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Want to know how to win the industry's top prize? Playback this 30-minute webinar to hear from Art Hackney, Hackney & Hackney and Kelly Gibson, Hamburger Gibson Creative give you the inside scoop on the preeminent awards program for excellence in political communications.
AAPC will NOT be requiring HARD COPIES for direct mail and collateral entries. Rather, entrants must upload electronic copies of each collateral/direct mail piece to accompany each entry.
"Film has the Oscars. Music has the Grammys. In politics, our biggest night is the Pollies, and [it] is our highest honor.”
2015 Pollie Award Winner Dean Nielsen, Cerillion N4 Partners
The AAPC Pollie Awards are the most recognized and prestigious awards program for political and public affairs communications professionals, honoring excellence in advertising for candidate campaigns, ballot initiatives, PACs, corporations, and PSAs.
The Contest is open to both AAPC members and non-members, for submissions in all media—direct mail, television, digital/internet, phones, radio, fundraising, newspaper, and all disciplines, including opposition research, field, fundraising, and international.
The 2021 Pollie Awards Contest is divided into four divisions:
- Candidate Division – Work created for a Candidate Campaign
- Ballot Initiative Division – Work created for a Ballot Initiative or a Referendum Campaign
- Public Affairs/Issue Advocacy Division – Work created for a Public Affairs or Issue Advocacy Campaign
- Miscellaneous Division – Work created for a Candidate Campaign, a Ballot Initiative or a Referendum Campaign, or a Public Affairs or Issue Advocacy Campaign.
Entries and materials submitted will not be returned and may be displayed, shown, duplicated, published, or reproduced for educational or promotional purposes as the AAPC deems appropriate. By entering, the entrant agrees to hold the AAPC and any of its affiliated Chapters exempt from any costs or expenses of any claim arising out of any such use.
The contest opens on Thursday, December 10, 2020 and closes on Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:00PM Pacific.
There are three deadlines for the 2021 Pollie Contest:
- Early Bird Entry Deadline: Friday, January 15, 2021 at 11:59PM Pacific
- Regular Entry Deadline: Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:00PM Pacific
- Late Entry Deadline: Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:00PM Pacific
Fees per entry range based on AAPC member status and type. Member pricing is only available to current AAPC members. To be eligible for member pricing, your AAPC membership must be current through February 9, 2021. Membership will be verified prior to judging. To join AAPC, click here.
|NATIONAL CONTEST||EARLY BIRD ENTRY||REGULAR ENTRY||LATE ENTRY|
*This price is only accepted for the Student Pollie categories – if an AAPC Student Member wishes to enter the main Pollie Contest, they will need to pay the prevailing member price. Students who are non-AAPC Members must become an AAPC Student Member to receive the student pricing.
Entry Submission Specifications
In addition to complying with the AAPC Professional Code of Ethics, all entrants must also agree to AAPC's Standard on Citations to be considered for Pollie recognition. The Standard on Citations requests that all Television and Direct Mail pieces that criticize an opponent should have a responsible citation in the body of the piece that leads any interested person to find proof of the claim without an excessive burden. Additionally, all other Pollie entries of advertisements and/or political communications shall be fully documented. Please refer to the entry form for the full Standard on Citations.
The entry form for each submission must be completed in its entirety, paid in full, and submitted for judging by the close of the Contest before entries will be judged. It is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure the process has been completed, not AAPC’s. If all steps have not been completed by the contest deadline the entry will not be judged and no refunds will be honored.
In order to ensure the integrity of the Contest and judging process, your 2021 Pollie Awards submission(s) CANNOT contain any information about you or your company, firm, or organization. If the AAPC finds any personal or company information in your entry form or uploads, other than in the mandatory fields where company name and winning firm are asked, your entry will be disqualified.
Category Type – Overall vs. Regular Categories
There are two different types of categories in the 2021 Pollie Contest, Overall Categories and Regular Categories.
The overall categories are meant for a series of work per entry, i.e. more than one piece of work. The regular categories, including Direct Mail, Television, Digital/Internet, Phones, Radio, Fundraising, Newspaper, Collateral, Field, Student, Shoulda Woulda Coulda, Regionals, and Technology are meant for one piece of work per entry.
If you submit a series of pieces in a regular category or one piece in an overall category your submission will be moved to the appropriate category.
This year, entrants have the opportunity to compete for twice the recognition at half the price through our new Regional Division! The Regional Division is designed for work from local and state level campaigns (non-Federal). To enter the Regional Division, choose the appropriate category for your piece, and select the region in which the campaign was waged. Regional categories are considered "Regular Categories," and thus, should only include one piece per entry versus a series of work. The entry must comply with all of the standard entry and eligibility requirements for Pollie Contest. Entries may be submitted to both the Regional Division and National categories.
Regional entries will be held to the same standards upon which our judges evaluate the National categories but will be subject to two rounds of judging.
Here's how it works:
–Each Regional category may receive entries from all four AAPC regions (North, South, Central and West)
–Regional categories may have up to four (4) first-place winning entries per category—representing one from each region.
