Chris Cardetti of BARKLEY on Why Brands Need to Create Tangible Actions | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Chris Cardetti of BARKLEY on Why Brands Need to Create Tangible Actions


What will it take to have your work make it to the winners' circle? ANA's Judges' Journals features a series of Q&A sessions with leading industry executives participating on 2024 ANA Award juries. Gain insight from the judges on what they will be looking for and what makes the difference between a good versus award worthy submission.

Chris Cardetti, chief strategy officer at BARKLEY is participating in ANA's 2024 ANA Award juries, specifically as a REGGIE Awards judge. Denise McDevitt, SVP of award programs at ANA, spoke with Chris to discuss what the judges will be looking for and what makes the difference between a good versus exceptional submission.

Every entrant wants to know what it will take to win a REGGIE Award. What campaign components will you be looking for this year to distinguish good versus exceptional?

Good cases are clear. They're logical, with comprehensive campaigns that deliver results. Exceptional cases take leaps - strategically, creatively. A leap that jumps off the page while judging. Something that is new and surprising and has layers that keep opening up as you tell your story. It makes you jealous as you're reading it that you didn't uncover that insight or idea. Exceptional cases will start and end with data. Core, foundational data. And big results. But in the middle, that's where they leap.

When I'm talking with entrants, I encourage them to provide a bit of education on the industry sector, competitive landscape, trends in the product space, etc. What situation elements do you feel to be essential to be included in a case study submission?

Start completely fresh. Assume zero knowledge. How tightly can you capture the dynamics of your category and where your brand sits within it in a few sentences? What data points are fundamental to the category? Don't be afraid to create drama or high stakes. Most category dynamics are tough. Don't shy away from them, especially if you cut through those dynamics in this campaign. And tell us why your objectives matter, what they'll do for the business if achieved.

In the submission form, we ask REGGIE entrants to impress and excite us with the "ah-ha" solution they developed. What elements are you expecting the entrant to share in this section? What are you hoping to learn regarding the creation of a team's big idea?

No fluff. No jargon. What's the big idea in only a few words? How is it an idea that lives above a channel or format? Then, dive in. Beginning, middle, and end. How did it roll out and surprise people? What did it ask of the consumer in creative, innovative ways? How did it change or break the rules of culture or the category? Why did you choose the channels you did? What channels did you sacrifice?

An effective performance evaluation framework is critical to show the value of a marketing campaign. What type of evaluation framework do you use when assessing brand activation marketing efforts? What metrics and KPIs will you expect entrants to provide in their REGGIE submissions?

The KPIs and metrics are up to the entrant. What we expect is that these KPIs and metrics are borne of the category situation they set up and are metrics that will undeniably move the needle on the business. We look for isolation. How can this metric be isolated so that the main thing driving it was the idea or campaign? How tightly can they attribute the work to the results?

It's always striking to see tangible actions that consumers have taken based on the campaign. And it's not always just the purchase. Perception and funnel metrics are important, but when an entry layers in something tangible, physical, real-world they spurred a great deal of consumers to act upon, that wins.

The REGGIEs celebrate creative, innovative, impactful brand activation marketing that delivered growth. The results section of the case study submission is critical – as a judge, what does a submission need to provide in this section to stand out from other entries?

What always stands out to me are a combination of immediate results (think "In just two days, the campaign XX..."), clearly outpacing competitors (think "In a quarter where the category was down XX percent points), and seismic business change that is bound to change the course of business (think "This campaign moved market share, or turned around a six-quarter decline, etc.).

Risk taking and effectiveness, sometimes friends, sometimes foes. How have you handled the balance in your marketing efforts, and how will you weigh these elements in your judging of the REGGIE submissions?

If the challenge requires it, take the risk. It has be founded and informed by data. But if the category and brand situation is dire enough, risks are needed. Creativity and innovation and leaps are what great marketing can deliver to the business world when needed. Risk for cool sake is less meaningful as a judge, but risk when the situation requires it, risk-taking can be very powerful.

My last question: If you could offer just one key suggestion, one request in your role as a REGGIE awards judge to teams preparing their entries, what would it be? How would you complete this sentence: "If nothing else, be sure your submission ______________________."

If nothing else, be sure your submission has voice, drama, and undeniable results.

The ANA REGGIE Awards celebrates the most innovative, impactful, and groundbreaking brand activation campaigns of the year.

The final deadline to submit work into the 2024 REGGIE Awards program is January 26, 2024.
Awards will be presented to top agencies and brands for the best brand activation marketing campaigns of 2023 across 27 different categories. The event culminates with some special segments, including the awarding of the ANA SeeHer REGGIE GEM Award and the SUPER REGGIE Award announcement, honoring the overall best campaign of 2023 chosen from the gold category winners.

The REGGIE Awards Celebration will take place on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 in Carlsbad, CA, on the second evening of the 2024 ANA Brand Masters Conference.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Denise McDevitt is SVP of award programs at ANA.