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What makes a ‘Marcomms’ award winner?

The licence should make the campaign greater than the sum of its parts, says Pink Key Consulting’s Richard Pink.

It’s coming up to that time of the year where nominations for the Licensing Awards are closing and, as always, there have been a goodly level of entries for the increasingly popular Best Licensed Marketing Communications Award.

For the uninitiated, this is the award that recognises the best use of a licence within a campaign for the promotion of another brand or service (including charities).

For example, Speedy Gonzales helps promote Virgin Broadband, Angry Birds does an on-pack promo for Fruitshoot or The Hungry Caterpillar helps raise money for Action for Children.

The award is judged by industry people; not just the licensing industry, but also specialists in marketing; so they are looking for a number of things that make the campaigns stand out.

It is important that the licence involved is used creatively (otherwise what’s the point?), but if all it does is look pretty then it won’t win.

Equally important is the campaign effectiveness – objectives are key whether they are raising money, driving engagement (which was the corner stone of last year’s The Gruffalo/Forestry Commission England campaign – pictured) or simply getting people to buy more things.

In all cases, the objectives must be measurable and the licence must be seen to have made a difference that otherwise couldn’t have been made.

The final piece of the criteria that makes a campaign a winner is the working relationship of the partners and the way the campaign is executed.

I really think these things go hand in hand – when a campaign works you can just tell its because the partners have understood each other and equal value has been put in on either side.

Look at the Shaun the Sheep Pom Pom parade with the Campaign for Wool from a couple of years ago if you want a great example of this.

Of course, the award is important – everyone should have great work celebrated but the most important thing about these campaigns is that they worked; money was raised, things were sold, engagement was… err… had, engaged or whatever engagement does – and in every single case the licence made the campaign greater than the sum of its parts.

The judges are gathering and once again are looking for a high level of quality entries this year – from what we’ve seen so far, they won’t be disappointed!

Richard Pink is md of Pink Key Consulting – an agency specialising in licensing and promotions. He can be contacted on

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