Presto! Celebrating Magical Communications: The 2016 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards, presented by Willis Towers Watson

The St. Louis Quill Awards recognize the best communication efforts in the region.

Judged by other IABC chapters around the nation, a St. Louis Quill is one of the most prestigious awards a communicator, designer, or marketing strategist can earn. IABC St. Louis celebrates those area professionals who executed marketing, communications, or public relations projects that help drive excellence.

2016 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards

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2015 Anthem Total Rewards Communication Campaign

Buck Consultants

Brand Introduction/Management

On The Rocks or Neat: Luxco Launches Blood Oath Bourbon Series
Common Ground Public Relations

Electronic and Digital Communication

2016 Benefits Enrollment Website
BJC Communications & Marketing

Internal Communication

Communication Transformation
St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Marketing Communication

Alphabet Postcard Campaign
Gabriel Group

Non-profit and Philanthropy

Passport to Hope
Schumacher Creative

Overall Communication Program

Gateway Arch 50th Anniversary Common
Ground Public Relations

Special Events

Innovations – Dot’s Annual Trade Show
Dot Foods

Doorways Red HOT
Schumacher Creative

Graphic Design

Alphabet Postcard Campaign
Gabriel Group

Doorways Red HOT
Schumacher Creative

Almanac Holiday Gift 2015

Interactive Media

Missouri Foundation for Health Website
Missouri Foundation for Health


2015 Anthem Total Rewards Communication Campaign
Buck Consultants

St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation Direct Mail 2015


Operation Command Center By the Numbers

Non-profit and Philanthropy

Your Move Chess: Empowering Youth in Ferguson Through Chess

MasterCard 2016 STEM EXPO

Social Media

Long Live Pets
True Media

Graphic Design

Yolklore Identity

DITALIA Identity


Good Day Ascension

Operation Food Search Brochure

Graybar Outlook

2015 Concordia Communications
Buck Consultants

Presto! Celebrating Magical Communications, 2016 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor: Willis Towers Watson

Premier Sponsors

Premier Sponsor, Weber Shandwick

Premier Sponsor, Buck Consultants


Patron Sponsor

Patron Sponsor, Sneller Creative


Any work produced or published between January 2015 and June 2016 may be entered in the 2016 IABC St. Louis Quills. However, any such entries cannot be submitted again for the 2017 IABC St. Louis Quills competition but may be submitted to the regional or international IABC competitions, the Pacific Plains Silver Quills or the Gold Quills, as long as they meet those guidelines.

All St. Louis-area business communications professionals can submit work for consideration. One doesn’t have to be an IABC member to enter. Although, being a member does mean a decent discount on entry and event fees. See more about membership here.

All students in the fields of mass communications, public relations, marketing, advertising, business writing and communications or an equivalent field are also encouraged to enter. The same professional standards of presentation are required.  Note: A reduced entry fee has been established for submissions by students.

See “Preparing Your Entry” for details on how to complete the required work plan and how to prepare your work sample.

Divisions and Categories - Summary
There are 18 categories in two divisions:

  1. Communication Management
    1. Brand Introduction/Management
    2. Electronic and Digital Communication
    3. Government and Community Relations
    4. Human Resources and Benefit Communication
    5. Internal Communication
    6. Issues Management and Crisis Communication
    7. Marketing Communication
    8. Non-profit and Philanthropy
    9. Overall Communication Program
    10. Social Media
    11. Special Events
  2. Creative & Technical Skills
    1. Advertising
    2. Graphic Design
    3. Illustration
    4. Interactive Media
    5. Photography
    6. Publication
    7. Video
    8. Writing

Select the division and category that best fit your entry. A work product may be submitted in multiple divisions but in only one category per division. Carefully consider the guidelines for divisions and categories provided. Entries that are clearly submitted in inappropriate categories will not be considered. For guidance on selecting one or more appropriate categories for a work product, contact Mary C. Foshage at 314-779-6586 or  


Your entry will be evaluated by experienced communications professionals from IABC chapters across the country, giving you an opportunity to receive objective, professional feedback and sharpen your strategic and creative communication skills. Members of the IABC St. Louis chapter are not eligible to judge this contest.

Entries will be evaluated using the IABC Seven-Point Scale of Excellence, based on their individual merit, not in competition with each other. The committee reserves the right to bestow a limited number of Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit in each category. If no entry in a particular category displays award-winning qualities, no award will be made in that category.

For each entry, judges will assign the following weights to the work plan and the work sample:

  • Communication Management (Division 1) ― Work plan, 50%; work sample, 50%
  • Creative & Technical Skills (Division 2) ― Work plan, 40%; work sample, 60%

Student entries must follow the guidelines for the categories in which they are entered to the extent possible. Judges will take into consideration any special circumstances and constraints noted in the work plan and score student entries accordingly.

Notification of Winners

Entrants will be notified as to whether they are among the winners or not by email in August. Award levels and the “Best in Show” award will be revealed at the 2016 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards dinner and ceremony on Sept. 22.

