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Meet our Brave Awards chair of judges 2019, Diageo's Syl Saller

For the second year in a row, Society president, Diageo's CMO Syl Saller, is judging our awards. Formerly the Excellence Awards and relaunched as the Brave Awards in 2019, these awards have set the standard for marketing excellence in the UK since 1985. We caught up with Syl to find out what it takes to win and her advice to those entering.

You’re back as Chair of our awards for the second year in a row. What is it about The Marketing Society awards that made you want to return as head of our judging panel?
I love The Marketing Society Awards, because every year they get me up to date on marketing excellence right across our industry.  It is a privilege to be part of the panel of top marketers who decide the winners. Because the judging is rigorous, the debate among the judges is always fascinating. Last year for the first time I had the slightly scary honour of chairing this high-octane group, and I am honoured to have been asked back. I am also looking forward to seeing the entries to our first ever Brave Awards.

Now that they are called the Marketing Society Brave Awards, do agencies and clients have to do anything differently in order to win?
This year’s “Brave Awards” have brought the Society’s long-established Excellence Awards in line with the Society’s mission of inspiring bolder marketing leaders. We will be particularly looking for campaigns which have demonstrated bravery and case histories that will serve as an inspiration to other marketers to be brave.       

The Marketing Society team has reviewed the whole Awards process and improved it further by reducing the number of categories and making the criteria for judging each one clearer. We are still looking for the evidence of success, but we will be assessing this in relation to the challenge that was faced at the outset as well as how much other marketers can be learn from the story you tell us. For the first time, we have specified how many marks will be awarded against each of the judging criteria, so I would encourage you to look carefully at these as you prepare your entries.      

With a completely new set of categories for 2019, any tips or advice for marketers on how they choose which to enter?
Be Brave! Do look at every category and study the criteria carefully and ask yourself how well you can satisfy those criteria. Don’t be put off because your marketing resources were quite modest, or you feel that other more famous brands will also be competing. This is a competition where David can quite often beat Goliath! We like challenger brands and brands that have taken risks and demonstrated real marketing bravery that we can all learn from. Learning and sharing is at the heart of the Society’s mission.


For more information on the categories, how to enter and to see our line-up of judges, visit Brave Awards website.
Deadline for entries is 15 February 2019.