I was able to have a quick chat with Lucia Ongay, the Co-Founder of the Gerety Awards, when the extended deadline was announced. Launched in January 2019 the Gerety Awards is named for Frances Gerety, the copywriter who coined the slogan "A diamond is forever,". The Gerety Awards recognizes global talent, mentors and allies within advertising—the people who will define and refine the standard to which advertising should be held.
Adland: With award shows like LIA officially cancelling completely and the Cannes Lions Festival postponed until October now, how will this affect the Gerety awards?
I think the ad industry and the world have a much bigger focus than award shows this year, but we all hope that in a few months’ time we get a hold of it and we will be able to return to some form of normality, despite that we have already prepared for the judging to be done remotely and online. A benefit of moving the votes online for this year is that we can extend the time the jury will have to vote in their own time and announce the winners in October. I think Gerety Award winners will be the benchmark for other award show winners.
Adland: What criteria do the women in the jury fulfill to be invited as judges (Experience? Prior awards from award shows? Prior judging experience?)
The jury is chosen on prior award wins and award show jury experience. We also weigh heavily on the recommendation of our ambassadors and that of the previous jury. Last year we had 150 different jury members so taking advise from them on who they would most respect on a jury to judge their work is most important. This also help us to be sure we get the best talent in from every corner of the world, their local expertise is fundamental.
Adland: What do you think an all-female judging lens may bring to our collective advertising history of award winners? In terms of what type of work may win, possibly a change in the type of clients that win?
The Gerety jury is certainly a counterbalance to what has been the industry norm, and I think when women get to decide what work actually speaks the most persuasively, we'll be surprised how much more interesting our idea of what great work is, and who makes it, becomes.
Caitlyn Ryan (EMEA Regional CD for Facebook and Instagram) once said “I don’t think it is a coincidence that the most awarded work in our industry is usually sports brands, beer and/or male grooming products. Ads that are made by and for young men. Guess who’s judging the work – young men.” (source)
You can see last year’s winners here. There were plenty of woman-oriented ads entered, but what better focus group than Gerety to distinguish truly empowering works from femvertising? I also think some agencies believed that, because the jury is all women, work targeting women would stand a better chance. Not so. The winning brands from last year’s Gerety Awards draw from a range of industries and persuasions and are a testament to the discernment of a diverse and qualitative jury.
What's your differentiating position vs other award shows?
The Gerety Awards marks the first time a jury's been united to select the best in advertising—all advertising, not just advertising made for women—through the female lens. Women make 80 percent of purchasing choices so it creates a benchmark that is relevant to the market reality. The judging sessions held around the world are unique and the winners chosen set an important benchmark for the very best in advertising and creative communication.
What is the new deadline for entries?
The deadline has been extended until April 17.
What's the judging process?
The judging is done in two stages. Firstly the Executive Jury sessions create the shortlist and then the Grand Jury make the final selection defining the overall winners.
We have made preparations to move to remote online judging. The jury sessions in June had been planned for London, New York, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Madrid, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Helsinki and Istanbul. These judging sessions create an overall shortlist, and choose agency and production company of the year from their country.
As the only ad award show to hold judging sessions in 10 different cities over a 2 week period how are you preparing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Our voting system allows us to move all judging to remote online voting. We have been in contact with all of this year’s jury and we are closely monitoring the situation. The uniqueness and the important value of the Gerety Awards taking the female vision of advertising determined by leading female creatives from around the world does not change if we are required to stop in person judging.
A benefit of moving the votes online for this year is that we can extend the time the jury will have to vote in their own time and announce the winners the week of October 19. The Gerety Award winners will be the benchmark for other award shows taking place later in the year.
How do you think Coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect other industry events?
Advertising is a very versatile industry so we have no doubt that it will adapt to the climate. That said, events are postponing until this crisis passes. Regardless of what other events do, what we hope to do with Gerety is prove the importance of representation. When women get to decide what work actually speaks the most persuasively, I think we'll be surprised how much more interesting our idea of what great work is, and who makes it, becomes.