type Category Entry Special Prize Entry
Member* $750 $330
Non-Member $1100 $550

*corporate and individual APG members. Price is per entry. All prices include GST.



Choose a Category (2016)

Please choose which category or categories you wish to enter (you may enter more than one). Each category is judged separately and incurs an entry free. Please orient your paper to the appropriate category it is entered in.

  • Business Planning (i.e. how strategic thinking helped a business to grow/overcome barriers using marketing levers other than communications - e.g. pricing, distribution, product etc.)
  • Brand and / or Creative Planning (inc. brand strategy and/or creative & campaign planning across any channel)
  • Connections Planning (inc. channel, context etc.)
  • Responsive Planning (inc. real time, reactive, optimization)

Special Prizes

If you believe your entry demonstrates excellence in a specific element of planning, you can increase your trophy pool by nominating your entry for any, or all, of these special prizes (only shortlisted case studies will be eligible to win):

  • Best insight or input                                               
    This could be consumer, strategic, competitive or social insights or non-insight specific input (eg. redefinition of the problem or audience) that has contributed significantly to the influence your strategy has had.
  • Best Use of Data                                                   
    Using data / statistics in order to derive more influential strategy.
  • Best approach to research                                           
    New methodologies or use of research to inform/inspire influential strategies
  • Best strategic collaboration                                       
    Successful collaboration with other agencies/parties to develop a an influential strategy (or complementary strategies) together.

Judges Awards

In addition to the special prizes, judges may award the following, depending on the calibre of entries submitted. Entrants are encouraged to prepare papers with these prizes in mind, however you are unable to nominate your entry for consideration in these prizes. These prizes will be based on stage 2 judging.

  • Best written paper
  • Best presentation
  • Best ‘against the odds’                                            
    (reflecting the role that planning can play in turning unpromising starts or set-backs into triumph)



Please ensure you comply with the rules set out below, entries may be disqualified if they do not meet these requirements. And that would be time and energy you won’t get back.

  1. APG and corporate members of the Communications Council are entitled to member prices. To join APG, click here for more information
  2. The written entry must not exceed 1200 words (excluding titles, charts, appendices). Please state your word count on the cover of your entry
  3. Whilst you may include other evidence in addition to the creative work, such as video clips, a written paper is mandatory. Ensure that your written paper includes appropriate references to all creative work and/or output/activity.
  4. You must have appropriate approvals from your company’s senior management and from your client. 
  5. A planner who has left an agency may write a paper under their own name on behalf of that agency, subject to agency and client approval.
  6. An agency may submit a paper if the client has since left the agency, provided they have approval and sign-off from that client.
  7. An agency may submit a paper if the planner who did the thinking has left, provided that the planner is credited.
  8. All entries must indicate Author of Strategy and Author of Paper, even in instances where this is the same person.
  9. For winning papers, the Award trophy will be presented to the principal author of the strategy. Co-authors and contributing thinkers will be credited and will have the option of purchasing further Award trophies.
  10. All entries must be received by 5pm Wednesday 28 September 2016. One entry form per case study.
  11. The fees are outlined in the entry form, they must be paid in full by the invoice due date.
  12. Special prizes are awarded at the judge’s discretion to those papers that have been shortlisted.
  13. You must nominate and pay for a special prize in order to be considered for a prize.
  14. There will be no refunds for disqualified entries or withdrawals after the closing date.
  15. The creative work must have run in Australia and/or New Zealand between 1 October 2014 & 15 September 2016.
  16. Written papers must be supplied as a PDF file. Word limit = 1200.
  17. All images must be supplied as separate hi res files.
  18. Creation of campaigns should be in line with all relevant industry codes and regulations, including The Communications Council Code of Ethics.
  19. World copyright of all entries passes to the APG Australia and all winning and shortlisted entries may be published on the WARC & Communications Council websites as well as trade publications.
  20. The APG reserves the right to exclude any entries that do not meet with these rules and technical guidelines.
  21. APG reserves the right to not award a prize where deemed not appropriate.


Know your judge

To write a winning paper, you’ll need to know what the judges are looking for. Keep in mind your paper will be one of many so make your big ideas and clever insights leap off the page.

Quite simply, make them wish they’d thought of it themselves.

How judging works

Papers are judged in two stages. Stage 1 papers are judged by Senior Planners and Planning Directors from creative, media, digital and PR agencies. Entrants who are shortlisted are then asked to present at Stage 2 judging in person, to a panel of Judges. Shortlisted candidates will be advised of the presentation expectations and requirements once announced. If you are successfully shortlisted, this is your chance to bring your ideas to life and convince the judges of your unfailing belief in the power of planning! Criteria:

  • How difficult was the challenge?
  • What was the process and evidence of strategic thinking around the issue that led to the strategic solution?
  • How strategically intelligent and original is the strategic solution
  • How influential was the thinking? (How well does it deliver on the issue? What difference did it make?)
  • What can planning learn from this?

Special Prize Criteria:

Best insight or input

  • Was the insight or input valuable and unique?
  • What did this influence and to what degree?

Best use of data

  • Was the approach unique, interesting, relevant?
  • What did this influence and to what degree?

Best approach to research

  • Was the approach unique, interesting, relevant?
  • Did the approach lead to influential insights?

Best strategic collaboration

  • Who were the collaborators? What roles/rules of engagement? 
  • Did collaboration create a more influential strategy?

Judges Prizes

You are not required to nominate for these prizes but knowing what the judges are looking for will help guide you, as you prepare your paper.

  • Best written paper
    Crafting a well-written paper is an essential planning skill. Make the story compelling; be clear, concise and interesting.
  • Best presentation
    The presentation is an opportunity to tell the story behind the strategy. Harness your enthusiasm and belief in the strength of the strategy to convince the judges.
  • Best ‘against the odds’
    Planning can play an instrumental role in turning unpromising starts/briefs or set backs along the way, into triumph. This award will be given for the case that best demonstrates an unlikely success that has been created/ influenced by a strategic input. 

Start writing

Don’t leave it too late to start. You will need client and management sign off and final preparations always take longer than you think. Start now and get your ideas together. The best papers read like a story with a clear purpose, engaging narrative and concise conclusions.

  • Start the process by taking a look at other awards you and your agency may have entered – Effies is a good place to start.
  • Talk to your clients, they should be involved and securing their input will help demonstrate the value of planning for their business.
  • Ask your colleagues and other agency partners. If the thinking was the result of agency collaboration, then let’s see it!
  • Read other papers – in addition to the Australian papers, APG UK is a great source of excellent planning papers.


2016 APG Strategy Awards

2 December, 2016

Three Golds awarded at re-vamped 2016 APG Strategy Awards held last night

Three Gold awards were presented at last night’s ceremony in Sydney, recognising: Angela Morris from J.Walter Thompson Sydney for NSW Rural Fire Service; Ali Tilling, Hugh Munro and Christina Aventi from BMF for ALDI Australia and Matt Furlong from UM for the Art Gallery of NSW.

This year the awards were overhauled to reflect the many roles of the modern strategist and the value of their strategic influence. This saw new categories created to recognise business, connections and responsive planning in addition to brand and campaign planning. The shortlist of 23 included cases in all four categories...

Full Media Release | Winners List | Photos

2016 APG Strategy Awards Finalists

Finalists for this years APG Strategy Awards have now been announced.
A full list of finalists can be viewed online here.

2014 APG Strategy Awards

2012 APG Strategy Awards


Contact the APG at hello@communicationscouncil.org.au