Submitting a Showcase Piece

A showcase piece should be a representative sample of your entry, like a highlight reel or mood board. They will be displayed at the awards event if you are selected as a winner.

Physical showcase pieces should not exceed 11” x 17” in size. Video showcase pieces are best if uploaded to YouTube, but digital files via memory stick are acceptable. Submit one showcase piece per entry.

Send your showcase pieces to:
Alice Telios-Dunlap, 3440 Mackey Wherry Street, St. Charles, MO 63301 or

Preparing Your Entry
  1. Choose a division and category ― You may submit a single piece of work or elements of a larger project in more than one division. However, the same work cannot be submitted in multiple categories within one division. Contact Mary C. Foshage at if need to talk through the best way to enter your work(s).
  2. Complete a work plan ― The work plan describes your project, how it was developed and what you intended to achieve. See the next section (“Work plan”) for details.
  3. Prepare a work sample ― The work sample is the end product of a communications plan or the campaign tactics. See the section titled “Work sample” for details.
  4. Submit your entry and fee ― Follow the step-by-step instructions to complete the submission form, upload your work plan and work sample, and make payment. Note: Work plan files are limited to 100 MB total and work sample files are limited to 2 GB total. Submissions and fees must be received by 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 23, 2016. Fees for multiple entries can be made via a single PayPal payment; PayPal membership is not required to make an online payment.Online entry form will be live soon!

Submitted entries become the property of IABC St. Louis and will not be returned. Entries that do not meet all the guidelines will be disqualified without refund.

Work Plan

Provide the following information at the top of your work plan:

  • Entrant name (as you want it to appear on the award)
  • Entry title (as you want it to appear on the award)
  • Division and category
  • Entrant’s organization
  • Client organization (if applicable)
  • Project time period
  • Brief description of entry (one or two sentences)

Work plans should be PDFs (not Microsoft Word or other text documents) based on a standard 8.5” x 11” page, with 1” margins and font size of at least 10 pt. Work plans should be comprehensive but must not exceed three pages in length. Entries whose work plans exceed the page limit will be disqualified. Work plan files are limited to 100 MB.

Include information that addresses the following elements using the headings provided below.


Provide an overview of the project that includes (1) the communication need or opportunity your work addressed, (2) the issues the organization faced, including any impact on performance, reputation, image, profits, participation, etc., and (3) any formal or informal research findings supporting your analysis of the need or opportunity.

Intended Audience

Identify your primary audience, as well as any additional audiences. Describe the key characteristics (needs, preference, demographics, mindset, etc.) that you took into account in developing your solution.

Goals and Objectives

Identify the broad, future-oriented goals of the project and describe how they align with the needs of the organization. Goals do not need to be directly measurable. Describe the project’s objectives, which should be realistic and measurable by outcomes (e.g., quantity, time, cost, , quality).

Note: For Division 2: Creative & Technical Skills, objectives do not need to be quantifiable. However, you should explain the creative objectives, the outcomes you targeted and how the creative objectives contributed to solving the business need or opportunity.

Solution Rationale/Development

Summarize the project solution, outlining the logic that supported it. Tell why you did what you did. The solution should demonstrate your thinking, imagination and approach to solving the problem. Discuss how you involved stakeholders (e.g., customers, colleagues) in developing the solution.

Key Messages/Theme

Identify the key messages or theme. What was most critical to convey?

Implementation and Challenges

  • Present the tactics and communication vehicles used.
  • State your project budget. You will not be judged on the budget amount, generous or limited, but you should show efficient use of money, time, resources, etc.
  • Discuss time frames.
  • Describe any limitations or challenges faced in selling and implementing your ideas. Judges are looking for flexibility and a willingness to resolve problems and negotiate solutions.
  • Note any special circumstances that affected the final result and discuss how you addressed them.

A word about project budgets: Do not hesitate to enter projects on shoestring budgets. The judges will be looking for strategic thinking and creative execution. Producing a great communications project with limited resources could earn you extra points.


For Division 1: Communication Management: Explain how you measured your results and include final data (or most current). Every result should be linked to one or more objectives. Measurement should demonstrate outcomes, not outputs.

For example, if your social media campaign was in support of a product launch, your measurements should be tied to sales targets, the number of qualified sales leads or other bottom-line measures, not just to the number of “likes” and impressions, advertising value equivalent or other output measures.

For Division 2: Creative & Technical Skills: Explain (1) how your creative/technical solution/skill impacted the business need or opportunity of the organization and (2) that you achieved your objectives. Measured results tied to objectives are not required for this division, but if data are available, please include to show an increase in sales, traffic, engaged participation, readership or other outcomes.

Special guidelines for student entries

If your entry is based on a school assignment or an internship project, your project may not have had a budget. If so, state this in your work plan, but be sure to thoughtfully complete the rest of the work plan section, making modifications appropriate for your student project.

For example, your time frame might be the period from the date you received the assignment until the due date. Your clear explanation of how you managed your time and handled challenges, limitations or special circumstances will give the judges insights into your strategic communications skills and will heavily influence your final score.

