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Harness creativity through difficult times – a chat with Cory Eisentraut - #JudgeSpotlight

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Creative Partner at BBD Perfect Storm Cory Eisentraut loves social projects. Work and cases in which communities and fans interact straight with the brands, building meaningful moments and connections that are meant to leave a lasting impression beyond a social media scroll. This is the true power of creativity in the digital age.

Cory has judged in The Annual before and he is back this year in the Copywriting category, where he will look for some of the most groundbreaking works of creativity made at one of the most difficult times for humanity. Cory is clearly a team-player, an extremely humble professional, and one that we are deeply honoured to welcome on our panels once again.

For this Judge Spotlight, we are learning more about Cory's experience with The Annual and the Creativepool community – as well as some advice on how to craft the perfect entry to impress the top industry leaders in the jury.

Annual 2021 is accepting standard submissions until this Thursday, 27th May. Enter now to grab your slice of creative immortality!

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What feels unique about judging in The Annual?

I love the fact that Creativepool is an actual creative community. There is a sense of collaboration that runs through Creativepool, and The Annual judging is a natural extension of that. It really is an honour to be back on a jury this year. I am such a fan of so many of my fellow jury members and I look forward to getting to know a few of the new faces I haven’t met before. 

How did it feel like to be a judge for the Creativepool Annual Awards?

As a recent transplant to London, it was a wonderful introduction to the UK market. I loved seeing all the incredible global work, but especially seeing work from the UK that I wouldn’t normally have a chance to see in this way. 

Will you be joining the panels again in the future?

Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal and attending conferences, panels and industry events is definitely on the list of things I’ve missed this past year. I wouldn’t hesitate to take part again, if I’m invited back. It is always an honour to contribute to The Annual.

Can you tell us more about your 2020 category and what impressed you the most about the submissions you scored?

In 2020, I specifically asked to judge the social media category because it is regularly one of my favourite categories. I love how social media gives brands an opportunity to have meaningful interactions with their fans and consumers. The ability to create a two-way street with their target makes social such a huge opportunity for creativity and commerce.   

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What did you love about the Creativepool community and the entrants you scored?

The work that stood out to me and the cases that I scored most highly were the ones that really utilised the social media landscape in an interesting way. These were the cases where communities and fans were truly engaged and allowed to participate with the idea and the brand. It was obvious the cases that were meant to win in the social media category. 

What advice would you share with agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?

It seems simple enough, but enter the work into the correct category. So many times I look at a case and wonder why it has been entered into a specific category. Last year, in the social media category, so many cases had only a passing mention of the social component. It was clear agencies were just trying to shotgun their work into as many categories as possible. The judges automatically down-vote cases like that. As they should. Take the time to write the case to the category and it will become obvious if the work deserves to be entered, or indeed win, in that category.

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How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

Brands and agencies have had to really be problem solvers this year. No amount of budget or pyrotechnics could save a bad idea this year. With the world in lockdown, we’ve all had a level playing field. Great writing and simple pure ideas have risen to the top. I can’t wait to see (and award) all the amazing ideas that somehow managed to come to life in this difficult time. 

What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

I hope that we remember this year and how difficult it was. And I hope we don’t fall back into complacency or bad habits. The best work comes from pure insights and great writing and I hope that we begin to exit lockdown and budgets and productions begin to return to normal, we take the lessons we’ve learned in 2020 and continue to learn from them. This year has forced us to be more agile, more creative and our best selves. I hope that continues.  

What is your most exciting project in the next year?

We recently partnered with Pepsi in Mexico to help them create a new brand platform for Ruffles, and now new opportunities are arising across the entire Pepsi product portfolio. The team in Mexico is incredibly passionate and ambitious, and I’m so excited to keep creating interesting work with them. 

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