MM&M Awards 2009: Road to Glory

It was 8:30 am on Monday, July 13, at the Warwick Hotel in the heart of the Big Apple and most of the 41 healthcare marketing and media execs that made up the MM&M Awards 2009 judging panel were already assembled, awakening their senses with coffee, cleansing their minds with vitamin C and sharpening their teeth on bagels. Most of them had already battled airport security, outlasted long lines for the Acela train, or, at the very least, edged through the Lincoln Tunnel at a pace barely quick enough to track with the naked eye. But you wouldn't know it. No one was complaining. In fact, there was quite a buzz about the room.

And so the judging began. To give all of the nearly 700 submissions the attention they deserved, the panel was divided into 10 groups, each responsible for reviewing and scoring different categories.  Each group analyzed and by turns applauded, criticized and even chuckled over submissions. Wall-sized creative was displayed, web initiatives were explored online and free-standing materials were handled, rattled, spun, erected and evaluated.
But the MM&M Awards are not just about a bunch of creatives judging a bunch of creative. Far from it. Every judging group (bar the purely creative categories) contained at least one, usually two—and sometimes three—senior execs from the pharmaceutical/client side. You can't win an MM&M Award for a campaign that is great in its looks alone.

“How big was their budget?” “What was the ROI?” “Who were the target audience?” “Where was it placed?” “How did they measure it?” “Was there an online strategy?” “Did this go to physicians, too?” These are the types of questions our 18 client-side experts fired at virtually every submission. What each of them was trying to figure out was: “If I'd paid for this campaign, would I have been happy with the results?”

This approach is key to the unique relevance and stature of the MM&M Awards. Not only are entries judged with independence and authority, but pharma execs—whose own reputations can live and die by the success or failure of similar campaigns they themselves commission—also have a say in the scoring.

What also stands out is the dedication and professionalism of the panel, not to mention the spirit and camaraderie.  The photos on the following pages offer proof of that.

Of course, not even the judges know the identity of the overall winners—those will be revealed for the first time at the big event in New York on October 29. We hope to see you there.

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