the comms2point0 unawards: the story so far

The inaugural comms2point0 UnAwards take place in December in Birmingham. Here's a quick update on the story so far, and details of how you can get involved...

by Darren Caveney

First off, we wanted to repeat our huge and genuine thank you to everyone who has shown interest, entered awards, talked so positively and shared the love for the inaugural comms2point0 UnAwards.

We are very, very grateful.

As a result, it means that you have created the most popular comms industry awards in the UK this year*

When Dan and I first got to grips with the detail of the comms2point0 UnAwards concept  - which, incidentally, took place at a cricket match (we really should go to more cricket matches) - we agreed three simple principles . The things that we believed would make them different to most regular awards.

1. They’re your awards

One of these was ensuring there was a public vote. We’re a community, and the community has a big role to play in deciding the winners, This was a must. Here is the link to the public vote.

2. Accessibility

The second principle was accessibility. The awards had to be free to enter. Cheap to attend. This meant no expensive London hotel, no black tie and ball gowns, no canapés. They would also be simple to enter – no laborious entry forms and criteria. And finally, no need to be a member of a paid-for membership body to be in with a sniff of winning.

3. Awards ceremonies can be fun, you know

The final principle was that they would be fun and alternative. We’ve all been involved in dreary ceremonies in vacuous, mass catered hotel function rooms. It’s normally a relief when they are over – win or lose – so that you can escape to the bar. That’s my experience, anyway. That doesn’t mean that the UnAwards aren’t serious and that they don’t recognise the brilliant work being delivered across the sectors. They absolutely do.

We also realised that we needed to be impartial – we’re in a very fortunate position in which we get to meet many of you at events, see first-hand some of your work. So we have asked external judges to be in charge of deciding the winners.

But would anyone be interested?

In truth, this was a slight step into the unknown and we took a chance on booking a venue and really going for it. We thought that we might need to badger and coerce folks into entering. We wondered if we would need to extend the deadline for a week to get a decent number of entries. We even wondered if there was a feeling of ‘awards fatigue’: were we all just a little sick of them?

But we thought if we pitched them just right we’d be fine and you good people would support the UnAwards.

But, boy, we have been somewhat blown away by the interest levels. The volume of entries was phenomenal and double what we hoped for.

The UnAwards in Numbers

202 the number of entries we have received

Zero the cost to enter

50 the amount of hours we spent logging and long-listing

4 the number of public votes you can get involved in

600 the number of votes we have received in the first five days of the public vote going live

11 the number of brilliant sponsors who have given the UnAwards such wonderful support

108 the number of people who will be there at the inaugural UnAwards

We seriously underestimated the amount of work and admin this interest has created (and we’re sorry if we have been slower than usual to respond to some of you – our inboxes have been a tad busy)

All of this is good.

And we owe a huge thank you to Emma Rodgers for helping us with the UnAwards.

The other thing we wanted to say is that the standard of entries was incredible. And some quite brilliant work didn’t get shortlisted. This doesn’t mean those entries weren’t great or should ever be overlooked.

There is now a clamour for tickets which has also been higher than we anticipated. In truth, we could probably sell the venue twice over. The venue is a beauty. Cool and unique. It’s the oldest working cinema in the UK. Its capacity is 108. We wondered if we would even fill it when we first began.

Given the amazing demand, our priority has to be to ensure that shortlisted folks are there and represented. To do this fair and square we are running a first ticket release – one per shortlistee – via EventBrite for a short period of time. We’ll review the resultant sales and then run a second, short release for shortlistees only – again for one ticket each. We then estimate a handful of tickets might be left and we will put these up for a brief, final public sale on 5 December.

We hope you agree that this is the fairest way.

Should we have moved to a bigger venue? We considered this, briefly, but no – we wanted to stick with the ethos and principles of the UnAwards. We didn’t want to end up running them in that soulless hotel function room.

So that’s where we’re at. We are now busy sending the shortlisted entries to our judges for them to evaluate, deliberate and choose the winners.

We’re also busy organising refreshments and entertainment for the big day.

And we’re quite chuffed with the actual awards we have sourced. I’d love one.

And a final word to our sponsors. We wondered if we were being slightly crazy in setting up these UnAwards and committing to spend. We wondered if our kids would have to go without this Christmas as a result. But, 12 brilliant sponsors stepped up and wanted to join us in celebrating comms and digital excellence and innovation. We love and thank…

Alive with Ideas

GovDelivery

Touch Design

Capacity Grid

Knowledge Hub

David Banks Media Law

All Things IC

Improvement & Efficiency West Midlands

Public Sector Customer Services Forum

Digital Action Plan

Lesniak Swann

*Possibly. Has there been a more popular one, surpassing the entries we have received, the interest levels, and public vote component?

Darren Caveney is co-creator of comms2point0