–The first place entries from each region for each category will then advance to a second round of judging (at no additional fee to entrants).
–The highest scoring entry from the second round of judging will be awarded a National Pollie Award in addition to Regional accolades.
Entering Multiple Categories
Entrants may submit the same entry in more than one category to increase their chances of winning. However, each entry will be charged a separate fee.
The firm name submitted – if it is a winning entry – will be the firm listed in all winner publications, press releases and trophies. The firm name and spelling, as well as the entry title, will be printed exactly as submitted. Be sure to proof ALL of your titles, summaries and your firm name. The AAPC is not responsible for replacing any trophies with misinformation printed if that was the information provided in the winning submission.
The address included in the trophy shipment section on the entry form is the address that will be used by our trophy company to ship out trophies (if you are a winner). The AAPC is not responsible for reshipping any trophies that are sent to an incorrect location due to the information the entrant provided on their entry form.
Please Note: trophies cannot be shipped to P.O. Boxes. Please provide AAPC with non-P.O. Box addresses. Also, students must provide the AAPC with home addresses NOT school addresses. Trophies cannot be shipped to University Student Centers, dorms, or off campus apartments or houses.
To be eligible for the 2021 competition, work entered must have been produced, aired, or screened between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, with the exception of our restored Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda**. Work previously submitted to the Pollie Awards Contest is not eligible.
Entrants must be directly responsible for the design, creation, or production of their submissions. With the exception of Student Awards, all submissions must be created by professionals on behalf of their clients. Non-professional submissions will not be accepted.
The AAPC reserves the right to move entries to more appropriate categories if necessary. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards may or may not be awarded in each category at the sole discretion of the judges.
Pollie Awards entry fees are non-refundable and any material submitted is not returnable. Failure to comply with entry requirements will result in disqualification of your entry. Entries that have not been paid in full by the deadline may be disqualified.
By entering the AAPC Pollie Contest you authorize the AAPC to use your submission in any other promotional materials and to reproduce those materials or images as may be required.
**Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda are classic political advertising pieces from any year, provided it has not previously won a Pollie, or never made it to air.
2021 Contest judging will take place from Monday, February 15, 2021 through Monday, March 8, 2021.
Over the 3 decades that the Pollies have been awarded, AAPC has refined the selection process to ensure the fairest possible treatment of every entrant’s work against a rigorous standard of political effectiveness, creativity and production value. Only AAPC draws on the expertise of more than 250 judges of equal proportion with regard to political party affiliation. Panels of six to eight judges are comprised of political consultants, public affairs practitioners, academics, political analysts, advertising experts, and media personalities who are randomly assigned categories which are judged primarily on the basis of political effectiveness, creativity and production value. Judges may not evaluate any categories to which they (or their organization) have submitted work. Pollie awards may be rescinded to entrants in violation of this policy.
At the conclusion of the judging period each judge’s score will be averaged with those from all other judges evaluating the same Pollie entry. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards may be awarded from highest score to third place at the sole discretion of the judges. All entries receiving awards must reach a set minimum score to be eligible.
If you are interested in being a 2021 Pollie Contest Judge, please apply! If your judge application is approved, you will receive an email with further instructions. Please note, that in order to serve as a judge, you MUST be an AAPC member. Membership will be confirmed before approval.APPLY TODAY
Entries Submitted Online: accepted formats for submission are listed on the online entry form and in the Technical Guidelines section below.
- Log into the AAPC 2021 Pollie Contest website using your AAPC username and password. If you do not have one, you can create one before logging in.
- After logging in, click on “Click Here to Register and Enter” on the home page. If you have already created entries, click on “My Applications” on the left side of the screen and click “Edit” on the entry you would like to continue.
- There are 3 steps that need to be completed before you can pay for and submit your entry. Please make sure that you fill in any area that has a red “*” next to the question. The four steps include
- Entry: This is where you will choose the category, the Title of the entry, and your contact information. Please be sure to type the title exactly how you would like it to appear on a trophy and include the address you would like your trophies sent to if you win (no P.O. Boxes)
- Entry Information: This is where you will answer questions about the campaign you worked on and the piece of work you are entering
- Uploads: At least one upload or URL is required per entry. Entries in divisions or categories that might not have creative collateral can include uploads like their field plan, supporting data, or any other information that demonstrates the political effectiveness of the entry.
- Once you have completed all of the required fields for your entry, click on “Add to Cart.” This button can be found at the bottom of the “Uploads” page. It will only appear when your entry is complete.
- You can either pay for one submission at a time or all at once. If you would like to create another entry at this point, click on “Make Another Entry” on the left of the page. If you would like to submit your entry, click on “Check Out.” You will then be taken to the payment page. Pay your balance and click on “Finalize” to submit your entry/entries to move them to judging.
- Once you have paid for and submitted your entries you can print your invoice/receipt for your records. You can go back and view these invoices at any time by logging into your profile and clicking on the “Invoices” button under “My Applications” on the left side of the screen. Your invoices will also be emailed to you shortly after payment.
