The Caples Awards were founded in 1978 by Andi Emerson. A copywriter at BBDO, she wanted a direct marketing show that recognised and rewarded creativity.
She named the competition after the great John Caples. He had been the star copywriter of his generation and was the writer of one of the most parodied ads of all time, ‘They laughed when I sat down at the piano…”
He was the creative director of BBDO and stayed with the agency until he was 83.
His book, “Tested Advertising Methods” may not have the snappiest title but it is still probably the best book on how to write copy.
Andi had seen Direct Marketing awards shows handing out prizes to work that was, frankly, appalling. In the belief that better work works better, she wanted to honour the writers and art directors who did the work that she admired.
That same spirit lingers on in Then Caples today.
Results are important, but what the jury is looking for is work they wish they’d done themselves. Work that’s as likely to win at Cannes as it is anywhere.
In fact, a number of last year’s winners at The Caples in London did go on to win Lions in the South of France two months later.
Today, The Caples is managed by two ex-creative directors.
Duncan Gray is the former worldwide creative chief of Proximity.
Patrick Collister is the ex-executive creative thingamajig of Ogilvy & Mather, London, and, more recently, the head of Yippee-Yi-Yo-Kiyay for The Zoo, Google’s creative thinktank in Northern Europe.
Both have plenty of awards to their name. But neither is particularly business-like.
As a result, there were a number of hiccups in 2018.
For instance, they forgot to register the company. Which meant they couldn’t open a bank account. And couldn’t get Amex or Visa accreditation. So it looked as if they wouldn’t be able to take any money.
(Still, they designed a nice-looking website.)
Also, they forgot to get any awards made. So winners have had to wait seven months to get their trophies. Wunderman Mexico were not amused.
On the plus side, though, knowing how creative directors are having to cut costs, the number of categories has been slashed by half. And, at £300 per entry, have kept fees lower than just about any other global awards show.
The Caples is probably the least expensive global awards show of the lot.
But for the jury, one of the most fun. It’s why they are coming from the four corners of the world to London to judge on May 7th and May 8th and celebrate the winners on May 9th.
They are all serial award-winners themselves. And the work they deem worthy of a Caples Award will really be out of the ordinary.
If you’ve read this far, then here’s an offer for you.
Enter your work to The Caples Awards 2019 and if you strike Gold, you’ll get the entry fee back. So it could cost you nothing.