The Epica Awards were created in 1987 by former ad man Andrew Rawlins with the mission to reward brilliant creativity, regardless of where it springs from: agencies, production teams, PR, marketing firms, photographers, etc. Unique among its peers, Epica is open to the creative community worldwide with a jury of over 200 journalists from magazines and websites across the globe. We tapped Epica Editorial Director, Mark Tungate, to get a glimpse inside this truly impartial creative award.
Can you give us an overview of your experience and background with the Epica Awards?
I’ve actually been involved with Epica since 2001, when I was hired as a freelance journalist to write and edit the annual book we produced at that time. It seems so long ago I’m surprised I wasn’t using stone and a chisel. We’ve since transitioned to digital coverage of the winners, but my role day-to-day still involves creating content. I also served as a juror when I was a columnist at the French magazine Strategies. The big change in recent years is that, since being invited to take on a full-time role at Epica in 2015, I now also moderate the jury meetings and host the ceremony.
What gives Epica its edge and why should agencies enter?
We are the only global creative competition judged by journalists who write about advertising, design and marketing – as well as specialist writers in categories like production and photography. That gives us independence and objectivity. Our journalists are immersed in the creative world without having any loyalties – they’re not even allowed to vote for work from their own countries. For agencies this is a unique opportunity to be judged by a different yet expert audience. And there’s also the potential to gain press coverage, as the journalists naturally write about the winners. Agencies – and brands, by the way – are built on reputation, and press coverage contributes to that. As a journalist myself I know that agencies and brands are keen to engage with the media, so Epica provides another access window. I often say it’s a hub where creativity meets journalism.
What goes into the jury selection process?
We always want to work with the journalists from the best-known titles in our field, so for example you’ll find senior reporters and editors from Adweek, Campaign, Creative Review, Creativity, Shots…and their equivalents around the world.
How can brands benefit from being aligned with the Epica Awards?
I think all brands want to be perceived as dynamic, creative and engaged with their times, as well as with the needs and aspirations of their consumers. Epica and the press coverage delivered by its jury provides an excellent showcase for those attributes. A showcase that survives long after the ceremony in the form of content on our own site – as well as on our sister site AdForum – and the presentations that we give to marketers, agencies and students around the world.
How do you expect Epica to evolve and adapt with innovations in marketing?
It’s notable that when I first worked for Epica in 2001 the entries were pretty much limited to film, print and radio, with a smattering of what we called “interactive” entries. We now have a full range of digital categories, including social media. We’re constantly listening to agencies and reacting to their needs. We were the first advertising awards to introduce a specific VR category, for instance. We recently introduced “Metaverse” and “Creative Use of AI” categories. So we always try to reflect the industry as it is now. We can and should try to do the same with our jury, too. Although our most prominent jurors are journalists from traditional magazines, we are open to opinions from the writers of leading blogs and newsletters, and even from content creators who enthuse about advertising on TikTok: of course with the proviso that their content is valued by entrants. As a journalist from a print background who now works across digital and social media, I understand the importance of adaptability!
The Epica Awards is a testament to unbiased, creative execellence and helps to build reputations beyond national borders. You can view the Grand Prix and gold winning work of the 2022 Epica Awards in our 'Epica Allstars' creative showcase.