Just three weeks and counting…
The drinks business awards 2005 entries are arriving en masse, but making your entry stand out can be a challenge in itself. Michael Cox of Wines of Chile UK, and a 2005 sponsor and judge, offers some wise words to help
AS THE deadline approaches, preparing an awards entry can become a highly pressurised task. Keeping a cool head can make a big difference but so can a little insight from one of last year’s judges.
We asked Michael Cox to give his feedback on the awards and discuss what makes an entry a winning one.
the drinks business: What feedback did you get about the awards last year? : What feedback did you get about the awards last year?
Michael Cox: Recognition of success in this competitive environment is important and, as many awards in the wine trade are for wines or wineries, the inaugural drinks business awards were very welcome.
While not quite emulating Hollywood’s Oscar ceremony, there was an air of eager anticipation and excitement at ExCel last May when the awards results were announced, and everyone always likes a winner! I am sure the awards will grow in stature and become a benchmark for excellence in the future.
Actually, news of the awards went down very well in Chile – in fact it was in Chile’s leading national newspaper and on national TV!
db: How did you rate the calibre of entrants in 2004? : How did you rate the calibre of entrants in 2004?
MC: There were clearly some very strong candidates in all categories, but : There were clearly some very strong candidates in all categories, but given that 2004 was the first one, the standard is bound to improve and competition will be fierce.
In my experience, the wine trade often tends to hide its lights under bushels, seemingly nervous about marketing techniques. However, wine is the most dynamic and fastest growing category in the drinks industry, and the opportunities to excite and inform the wine consumer are growing.
db: What one drinks-related consumer campaign do you remember from 2004 and do you think they should enter the awards in 2005?
MC: To be honest, there are precious few wine brands that really are taking advantage of the growth in popularity of wine consumption by creating and running truly effective consumer campaigns.
Most seem hell-bent on fuelling the depressing trend to discount. Discounting is a fairly blunt instrument in the marketing mix. More than ever before, wine is being made with more creativity and flair, so let’s see more innovation in the marketing departments.
I am sure the 2005 judges will seek to reward those that show focus and the ability to target their consumers carefully – it’s not the size of the budget that’s important, it’s what you do with it.
A raw but sensitive Mike Leigh film, made on a shoe-string, can often have more impact than a Hollywood blockbuster!
db: Which of last year’s winners stand out for you and why?
MC: Let me think about that for a nanosecond! The Wines of Chile UK team were thrilled with their award for Best Trade Campaign – it gave a big boost of confidence to all those involved in the Chilean wine industry.
Apart from our own gong, I was particularly pleased for Patrick McGrath MW. He is an outstanding role model for anyone aspiring to succeed in this unique trade. Additionally, it was good to see an award for a logistics company.
Ensuring the product gets from its source to its point of sale in the right manner is vital, and the freight-forwarding and shipping experts like FFG Hillebrand are key links in the chain.
db: 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?
MC: Make sure your entries are concise and to the point – sell yourself. Successful campaigns, influential people, good designs, they all tend to have one thing in common – focus.
The ability to have clear strategies and to stay focused is imperative in a competitive market.
**NEW AWARDS FOR 2005**
Responsible Drinking Message
Award Best PR Campaign
Best Customer Service
Award for Business Excellence
Full details of all the award categories are listed on www.thedrinksbusiness.com