The APG Creative Strategy Awards Shortlist 2009: Foreword 1

Celebrating planning in times of financial strife.

It's well documented that some categories do well in a recession: luxury take-home meals, fake tan and so on. And now, it would seem, the APG Creative Planning Awards.

This year, 153 papers were submitted, the highest number since the APG Awards began in 1993. Entries were up across the board: more from the "traditional" UK advertising agencies, more from abroad and more from digital and integrated agencies.

Why is this? To be honest, with pressure on agency awards budgets, we were fearing the worst. However, perhaps we should not have been so fearful.

When times are tough, it is more important than ever for agencies and brands to create precious points of difference. Clients put an even higher premium on inspiring and business-changing strategic thought, as they seek to make limited budgets work harder than ever. In turn, agencies are seeing strategic reputation as a key driver to keep and attract clients.

These papers will, we hope, not only showcase the world's best strategic thinking, but also give the agencies that created them added ammunition in their search for new business in these tough times.

Best wishes, well done to all who entered, and we certainly hope to see you at the Awards on 8 October!

Matt Willifer, APG chair and the director of nDreams

Guy Murphy chair of judges and the worldwide planning director at JWT.