Award Entry & Judging Process

The information below refers to all Awards except the Young Marketer of the Year. For information on this Award please refer directly to the Young Marketer of the Year section of the website.

Entry Rules

  • Entries not submitted in accordance with the details set out below will not be judged.
  • Entries for the Awards must have been used for promotional purposes between the 1st January and 31st December 2019. Entries fulfilling this criteria but have been entered in previous years can be re-submitted, but it should be noted that they may not score highly on originality.
  • The VMA reserves the right to refuse entries submitted after the closing date of 8th January 2020.

Entry Submissions

  • All entries must be submitted online at before the closing date of 8th January 2020, 23:59.
  • Each entry will need to include:
    • A formatted entry board image file (JPG/JPEG or PDF) capable of being printed to A2 size (594mm x 420mm). Files should be high res (300 dpi) but not exceed 25MB.
    • The required details for the category into which the piece is entered – you will be prompted for the details when submitting your entry.

Entry Fees

  • There is a fee of £87.50 (+VAT) for each entry submitted. This covers the costs of administration of these awards, the judging expenses plus the production of your entry board for judging and displaying at the event. After submission you will be sent an invoice for payment by BACS, using the following details: a/c number 22953388; sort code 60-04-23.
    NOTE: We try to consolidate multiple entries therefore the invoice may not be received immediately.
  • Entries cannot be accepted until full payment has cleared. Entries submitted without payment will not be accepted and will not be judged. Please send remittances or payment questions to

Entry Process

  • Please complete the requested information – all fields are compulsory.
  • Upload your entry board – JPG/JPEG or PDF capable of being printed to A2 size (594mm x 420mm). Files should be high res (300 dpi) but not exceed 25MB. For certain categories you are encouraged to submit short video’s or links to similar media to demonstrate the entry in use; for example, a detail aid or exhibition entry. Videos should be no more than 2 minutes in length and be utilised to further demonstrate the entry. Note videos will be judged on content only they do not need to be of production quality.
  • For the Digital Innovation Award if your entry relates to new technology it is strongly recommended to provide actual devices for judging. Should you wish to do so, please contact us directly to arrange accordingly.
  • Complete the payment – by BACS.

Judging Process

Following the success of the changes made to the judging process at last year’s Awards, we will once again be conducting a first phase of online judging to enable a larger number and more diverse panel of judges to review entries ahead of the judging day at the IPA. The process is as follows:

  • Stage one, 8th January 2020 – 11th February 2020: All entries reviewed and scored online by a panel of judges in accordance with the judging criteria for the category. Up to ten entries from each category will be put forward for stage two judging.
  • Stage two, 25th February 2020: Judging day at the IPA, London. The shortlisted entries from each category will be further reviewed
  • There will be an appointed independent head judge at the judging day who will not express their views but will encourage other judges to express theirs and manage the debate, conducting voting when necessary.
  • At the judging day the overall winner and two highly commended entries will be decided for each category.

Judging Panel

  • There will be approximately 25 judges who will judge the first online stage and of these approximately 8 who will attend the second stage judging day.
  • The judging panel will contain a wide mix of demographics: Skill sets; experience and expertise; gender; age and geographic locations. Judges will include distinguished representatives from the veterinary profession, and prominent healthcare advertising figures such as creative directors within leading agencies.
  • Judges will be allowed to judge any category unless they have work in contention or any other conflict of interest.
  • Details of all the judges will be available on the VMA website prior to the commencement of the judging process.

Judging Criteria

Note In line with the mission of the VMA to drive marketing excellence, we are proud to advise that the new BVA Pet Advertising Guidelines launched on 04/12/18 will also be considered, as appropriate. These guidelines can be viewed here.


  1. Initial Impact: Does the entry stand out? Is there an overall wow factor? Is the entry engaging and interesting?
  2. Audience Appeal: Does the entry demonstrate a good understanding of the target audience for this category? Is the entry appropriate for the audience? Is the entry appealing to the target audience?
  3. Creativity/Originality: Specifically considering the animal health industry has the entry demonstrated creative thinking or delivery? Does the entry look/feel original?
  4. Messaging: Do the headlines draw you in? Is the copy well written? Is the messaging clear and appropriate? Does the messaging persuade to purchase or influence beliefs?
  5. Achievement: How well has the entry met its SMART* objectives? Do the results demonstrate achievement?

