The entries are in, the coffee’s been brewed. South Africa’s leading industry players have begun to judge which contenders will scoop a coveted Bookmark Award in 2017. This round will be concluded by 3 February. The team of judges, led by Jury President John Dixon, features more diverse digital leaders than ever before.

CEO of IAB SA, Josephine Buys says “This year’s judging team has expanded to include essential players in the digital landscape including gamers, innovators, engineers and social media experts.”

The diverse teams of judges represent agencies, publishers, corporates and niche businesses, which complements the refreshed list of judging categories, including Marketers, Builders, Publishers, Gamers, Engineers & Innovators and 2017 Special Honours.

Jury President John Dixon will lead the 2017 panel. Dixon has previously served as Jury President of the Bookmark Awards and brings extensive industry experience, including as a board member of the Association of Communication Agencies (ACA), and participant on the Financial Mail Adfocus and Finweek AdReview jury panels, to the process.

Each category will be led by the following industry players.

  • The Marketing Jury will be led by Gareth McPherson, Executive Director at Publicis Machine, a trailblazer in the advertising industry and digital-led marketing.
  • The Builders Jury Chair is Claire Cobbledick, Head of SA marketing for Gumtree South Africa, who merges her experience with one of the country’s biggest classified services with extensive agency experience.
  • The Publishers Jury Chair, Izak Minnaar, is Editor of Digital News for SABC and brings extensive experience in broadcast and hard news.
  • Gamers Jury Chair Johann von Backstrom is business owner at Inside Half Productions, a leader in deployment and management of gaming portals and the conceptualisation, execution and management of computer and console gaming related events.
  • The Innovators and Engineers Jury will be led by Graham Talbot, Technical Director at multiple award winning digital agency, Gloo.
  • The Special Honours panel will be led by Miles Murphy, Owner & Managing Partner of Liquorice, one of Africa’s leading digital marketing agencies.

The first round of judging take place remotely from 25 January until 13 February, which is an in/out judging round where judges assess the entries in their category,  and either eliminate or send them through to the second round. The second round takes place on 24 & 25 February, when all judges will meet in Johannesburg and Cape Town to debate, score and finalise the results.

Etries will be scored as follows in round two:

General Criteria

Creativity/Innovation: 30%

Technical Accomplishment: 30%

Results Achieved: 40%

Craft Criteria

Quality of Work Produced: 60%

Technical Difficulty or Accomplishment: 40%

At the final stage, judges will view the material on a screen, discuss the entry and then vote on a handheld device, allocating a percentage to the criteria above.

The system ignores the highest and lowest votes and averages out the rest, assuring fairness and credibility. Each entry gets a percentage, with the final scores being verified and signed off by the Jury President.

Buys concludes, “We are privileged to work with judges that bring an impressive depth of expertise and experience. Each campaign is not only assessed on its creativity factor, but its real business impact. The time and thought they commit to judging ensures the best in digital are awarded, and sets the bar for interactive excellence in South Africa.”