The APG Creative Strategy Awards Shortlist 2009: Foreword 2

While this year saw a bumper crop of entries, it certainly wasn't at the expense of quality. The 25 papers shortlisted represent an eclectic mix of clients, agencies and business challenges. And a strong international showing. In their different ways, each of the papers shows how fresh strategic thinking can lead to brilliantly creative and effective work.

What's great about this year's shortlist is that it truly reflects the big questions that agencies are wrestling with right now. Papers for PC World, The Economist and Royal Mail show how planning can move upstream to act as a proper business partner to clients. Papers for Eurostar and Air Action Vigorsol offer some valuable lessons in how to go about creating branded content. Papers for Kent County Council, Forevermark and Axe/Lynx take channel planning to a new level and show how creativity and media thinking can come together in genuinely innovative engagement ideas. The PG Tips paper offers food for thought on how we should think about the intellectual property we create.

Past APG papers have given us a wealth of learning on consumer insight and brand transformation. And this year is no exception. However, many papers this time venture into less well-trodden areas. If you want to know how planning can help optimise search, maximise value from YouTube, or design a seamless and engaging user experience, you could do a lot worse than read these papers.

Many thanks to the shortlisters and judges. But, above all, thanks to the authors of the 153 papers. Reading the best of the industry's strategic thinking was a treat and a privilege. Many congratulations to the 25 that made it through and better luck next time to those that didn't.

Hopefully, the following pages provide a tantalising taste of the learning that these papers will collectively deliver.

- Rachel Hatton chair of shortlisting panel and the planning director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.