You can go back and view all of the entries you have submitted by clicking on “My Applications” and then finding the entry you would like to view under “Complete” entries and clicking on “View.” You cannot make changes to the entries you have already submitted.
If you have not yet submitted the entry you would like to view, look under the “Incomplete” entries section, find the entry you would like to view, and click on “Edit” under the “Actions” tab. If the entry is not there, you may have completed and not yet paid for it. If this is the case, look under the “In Cart” section. If the entry is there and you would like to submit it, click on “In Cart” on the left side of the screen and pay for your entry. If you would like to continue to edit your entry, click on “Remove from Cart” under the “Actions” tab.
The same entry may be entered in multiple categories as long as it meets eligibility requirements. An entry fee will be applied to each entry and each entry must be submitted individually to the appropriate categories.
If you would like to duplicate an existing entry to submit in a different category, follow the steps below:
- Login to the AAPC Contest website using your AAPC username and password.
- Go to the “My Applications” link on the left side of the screen.
- Locate the entry you have completed and would like to duplicate. Please Note: you must have already submitted the entry to copy it.
- Click on “Copy Submission” under the “Actions” tab.
- Choose the new category you would like to submit the entry into and click “Make A Copy” at the bottom of the screen.
- Make sure all of the information is correct within the entry and submit!
Delete an Entry
To edit an entry, click on “My Applications” to the left of the screen and find the entry you would like to make changes to. Then click on “Edit” under the “Actions” tab and you can make your changes. Make sure to save your entry every time you make changes to it. If you have already submitted an entry, you can no longer make changes to it.
To delete an entry, click on “My Applications” to the left of the screen and find the entry you would like to delete. Then click on “Remove” under the “Actions” tab and click “OK” when you are asked if you are sure you would like to delete the entry. If you have already submitted an entry, you cannot delete it.
Technical Guidelines for File Uploads
Entries must use the following specifications. No other file formats will be allowed.
Accepted file formats:
|Images:||JPG/JPEG – Web safe RBG format only|
|Audio:||MP3, WAV, WMA, AU|
|Video:||MPEG/MPG – plays in WMP and QuickTime players
MOV– plays in only QuickTime players, but is a popular, easy format
SWF– plays in only Flash player, but is a popular, powerful and rich format
WMV– plays only in WMP players (Windows Media Player)
If your entry is not in English, you MUST provide a translation or detailed synopsis in the space provided on the online entry form.
Radio: Translations to be uploaded in a PDF document.
TV: Translations should be included. Subtitles should be clearly legible.
Websites: Translate only relevant menu selections, headlines, and text.
International entries/non-U.S. campaigns can still be submitted into the categories
All entries are judged against the same criteria: political effectiveness, creativity and professionalism – whether the work was completed for a U.S.-based campaign or not. Simply submit international work into any of the categories it's best suited for (as appropriate). For example, if you were looking for "Best Use of Phones" that was previously in our International Division, you may enter that work in any of our appropriate 2021 Phone categories. Keep in mind, all entries are evaluated within the campaign context in which they were designed so it is critically important, especially for International entries, that you fill out the background information/context for your submission so the judges will be able to evaluate your entry knowledgeably.
Students may submit actual campaign work including campaigns for student government, as well as academic work done in conjunction with an applied politics course or at a campaign school. Work submitted must have been completed between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. The Student Pollie Awards are a great opportunity for tomorrow’s campaign professionals to present their best work for national recognition, and launch their career.Group work is limited to groups no greater than 4 and one award will be given with the option for others in the group to purchase additional Pollie trophies. If group work is submitted, a project manager from the group must be designated. The project manager should also be the contact name on the entry.
Student entries will be judged with the same criteria and by the same judges as the 2021 Pollie Contest. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards may be awarded in order from highest score to third place in each category at the sole discretion of the judges.
AAPC Student Members and Student Non-Members can submit entries to the Student Awards, but the $25 entry price per Student submission is reserved for AAPC Student Members only. This price is only accepted for the Student Pollie categories – if an AAPC Student Member wishes to enter the main Pollie Contest it is $150 per entry. Student Non-Members must pay the Non-Member price of $225 per entry or join AAPC as a Student Member for $60 to receive member pricing.
*IMPORTANT: The address provided in the winning submissions is where the trophies will be sent. DO NOT provide the AAPC with a school address or an apartment address where you will no longer be living after the school year. Trophies will be shipped at the conclusion of the 2021 Pollie Awards & Conference.
Direct Mail & Collateral Submissions
AAPC will NOT be requiring HARD COPIES for direct mail and collateral entries. Rather, entrants must upload electronic copies of each collateral/direct mail piece to accompany each entry.
AAPC will contact you if you are selected as a 2021 Pollie Award winner, but will keep your winning entry and award level confidential until the 2021 Pollie Awards Ceremony.
More details to come about the’s Pollie Awards & Ceremony.
Questions? If you have any additional questions, please contact us via email at email@example.com, or by phone at 703-245-8020.