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Six weeks & counting…

As the drinks business awards 2005 entries begin to flood in we talk to sponsor and judge, James Murray, to get some useful hints for this year’s entrants

IT’S JUST six weeks until the the drinks business awards closes for entries and the number of products, people and companies involved has already more than doubled.

Having the inside track will help your entry beat the competition.  Here James Murray offers some pointers to help give your entry the polished look it needs in order to shine. 

the drinks business: What feedback did you get about the awards last year?

James Murray: Certainly the feedback I had was that the awards had set an impressive standard for the future and I am sure that you will see a lot more entries for 2005.

The awards are all about business excellence, which fits perfectly with what the London International Wine & Spirit Fair is all about and we are delighted to be involved at such an integral level.

d b : How did you rate the calibre of entrants in 2004?

JM: They were really first class and I was not only impressed with the content but also the amount of thought and preparation that had gone into them.  Particularly apparent was the mix of entries, and whether they were big budget campaigns or niche product launches with impactful off-the-wall strategies.

The judging sessions I was  involved in required concrete results and some of the achievements were exceptional. 

d b : What one drinks related consumer campaign do you remember from 2004 and do you think they should enter the awards 2005?

JM: I think it might be Pimms O’clock! Anything that makes me laugh tends to get my vote. What I liked about the Pimms campaign is not just the creative innovative TV advertising but everything that underpins it.

Whoever came up with the concept of producing barbecue briquettes with the Pimms logo on them deserves an extra sprig of mint… and should definitely consider filling out an entry form for the 2005 awards!

d b : Which of last year’s winners stand out for you and why?

JM: I thought that all the winners were well deserved.  The ones that particularly stand out are those that I have regular contact with.  It was a pleasure to present Wines of Chile UK with their award for Best Trade Campaign.

I have had various dealings with the team since and the UK office was opened and it was a pleasing to see their hard work reap results.  Pamela Gregory winning On-Trade Business Person also highlighted her depth of experience and industry knowledge and I am delighted that Pamela has recently joined our International Advisory Board.

d b : As a judge for last year, what advice would you give to entrants in 2005 and what single thing made entries stand out from the rest?

JM: Entering awards is hard work and not something that can be done over a lunch break – but it’s worth it! I think that the overall presentation of the entry makes a real impression and, whilst it doesn’t tick all the boxes, it does give me a positive feel for what is to come.

Think long and hard about the entry brief and keep everything relevant. A lot of the entries require some evidence of genuine results and to me this is key.  You can have the most strategic objective, adhere to budget, innovate and prove delivery but the judges need to be able to quantify the positive impact for the product or business.

If you have got the facts that show true business excellence then you are well on the way to becoming an award winner in 2005.


Responsible Drinking Message Award 2004 Best PR Campaign 2004 Best Customer Service 2004 Award for Business Excellence 2004

Full details of all the award categories are listed on

How to enter

To enter the awards simply complete an entry form and return it to us before Friday 18 March, 2005.  You can download an entry form at

Or, for advice and information on how to prepare your entry to the awards, simply email:

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