How To Win An Effie – Adrian Chiuhan


EFFIE is the most significant award in our industry because it honors the one truly important achievement in advertising: Results. It is the award presented annually by the New York American Marketing Association in recognition of the year’s most effective advertising campaigns – campaigns that have delivered superior results in meeting or exceeding the objectives they were designed to achieve. EFFIE is a national award spread internationally and it has been organized since 1968.

But what are the keys to winning an EFFIE? Some of the specialists in the market answered for Today, Adrian Chiuhan, brand & communication strategist. What are the most important to dos when being part of the Effie Jury?

Being a juror at Effie is an exciting experience for anyone who has a role in a marketing department or working in an agency (research, pr, advertising, online, event etc) and an honor to be chosen to judge the most efficient campaigns made by your industry colleagues.

What you have to do is try to accommodate with all the requirements from understanding the categories, the scoring system to acknowledging the short judging time during the process. But there are some Do’s which makes you a better juror and which are preparing you for make the best out of this opportunity: What are the Do’s?


Do read cases before judging at Effie – it prepares you understand the “4 different parts” of a case, it also gives you an overview on how to judge special categories.

Do avoid to be biased / avoid prejudices – we all know a lot of information about a client / brand / campaign and we should avoid our prejudices when judging a case > judge what is written in the case and based on what it is presented to you.

Do ask questions and clarify your understanding when debating over the case with your jury colleagues.

Do re-analyse your own understanding over a case (question yourself) and change the marks accordingly if it’s the case.

Talk and debate – it’s healthy, don’t be shy – you were selected to be part of the jury based on your experience and on the fact that your judgement is valuable for improving the entire process. How has your experience helped you?

My experience as an active participant in the Effie awards by writing and submitting efficiency cases during the years, prepared me to rapidly understand a case, ask myself relevant questions, helped me read between the lines (some cases are missing clarity) and judge correctly everything is written in a case.

The biggest mistake is judging based on what you know about the campaign and not judging based on the written case.

Your experience also helps you make a link between different parts of a case – following the red line and understand how the communication helped the brand – after all Effie is about the communication efficiency in the process of building brands.

Being part of several Effie juries you realize how to calibrate yourself in order to be a good juror – from appreciating the skills of the writer to appreciating the beauty of an insight, a strong strategy based on that insight and the outstanding creative which makes a real difference for the brand.

Judging the 4 different part of a case calls for 4 different mindsets – The challenge is not about the context, but about how courageous and clear-minded a client can be, how much a brand pushes the limits against all odds. The insight and a target description – is about the real people we are talking to, is about what we found out and how we can use that information, is about the strategic thinking and the creative mind of a planner, The creative idea and implementation helps you understand the leap the creatives made and how well they manage to solve the business problem under a creative form, The results are the effect you measured, the efficiency of the communication, the measure of how well you have chosen the objectives. What are the main don’ts?

Don’t skip parts of a case – the time is short, ask for few more seconds – a well written case is clear and responds to a lot of questions you may have.

Don’t judge a case against the other – a case/campaign should be judge based on its own objective, and not against the competition.

Don’t be hater – be critical, it’s different. How should one prepare for the judging days?

Read cases, read Grand Effies, read about judging criteria, read about campaigns and different categories.

Read special category cases – understand how to judge special categories.

Read the category description, ask other jurors’ opinion about those.

If you are in advertising, than your know a lot of different realities of several categories, be prepared to understand data & digital measurements (unfortunately not every case offers category benchmarks).