Winning gold is a signal of excellence. It’s the highest award attainable. And to be awarded gold in any competition, contest or sport is to be celebrated as the best in your field.
Ahead of this year’s Circle Ball, a number of the Creative Circle’s Gold judges – those who presided over the final rounds of metal deliberations – have given their take on what it means to be awarded ‘Gold’…
"The fact the awards are judged by fellow creatives speaks volumes to whoever is chosen as the winner. Not only is the work being validated by industry leaders but by the peer group as a whole."
“Outstanding colour grading should bring that extra contribution of imagery, taste and perfection to the photography, in a way that makes the overall image perfectly suited for the project. Composition of hues and saturation, particularly skin tones and textures such as grain, sharpness, softness, and finishing touches of framing should all serve the film, have a purpose, and push the quality of the production to a higher level.”
Jean-Clement Soret, Global Creative Director of Colour Grading, MPC
"As other award shows become increasingly global, it’s easy to forget the people who live around us. A Creative Circle Gold says you’ve done something that resonates with the people in your region, your city, your street. That’s something to be proud of."
Richard Dennison, Global Creative Director, Mullen Lowe London
"Gold is something so throat-punch simple that anybody could have come up with it, your mum, anybody; But they didn’t. Until now."
Richard Megson, Creative Director, The Red Brick Road
"A gold is the best of the best. It takes you by surprise. It makes you laugh, cry, both. It stays with you. It's a sparkle in a sea of grey. A game changer. You look at the work, feel a twinge of envy and think, I wish I'd done that."
Alice Tonge, Creative Director, 4creative
"Gold = bravery. You don’t win gold without some big golden balls."
John Treacy, Executive Creative Director, Proximity
"Don't concentrate on the finger (award), concentrate on the moon (the idea) and the Gold will come. Gold is a feeling. And a colour. And a word. And an animal. People understand Gold. It means you’re the best.”
Rob Doubal, Co-President and Chief Creative Officer, McCann London
“Winning a Creative Circle Gold should represent the rejection of the modern day sham of complexity and simply delight the audience, whoever that might be.”
Ian Ritchie, Executive Creative Director, JKR
"Winning Gold at Creative Circle is a great achievement – well done to those whose work has been selected. Tellingly there was very little discussion between the judges about the Gold winners. Truly fantastic and inspiring work will always speak for itself and no one needs convincing. For me the best indicator for Gold standard work is a pang of jealousy: that “I wish I had done that” feeling. It just can’t be fabricated, not even through rational argument."
Kat Hahn, Associate Creative Director, R/GA
"Worthy of a Gold is something that is like a beautiful song; unimportant, undefinable, and essential. I'm not looking for new. I'm looking for something with soul."
Flo Heiss, Studio of Art & Commerce
"Every entry to the Creative Circle awards is scrutinised and judged by the industry's finest who are collectively looking for originality, great craft and excellent execution. The bar is set very high, so winning a Creative Circle Gold is an amazing achievement and a brilliant accolade."
Nick Angell, Managing Director, Angell Sound
"Should be work that creates a feeling of hollowing envy inside your stomach. It’s the stuff that unmistakeably takes our industry forward into a new, more interesting place."
Charlie Martin, Creative Director, Leo Burnett
"A very, very good ad will get you a Silver, but with Gold we are looking for category defining originality and ambition. At the same time they have to appeal far beyond the jury to show real impact on their audience."
Mary Wear, Copywriter
"Juries don't argue over a true gold winner, brilliant work just shines out. Other entries might tick all the boxes - great idea, great execution, effective – but work worthy of gold sets a new bar for everyone creatively."
Helen Fuchs, Executive Creative Director, DigitasLBi
"For me as a designer, Gold winning work should be a revelation. It should make you realise your job is more exciting than you thought."
Chris Chapman, Lead Designer, W+K
"What is required to win a Gold is the ability to create an instant, unanimous and thoroughly un-noble sense of envy amongst all the jurors."
Shaun McIlrath, Joint Global Creative Director, Iris Worldwide
"My view on what makes a gold is that it should it be a piece of work that the industry looks back on with pride. Fast forward three years and, when we look back at gold winners, we should see how that award set the bar for a new way of communicating, of reframing, or crafting. When I judge a piece of work I ask myself; does this work transcend its category? Does it give people cause to see this category differently? If it does this - positively, of course - it is a clear gold. Of course, not all gold winners transcend category. Then it's about there being something in the work that reframes your view of the brand. It might be a new angle on it - who can forgot the man dancing round his pint of Guinness as he waits for the pint to settle? A lovely observation, beautifully crafted and executed. To be a gold it must have those three things: a new observation or insight, a strong presentation or execution of that idea, and that idea must be elegantly delivered. Sometimes the reframing comes from playing with the context you're in. Have you used the context in such a way that stops people and makes them say "that's really clever"? Of course, it can't be tech or media first just for the sake of being a first. What you do in the contextual reframing has to land the brand message integrally, not as an adjunct to an opportunity. And that's basically it."
Ben Rachel, Founding Partner & Planning Director, Soul London
It’s not too late to secure your tickets for this year’s Circle Ball, head over to the Creative Circle website for more information.