My visit to a UK handling house was a real eye-opener.
all the competition entries, after being delivered through
the mail, are stored in a safe place until the closing
date has passed. The number of entries received to each
competition are recorded and this information given
to the promoters.
Once the entries are opened, qualifiers, whether it
be a till receipt, box top or label, are checked and
all entries with the correct answers to the first part
of the task are placed on one side for the next stage.
A percentage of entries would have been disqualified,
due to some infringement of the rules, i.e. illegible
writing, omission of qualifying till receipts and incorrect
Where a tiebreaker slogan is involved, a percentage
of entries will be discarded at the preliminary judging
Reasons may be: the tiebreaker slogan exceeds
the allowed word limit, illegible entries, too many
slogans are very similar or the slogan isn't considered
good enough to reach the next stage.
two lists are drawn up. One containing the entrants
names and addresses, the other,
their tiebreaker slogans. A number is allocated
to each entrant so that when the winner is chosen, their
slogan can be matched up with their name and address.
The latter list containing only numbered tiebreaker
slogans being the one the judges will see.
judging panel may consist of a representative from the
manufacturer, the competition promoter or advertising
agency, handling house personnel and independent professional
people, perhaps totaling, three, five or seven.
judges are given the criteria for the tiebreaker, including
brief details of the product, the task and the word
limit. They then study their list of tiebreakers and
mark off any which they think are worthy of further
consideration. Once this has been completed and a list
of short-listed tiebreakers arrived at, they will discuss
collectively each tiebreaker, reading these out aloud,
to award an overall rating.
the close of the judging session, usually only a few
tiebreakers will stand out as exceptional and the judges
these in order of preference. The tiebreakers are then
married up with the corresponding names and the prize
can you, and I certainly couldn't, imagine what 40,000
slogans on a computer printout
Can you visualise 10,000 entry forms?
It's a real eye-opener!
competition promoter I spoke to, who handle their own
competitions in-house, told me they open the entries
as soon they arrive. They check for the inclusion of
qualifiers and correct answers to the first part of
the task, just as the handling house does, but instead
of storing the entries in a safe until after the closing
date, they undertake the preliminary judging on a daily
soon as they come across slogans they feel are eye-catching
and worthy of further consideration, these are stored
in a safe place. Then after the closing date, instead
of the mammoth task of checking thousands of entry forms
in one session, the preliminary judging has already
taken place. This company do not use computer printouts.
They simply bundle entry forms into piles of one hundred
each and every judge works through several bundles of
entry forms, placing each separate form into one of
two piles, i.e. for further consideration or rejection.
feel this is an excellent method of judging, which is
very fair to competitors, for each judge has two piles
of entry forms. He or she then passes their pile of
rejects to the next judge sitting on their right. The
procedure is repeated, until every judge has seen each
entry form. Only then, when the numbers of entries for
the final judging stage are fewer,
do they read them out loud, confer and decide
upon a winner. Sometimes, my contact told me, an exceptional
slogan is an outright winner. Other times the judges
may have to take a vote on two or three contenders for
first prize. I have nothing but admiration for judging
sessions like these.
observations are that, when your slogan is being read,
at whatever stage of the judging, whether on a computer
print out or on the entry form, it stands on its own
merit. Either the judge likes it or he / she doesn't.
It's as simple as that.
perfect illustration of this was when myself and another
well-known comper were on Granada TV to talk about the
launch of our new books and were asked to judge a phone-in
we were under pressure to come up with a winner in a
short time scale, obviously we didn't have time to spend
as long as we'd have liked to read the entries.
out to the phone-in room where several young ladies
were busily writing the entrants name, telephone number
and slogan onto separate pieces of paper, we were initially
handed a bundle of around 500 entries.
the scene. We held them between to read them. Sometimes
we both said `No' at the same time. Sometimes we said
`yes we like that' and that entry was put on our `further
consideration short list' pile. The fact is, and this
is an important point for you to take on board and remember
we devoted a maximum TWO SECONDS for each entry.
could tell, in that first `scanning of the slogan',
whether it grabbed our attention or not. Although we
put this entry on the shortlist pile with other hopefuls,
it was so brilliant and imaginative it was unanimously
declared our outright winner. We went back to the studio,
to announce our winner live on TV.
Copyright 2002 Lynne Suzanne www.win-with-lynne.co.uk
About the author
Lynne Suzanne is a freelance writer, consultant and
speaker. She has written four books on winning prize
competitions and slogan writing and presents Win With
Lynne Roadshows and marketing seminars. FREE Win With
Lynne Expert Guide to Winning competition prizes