https://design102.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/09/the-digital-communications-awards-results-are-in/

The Digital Communications Awards results are in. But did we win?

Evening exterior view of the cinema where the 2019 Digital Communications Awards ceremony was held in Berlin, Germany. A white clapperboard above the entrance doors is lit by pink spotlights and is divided into three sections. The centre section has letters spelling out the words Digital Communications Awards 2019. The sections either side display letters spelling out the words Mission and Success, relating to the outer space theme of the 2019 awards. Various people are standing outside the building talking.The Digital Communications Awards celebrate brands, campaigns and innovations that are leading the way in online communications across the world.

Shortlisted in the top 5

We entered our ‘Journey to GCHQ’ campaign into the Recruiting and Employer Branding category, against an incredible 6,000 other applicants. When we found out we were amongst the top 5 shortlisted for the award we were ecstatic. We also knew the competition was strong!

As part of the awards consideration process, we had to present a live pitch in front of a judging panel made up of well-known communications experts. The jury meeting was to take place in Berlin, Germany but thankfully, all projects were to be presented in English.

We began preparing straight away. We established a rough framework for the presentation. We realised almost immediately that explaining the project from concept to delivery in just 8 minutes posed a real challenge! It took a collaborative team effort to refine our pitch into a professional yet fun presentation that comprehensively showed off the campaign.

Nervously presenting our pitch in Berlin

On the day of the jury meeting, we spent the morning studiously rehearsing. We then headed to the Quadriga Forum to look up our presentation time. This year, the awards had an ‘outer space’ theme so the venue was decorated with all things ‘out of this world’. We sat there and waited for about an hour, nervously clock-watching and eating sherbet flying saucers.

Three images stacked together. In the portrait image on the left, a poster sits on an easel. The poster has the Digital Communications Awards logo in the top left corner and the words Ready For Take Off in front a red and black hued image of swirling star clusters in the cosmos. The top right image features the Digital Communications Awards logo in the bottom left corner, the word Jury Meetings 08:30-17:55 hours in the top left and an image of the planet Saturn in white against a black background. The word Saturn is written horizontal and in white alongside the planet image. The bottom right image is white bowl containing a selection blue, green, pink, yellow and white flying saucer sherbet sweets.

Finally, the anticipation was over and it was time to present our project in the Saturn room: a small room already occupied by the 5 main judges and a few other people. We were given 2 minutes to set up. Stopwatch set, we hurriedly tested our kit but try as we might, we couldn’t get the sound on our videos to work within the time!

We began the presentation a little flustered but managed to remember our lines and present the creative thinking behind our campaign designs. Despite our worries, the sound for the videos did eventually work!

When our 8 minutes to present were up, we had 5 minutes of questions from the judges. It was difficult to tell what the judges really thought. Some seemed interested in how we measured success while others exhibited some well-practised poker faces. We left the presentation with no idea if they’d love our campaign as much as we do.

And the winner is ...

The awards ceremony took place that same evening. The venue was a glitzy cinema, transformed for the awards. Agencies from across the globe were in attendance, all waiting eagerly to find out if they had won.

The stage at the Digital Communications Awards 2019 backed by a giant screen listing the 5 shortlisted entrants for the Recruiting and Employer Branding category. The entrants shown are Next Big Thing, Reif, GCHQ Journey into the Known, Search for Engineer’s Digital Intelligence, and From Broken Heart to Dreamboat Job. Two women stand at a podium in front of the screen ready to announce the category winner.

At the awards ceremony, we were already so happy to have been selected for the top 5 shortlist that we already felt like winners. But the best was yet to come. We were relaxed, enjoying the show, when suddenly we heard our names being called. Almost completely overwhelmed, we made our way to the stage to collect our award: a prestigious win for Design102!

Holding the red triangular trophy as the award winners of the Digital Communications Awards 2019 Recruiting and Employer Branding category, Design102 team members Craig Ewing-Wilson - wearing a grey suit, and Tanya Hutnik - wearing a green sleeveless polka dot dress, stand in front of the media board listing the event logos. The logos for Digital Communications Awards and Quadriga University of Applied Sciences alternate left to right and top to bottom on the black background.

After the awards ceremony, we took advantage of the opportunity to speak to some of the judges. Their feedback was touching: they understood how our designs had helped to positively impact people’s lives and were really impressed that we had developed an effective way of promoting diversity and getting young people interested in technology without being too overt.

The campaign was fun and unique but most importantly it was awesome to collaborate with GCHQ and the team on a project that is really making a difference, pushing society in a positive direction.

If you want to read more about our award-winning campaign, see the full Journey to GCHQ case study on our website or read about our process in our previous blog post Journey to GCHQ: How we designed a new GCHQ recruitment campaign.

If you’d like to know more about Design102 or you’ve got a project we can help with, just drop us a line at hello@design102.co.uk

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