The IHAF Awards: It's a Whole New Year

We have a confession to make. When IHAF boldly declared that the IHAF Awards show must go on last year, we didn’t immediately know what the experience would be like as a virtual event. But we put our faith in the camaraderie of our connected community and received a flood of entries (mid-pandemic, no less) resulting in a celebration that was both refreshingly different and unmistakably IHAF.

The IHAF Awards—often imitated, never duplicated—are open for entries once again. And while it’s tempting to put COVID-19 in the rearview, we’re shaking up the entry criteria to reflect its undeniable impact on in-house teams and the work they produce. Here’s all you need to know about this year’s competitions.

In-House Creativity Awards
Internal crews will unleash their winning-est work upon the In-House Creativity Awards, a carnival of creative excellence. It’s a showdown across 43 print and digital categories, from classics like TV spots and out-of-home ads to digital upstarts like mobile apps and augmented reality.

IHAF Awards veterans will notice several new entry categories this year. Only the most agile event marketers will shine in the new Virtual Events category. Meanwhile, four new classes of COVID Communications—something we’ve all had to master in some form—are anybody’s game! Each of our 40+ categories has its own Honorable Mention, Silver and Gold awards up for grabs. That’s over 120 chances to win, if you’re an opportunist (or mathematically challenged—no judgment here).

AB InBev's Budweiser Kiss Bottles
IHAF 2020 In-House Creativity Awards Best of Show

The entry that best demonstrates creative excellence across all categories wins the highly sought-after Best of Show award, with Anheuser-Busch InBev as the reigning champ for its Budweiser Kiss Bottles in the Packaging category last year. In-house teams that are crushing it with creativity should submit their finest work by the June 30 deadline.

In-House Agency of the Year
Dozens of in-house teams will compete, but only the most outstanding among them will clinch the title of In-House Agency of the Year. This award recognizes the unique contributions internal agencies make within their respective corporations.

Our latest honoree is The Hatch, the stellar team at Cisco Systems that serves as a committed, strategic partner to its internal clients worldwide. If you somehow missed the fanfare, you can check out their story to see just how high this crew set the bar for their successor.

illustration collage of Cisco's The Hatch, IHAF's 2020 In-House Agency of the Year

Cisco Systems' The Hatch
IHAF 2020 In-House Agency of the Year

The 2021 In-House Agency of the Year will best demonstrate how they effectively cleared the hurdles of COVID-19. What unique challenges did you face? And, how did you overcome those obstacles without compromising performance, productivity and partnership? Your answers are an essential part of your nomination for top shop, due by the August 31 cutoff.

The Big Reveal
Creative excellence and team performance take center stage at the IHAF Conference & Awards, our flagship event for in-house agency pros, currently set for November 9-10. We will announce the In-House Creativity Awards winners at the IHAF Awards show to wrap day one, then reveal our next In-House Agency of the Year at a special luncheon the next day. One more plus to look forward to: we plan for this year’s Conference to be a hybrid event, with opportunities to attend virtually or in-person at the Long Wharf Marriott in Boston.

Now is the time to start planning your entries. It’s a whole new year!

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