*SMART Objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound


Advertising Campaign and Marketing Campaign

Additive Effect: Considering the target audience may not see every element of the campaign, does each element work in its own right? Do all elements work cohesively? Does the sum of the individual elements truly enhance the overall effect?

Direct Mail

Engagement: Would the recipient have followed the piece from start to finish and responded to a call to action?

Detail Aid

Logic and Application: Is the piece logical and easy to follow, avoiding repetition and cliché? Is the information well set out for user and recipient and can it be easily adapted to tailor information as required?

International Marketing

Globality: Geographic – does the campaign transcend geographical boundaries? Linguistic – does the campaign overcome potential linguistic limitations? Cultural – will the campaign work regardless of local creed and custom?


Promotional communications: Is there evidence of pre event promotion or promotions during the event? Do these reflect and support the overall exhibition messages? Do they work to attract delegates to the exhibition?

Practice Marketing

Initiative/Innovation: Does the entry look and feel fresh? Does it work? Does it demonstrate innovation or taking the initiative in this field?

Co-ordination: Is the practice marketing and branding cohesive and co-ordinated throughout?

Integrated Digital Campaign

Channels and Integration: Have the most appropriate channels/ tools been used in accordance with the campaign objectives? Does the entry showcase integration and deliver a cohesive campaign?

Reporting/Reaction: Does the entry demonstrate use of appropriate reporting tools? Does the entry show adaptability/reaction depending on results?


Innovation: Does the entry standout? Is the piece or campaign innovative? Is there an overall wow factor? Is the entry engaging and interesting?

Strategic skills: Does the entry demonstrate a good understanding of the target audience and wider strategic aims of the campaign?

Quality and accuracy of writing: Is the writing of good quality? Is the style of the pieces appropriate for the format (e.g. press release/article/social media).

Coordination: Is there evidence that this PR has been coordinated with other marketing elements? Does it work to enhance the overall effect?

Digital Innovation

For use of new technology – including technology previously used in other industries

  1. Reasoning: Is it clear why this particular solution was required and what needs it was trying to meet?
  2. Implementation/Originality Specifically considering the animal health industry is the entry different/original? Does it stretch boundaries in the industry?Does the entry demonstrate sound build quality and use of technology? Is it secure for users?
  3. User Experience: Does the entry demonstrate an understanding of its users? Is it appealing to its users? Does it deliver a great user experience and communicate to the target audience?
  4. Reporting: Does the entry use data reporting tools? Is it measureable?
  5. Application: Does the entry have cross platform application? Is the entry scalable? Does the entry demonstrate integration with other marketing elements?

For innovative use of industry established technology

  1. Reasoning: Is it clear why this established technology was used? Is it the best fit for the needs of the project?
  2. Originality: Does the entry demonstrate that the technology employed has been used innovatively/ differently? Is the idea of use novel?
  3. Creativity/Implementation: Does the entry demonstrate excellence in  implementation? Is the use of technology creatively compelling?
  4. User Experience: Does the entry demonstrate an understanding of its users? Is it appealing to its users? Does it deliver a great user experience and communicate to the target audience?
  5. Reporting: How have the reporting tools for this technology been used? Is the use of reporting novel?

What Happens Next?

  • Your entries along with judging criteria will be made available for the stage one online judging in January.
  • Entries will then be printed digitally and made available together with their scores from stage one at the judging day in February.
  • NO entrants will be notified of the results in advance of 20th March 2020.
  • All entries will be on display at the awards ceremony on 20th March 2020, unless specifically requested not to – please contact should this be the case
  • ONLY the top five from each category will be included in the stage presentation at the ceremony.
  • At the ceremony there will be an Award for the company and agency submitting the winning entry in each category and highly commended certificates for runners-up in each category.

Good luck!!

Slide “It means a lot as a young marketer to be recognised by my peers”