Industry professionals from around the United States step in to judge the prestigious Pollie Awards every year. Each judge is assigned dozens of entries to review and score and these scores ultimately lead to the distribution of Pollie awards to deserving firms. AAPC sat down with 2 seasoned Pollie judges, Mark Armour (Armour Media) and Samuel Chen (The Liddell Group) to discuss their insight into judging this year’s
AAPC: What is the benefit of judging the Pollie Contest?
Samuel: There are so many benefits to judging the Pollie Contest, but what stands out for me is having a first-row seat to witnessing the heights of creativity and the beauty of diversity. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously stated that “all politics is local” and those words still ring true today, even in the era of digital media and national news. This can be seen clearly in judging the Pollie Awards, as different submissions from different parts of the country–and even around the world–put on display the unique characteristics of each community, serving to broaden my horizons and understanding. As the national motto “e pluribus unum” states so articulately, our unity as a nation derives from our diversity.
Mark: Judging helps you get a broader sense of trends and technologies you can activate for your campaigns — so you can stay at the top of your game.
AAPC: What is your favorite part about being an AAPC Pollie judge?
Samuel: Seeing the creativity and originality behind the well done entries is always intriguing. While consultants spend much of the year dwelling on the details, judging the Pollie Contest gives me a chance to step back and observe the larger picture. It’s always fascinating to see why other consultants decide on a specific message or approach and to get a sense for the political landscape across the country.
Mark: Seeing the wide range of creativity and sophistication at the highest levels of our craft. A lot of beautiful work got produced this year.
AAPC: What were your overall impressions of this year’s entries?
Samuel: The best entries seem to get better year after year, though what stood out the most this year was the gap between the great entries and everyone else. On the one hand, the top entries demonstrated innovative creativity, meticulous attention to detail, and keen awareness of both the candidate and his or her constituency. These pieces really stood out head and shoulders above the competition. On the other hand, the run-of-the-mill entries are increasingly cookie-cutter and lazily recycle national talking points ad nauseum.
Mark: Consultants are breaking a lot of new ground in technologies, communications platforms and creative executions, with a laser-like focus on political effectiveness.