Andy Bamford (in a questionable striped shirt).

Everyone’s talking about them. Everybody wants to get their hands on them. And who better to talk about industry awards with than Chairman of the RADs 2014 and judge of a number of big recruitment gongs, our own esteemed Bristol MD, ‘Bamf’. 

How has the awards landscape changed over your many moons in the industry?

Currently, it feels like the RAD awards are the most prominent in our industry, followed by the CIPDs and the Recruiter Awards. The AGR and TARGETjobs Awards also hold a lot of prestige within the graduate market. But nowadays there is an award for everything, with more and more popping up all the time. It’s started to devalue winning somewhat – which is why it’s so important that awards have a transparent judging process and a shortlist that really is a shortlist, not just an excuse to get as many people buying a table as possible. They have to have integrity.

Out of all ThirtyThree’s award wins over time, which one are you most proud of?

That’s a difficult one. Naturally, I’m drawn to ‘Boa Selector’ a press ad for Buyers at Claire’s Accessories. It won the Grand Prix as the overall best work of the year at the time so it was a big moment for us. Having said that, I genuinely think all of our award wins have been great. I remember our first ever RAD award for a press ad back in 2001. It’s nice that over a decade on, we’re winning new categories like Best Use of Social Media and also Best Employer Website at the RADs, for the last three years running. Being recognised for our innovation as well as creation is really rewarding.

How did you find chairing the RADs?

I’ve judged different industry awards over the years but chairing the RADs was a definite highlight for me. As a Chairperson, you don’t have a vote and it’s your role to help guide the judging process. It was really important to me that the judging process had integrity and transparency. I think the process, as it stands now, is undoubtedly the fairest and most genuine judging process I know. It was a great thing to be part of.

Is press advertising really ‘dead’, do you think?

No. Anything that reaches out to an audience and generates a response is of value. The press ad market has changed dramatically over the years. It used to be the only solution. Now it’s one of a number of channels to consider. Why do a press ad over an online posting? Why do an outdoor ad over radio? Today, there are so many different ways you can cut the cake, which makes our job – of choosing the media – really important. I love that about our industry; it never stands still. It’s challenging and always evolving. One of the reasons for ThirtyThree’s success over the years is that we’ve never built our business around a single model. We’ve never just been about job ads – creation, audience identification and engagement have always been our focus. And that’s media neutral.

What makes a stand-out award entry?

Good question. Firstly, it needs to be to the point and easy to understand. You need to clearly identify what the objective of the work was, who the audience were and what the results were. For the final rounds of judging, the entry might be put up as a projection so it needs to be able to work across different mediums. Big, bold, beautifully presented creative is always good. It’s a bit like producing any good advert; you’ve got to think about your audience – who’ll be reading your entry? In this case, your audience is likely to be sitting at their kitchen table, having read 20 awards entries before yours so if they’re faced with pages of A4 with no imagery, it’s really not going to excite them. Don’t underestimate the power of visual presentation. You should be as proud of your award entry as you are of the piece of work you’re putting forward.

Thank you!