DEPT®’s 10 Rules for Winning the Lovie Agency of the Year Award

A Chat with the 2023 Lovie Agency of the Year, DEPT®. Read on for their rulebook on how to eclipse the competition.

For the second year in a row—snagging a record-breaking 65 Lovie Awards—DEPT® was crowned the 2023 Lovie Agency of the Year. But how did they do it?

We spoke with João Inácio, Creative Director at DEPT®, to give us a peek into their 10 rules for success when creating for digital. Dive into their techniques for making some of the most impressive campaigns on the Internet.

  • How do you think outside of the box when everyone’s trying to do the same?

    I stay away from all tech, Google, any set of data and digital impulses. I start with my own experience, my gut feeling. I write on a notebook, I put all thoughts on paper. I then start reading about the subject, understanding what’s going on in the world of said topic I’m working on. Then I sleep on it a few times and something magical starts happening.

  • How do you take the idea to brief?

    If you can summarise the idea in 3 slides and someone that knows nothing about the project can get it, it means you’re good to go.

  • How do you meet your audience in the middle?

    The work we do is all about the brand and the audience. But even more about the audience. You need to know them from the inside out. See what really makes them tick. So, we love to test our ideas with REAL consumers. Using tools that connect us to real people, or inviting a big group to the office and run ideas by them, that’s how we validate things.

  • How and where do you start on a project?

    It’s very intuitive—when we create a debrief from the original client briefing, we detail all of those components so that we make sure nothing gets left behind.

  • Where does collaboration fit in your project?

    It really depends on the project. If it’s a more traditional content/film setting, we bring in the right production company as we have a good idea of where we want to go and a base script to rely on. But we’ve worked with creators, artists and other talented folks that can come at the very beginning of things to shape up the idea from the get go. We never know what we’re gonna do when the briefing comes in, so it’s really a case by case approach.

  • What's a must-have in your arsenal?

    Openness to accept any thought or idea, courage to speak your mind and opinion, ‘impossible is nothing’ mentality, and a tremendous amount of fun.

  • On the flip, what's the one thing you always try to avoid?

    Egos, fear and impossibilities.

  • Did you mess up?

    All the time. You fix it by realising the mistake and going back to do it again. We’re in the business of rejection, things will not be perfect always, far from it, so it’s important to know whatever the misstep it can always be fixed.

  • How do you know when to stop?

    Deadlines make you stop. The creative process is an endless pursuit of the perfect output, the one you had exactly in your mind. But if creativity isn’t given a box in the form of time, budget or any other limitation we creatives like to complain about, then we are lost. We need a box to think inside of.

  • What’s Your North Star?

    Trust the process.

The 14th Annual Lovie Awards is Open for Entries!

We’re thrilled to launch two new inaugural Special Achievement honours, Collaboration of the Year and Brand of the Year—recognitions for only the highest-performing teams in the competition.

To put yours in the running, enter before the Early Entry Deadline on Friday, 26th April!