Work Sample

The work sample consists of the components illustrating your communication program, for example, videos, print publications, design work, copy decks or scripts, executive summaries of research results, photography and computer programs. In short, your work sample should represent the full scope of your work.

Please submit the highest-quality samples possible in any of the following file formats:

  • .jpg
  • .pdf
  • .mp3
  • .mp4
  • .mov
  • For websites, please provide the URL or IP address of the site in your work plan.
Division 1: Communication Management

What the division covers: Projects, programs and campaigns that are guided by a communication strategy. Entries can include multiple communication materials.

What the work plan must reveal: How the project applied a full range of planning and management skills, including research, analysis, strategy, tactical implementation and evaluation. Note: Individual elements of a communication program―such as brochures, websites and newsletters―can also be entered in Division 2: Creative & Technical Skills. However, the same work product―or elements of a work product―can be submitted in only one category per division.

Category 1: Brand Introduction/Management Branding strategy for a new brand or the repositioning of an existing brand. Entries should show the research underlying the changes to an existing brand or the creation of a new brand, including brand architectures, changes in corporate identity and design solutions to address the brand communication challenge.

Category 2:  Electronic and Digital Communication ― Projects that primarily use one-way electronic communication to share published content with internal or external audiences (e.g., e-newsletters, electronic annual reports, internal/external websites). Please consider carefully whether your program fits this category or Category 9: Social Media.

Category 3: Government and Community Relations ― Programs addressing social and economic issues (e.g., economic revitalization, cultural preservation, education, literacy, health, poverty reduction, employment, indigenous and heritage protection).

Category 4: Human Resources and Benefit Communication ― Programs targeting employee or member audiences that address issues such as health and welfare, savings and retirement, stock and compensation, or recruitment and retention.

Category 5:  Internal Communication Programs targeting employee or member audiences, including programs to create awareness and influence opinion or behavioral change, and those focused on management communication, ethics, morale, internal culture or change management.

Category 6:  Issues Management and Crisis Communication ― Programs that address trends, issues or attitudes that have a significant impact on an organization, such as labor relations, crises, mergers or acquisitions, public policy and the environment.

Category 7:  Marketing Communication ― Programs aimed at marketing products or services to one or more external audiences (e.g., electronic marketing, direct marketing).

Category 8: Non-profit and Philanthropy ― Programs recognizing the particular challenges of the non-profit sector and/or philanthropic efforts, may include multiple internal or external audiences, promote non-profit organizations or causes, and may be paid projects or pro-bono projects donated to the client by an organization, agency or consultancy; entries will generally have a small budget or none at all.

Category 9:  Overall Communication Program ― Programs or campaigns created to enhance an organization’s relationship with, or provide information to, a key audience by incorporating multiple program elements (e.g., media relations, brand communications, special events). Submit complete but concise entries with representative samples of multiple program elements. Submit photos of physical elements/collaterals.

Category 10:  Social Media ― Programs that encompass a fast-evolving range of new tools and practices to encourage individuals and groups to collaborate and share knowledge and experiences electronically (e.g., blogs, podcasts, social networks, micro-blogging, virtual networking platforms).

Category 11:  Special Events Programs promoting any event that marks a significant occasion supporting the goals of an organization (e.g., anniversary celebration, official opening, product launch, conference, road show, customer or employee appreciation event).

Division 2: Creative & Technical Skills

What the division covers: Individual communication elements (e.g., publications, advertising, websites, videos) that showcase creative and technical skills.

What the work plan must reveal: Innovation, creativity and strategic alignment with the organization’s business goals.

Category 12:  Advertising Creative and innovative use of advertising media, including film/TV, radio and print, as well as advertising intended for public audiences, including billboards, murals and public sculpture, outdoor and transport posters and decorations, signage, awnings and street furniture.

Category 13:  Graphic Design Design of an organizational brand identity or other graphic project for which design is the primary communication function, including cartoons, illustrations, paintings, collages, montages, posters, displays, bulletin boards, mobiles, invitations, signage, book and magazine covers, organizational identity (e.g., logos), product labels and packaging, direct marketing items and materials, and 3-D materials (e.g., T-shirts).

Category 14:  Illustration Original illustrations created or commissioned for a communication project, including single illustrations and multiple illustrations comprising a series.

Category 15:  Interactive Media Design of electronic and interactive media elements, including internal and external website design, CDs and DVDs, e-cards, banner ads, buttons and pop-ups.

Category 16:  Photography Original photographs created or commissioned for a communication project, including single photos and photo essays.

Category 17:  Publication Short-form or long-form works that demonstrate the effective blending and balancing of written and design elements, including benefits materials, annual reports, newsletters, books (including e-books) and manuals.

Category 18:  Video Videos, including those created for instructional, marketing or promotional purposes.

Category 19: Writing Original writing, including personality profiles, features or columns, editorials, advertorials, interpretive/expository articles, news articles, speeches, scripts, news releases and sales/marketing collateral. Entries in this category will be judged only on the writing skills exhibited, not on any design elements that might be included in the work product.