Until now, the awards have been staged every two years. In 2005, and every other year from then on, an extra contest will be held, restricted to agencies with a gross income of £20 million or less.
The new initiative will allow smaller London agencies to compete against their regional counterparts who, for the past nine years, have had their own event, the AREA awards. Judging criteria will mirror the established awards but papers will be of 2,000 words rather than 4,000. Les Binet, a director of DDB Matrix and the convenor of the judges, said: "This will not be a dumbed-down version of the Effectiveness Awards."
Sven Olsen, the chairman of the IPA's value of advertising committee, added: "The soundings among our regional and London members told us there is a demand for an annual competition but not at the level that the rigorous national competition demands."
Binet added: "It's still going to be a tough task for entrants. It's no less demanding to write a smaller paper."
Organisers are looking for between 30 and 60 entries for the competition, which will culminate in an awards night next November. The main award-winners will be able to enter the main event in 2006.
Binet commented: "This is a good way for smaller agencies to show they believe in evaluation and effective advertising and will help clients distinguish between creative boutiques and agencies which produce work that works."
- Comment, p64.