Insights from the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards Judging

September 26, 2014

By Janine Martella, director of committees and conferences at ANA

We just wrapped up the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards judging with 17 ANA members from various industries including telecommunications, QSR, CPG, healthcare, financial services, and retail.

This year, a record 215 entries were submitted. Now in its 14th year, these awards recognize marketers and their agencies or media company for their outstanding work in advertising to consumers in the following categories: African-American, Asian, Hispanic, LGBT, and new to the awards this year, People with Disabilities.

During the judging, which took place over the course of two days at the ANA headquarters, judges reviewed more than 400 pieces of creative and discussed how relevant the materials were to the targeted segments and the creativity of the campaigns. Discussions ranged from how great the quality of the advertisements was to the stories being so real and inclusive of the targeted audiences.  

Here are some key takeaways I had from this experience:

Big budgets don’t always matter – We’ve all been there. Little to no funding  forces marketers to become even more creative. Surprisingly, some of the most inspiring and entertaining ads were also the most impactful and done on a shoe-string budget.

Total market is alive – But how well is anyone executing it? Brands are attempting to reach the total market in their advertising efforts, however none of them are standing out as a leader at reaching this audience quite yet. Marketers are still trying to find the “connective tissue” that is needed to bind multiple ethnicities under one ad.

People are People – Family is family. Love is love. The quality and sophistication of the ads for the LGBT category just keep getting better. Original music and how the impact of social media can blossom into some of the best feel-good marketing garnered a lot of respect for brands that standup for their target markets.

It’s about abilities – New to the awards judging this year was the People with Disabilities category. Real-life stories represented brands and products that stood behind what can be done. Commitment to community was a standout here too. Definitely the most emotional category that was judged. Inspiring would be an understatement here. Bring tissues to the awards ceremony.

I can’t wait to hear the reactions when we name the finalists! On November 10, we will announce the 2014 Multicultural Excellence Award grand prize winners in ten categories. If you want to see the best multicultural campaigns of the year, join us at the ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, November 9-11 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami, Fl. Register to attend or view the agenda online.

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