“There is a special pride and passion for me in preparing for the Carton Awards Gala.  Throughout the entire year, I get involved in many tasks which contribute to the overall appeal and success of the Awards celebration ceremony:

  • Early on in the process, I spend a lot of time talking to students and professors.  This is acquisition, explanation and motivation time.  I share details of the Awards competitions with them, talk about our industry and they share the most incredible passion and energy for design and innovation with me.
  • We set ourselves the target of 100 entries for the ECEA.  Selling the benefits and talking to Pro Carton and ECMA members, hosting and attending exhibitions also attended by end-users and design agencies.
  • June comes, judging time!  Do we have a  powerful judging team together for all the Awards?  Do we have all the expertise covered that we need? My straight forward answer: Yes we have. No doubt!
  • During July and August, we have an intense period of Public Award voting for all 3 of the Carton Awards, comprising some 50-60 entries that the judges have shortlisted for the public to review and vote for.
  • Several weeks before the Awards Gala, we are making final amendments to the Winners’ brochures, press releases, social media announcements. Trophies have to be made and certificates have to be written for the winners.
  • One of my favourite moments in the whole process this year was my recent visit to the Awards Gala venue in Seville – only once you are in the building do you get a real feel for the scale of the Gala.  Still a “naked” venue, soon to be filled with staging, lights, sounds, screens and finally the audience that will add the spice to the evening on 21st September.
  • Then of course the presentation has to be prepared.  Some 50+ winners will make it up on stage on Gala night and all deserve attention to detail when it comes to the graphics, musical clips and stage props that will accompany their special moment.  Also fun to choose an appropriate special outfit for the night!
  • Heart rate goes up … looking forward to seeing you on September 21st.

The Carton Awards competitions and Gala can only run well with the back-up of a team of passionate people, so my heartfelt thanks go to the Storm team, W&W Graphik und Design, Le Jeune Association Management, Susanne Lippitsch, Katie Ryan and e-sterling.”

Winfried Mühling, Pro Carton Director of Marketing & Communication

Twin Bags for Popcorn and Beverages-277858

15th September 2022 … delegates gather to celebrate the announcement of the pan European Carton Awards 2022 winners at the Pro Carton / ECMA Gala evening in Krakow, Poland.  The Awards ceremony goes off without a hitch, the organisers breathe a sigh of relief as the Winners remained a secret until their announcement on stage and Winfried Mühling’s hosting of the show goes down a storm.

Over at www.procarton.com HQ, the Pro Carton website team get back to work checking that everything they have prepared over the last few months is ready to go live on the website for the following morning – all winners will be announced, images and stories published, brochures uploaded, photos and videos of the Gala evening the night before all in place on the Pro Carton website.

In 2021, Pro Carton invested in a new, highly-automated website – one which combined several existing Pro Carton websites into one well-oiled “www.” machine – an investment in automation that was very well made!  Now, www.procarton.com:

  • Ensures that almost 1000 Carton Awards entries contain every piece of information they need to qualify them for judging.
  • Enables the Storm Awards team to shortlist entries based on pre-judging criteria.
  • Gives expert judges remote portal access to review and rank all shortlisted entries digitally.
  • Produces automated bespoke email information for unsuccessful entrants.
  • Produces automated bespoke messages for successful entrants – time to send in your prototypes!
  • Transfers face-to-face judging decisions to the website – ready for Public Voting.
  • Processes over 12,000 online public votes across all Carton Awards competitions – bots screened out and a double validation system interspersed with manual spot checks to ensure all votes are valid.
  • Converts Award “Entries” into Award “Winners” at the flick of a switch – with web pages automatically cascading down to a protected area of the website – ready for final web page and url link checks.
  • Downloads the professionally photographed images that will flood the website on the morning of 16th September 2022 when the Award winners are announced in Krakow, Poland.

So the functionality of the www.procarton.com website enables the Carton Awards teams to focus more of their time on the human details that make the Awards Competitions and the Gala Night special for everyone who takes part.

  • “Securing the back of our front-liners”.
  • Guaranteeing functionality and usability of the website at any time.
  • Managing the website experience of 100,000 users each year.

Katie Ryan, Pro Carton Website, Member Newsletters

While Storm has worked with Pro Carton in a communications capacity for five years, this is the first year that we have helped manage the European Carton Excellence Award, Pro Carton Young Designers Award and Pro Carton Student Video Award. It has been a hugely rewarding experience for our team, engaging with some incredible students and encouraging convertors and designers to submit more of their superb carton packages.

As with most rewarding experiences in life, we have learnt a lot along the way. And this will put us in a much stronger position to improve the experience the awards offer entrants in future years. Here are just some of the things we have been doing since we began working on the awards in January 2023:

  • We had a series of very thorough handover meetings with the fantastic Suzanne Mc Ewen and Helena Schutte, who had run the awards for many years. During these meetings we discussed all aspects of the awards, from the entry form creation and newsletters, to the creation of certificates and logistics on the gala night itself. I would like to thank both Helena and Suzanne for helping us get up to speed so quickly.
  • In February the entry form for the European Carton Excellence Award 2023 went live and our team began engaging with convertors, brand owners and designers to encourage entries. We were set an ambitious target of increasing the number of entries this year to over 100.
  • From March to May a steady flow of entries came into our inboxes from students and the wider packaging community. It was great to see so many coming through, although we were still nervous about hitting all the targets. Thankfully during the deadline week, a huge number arrived to take us past our target numbers!
  • Throughout this time, we began speaking to the team at Lejeune Association Management about the judging day and the logistics of getting physical packages to The Hague. Again, I’d like to thank Barbara Ginter and Angela Ashruf for their help in making the judging day run so smoothly.
  • The judging day was a fantastic experience for our team. We met the supremely knowledgeable judging team for the European Carton Excellence Award and Pro Carton Young Designers Award. It’s hard to describe the challenges of running this session – the logistics of getting our judges to arrive on time and the issues of packages from entrants that get stopped in customs, learning about each package that has been entered and what its benefits are, ensuring the winners of each category are sent to the photographer – the list goes on. It was a challenging, but enjoyable few days in The Netherlands.
  • Now that the winners were chosen and finalists selected, we launched the Public Award through the Pro Carton website, media and a series of newsletters. Again, we had an ambitious total of 10,000 votes as a target – a significant growth on last year. Thankfully, we saw the votes coming in thick and fast throughout the four-week period. During this time, our LinkedIn activity started to take off. Engagement was at record levels – thank you to everyone that liked, commented and, ultimately, voted.
  • During this time, we began work on the awards brochure, certificates and trophies. What seems like a simple task, is hugely complex. We had to order materials from WestRock for frames and trophy sleeves and calculate the numbers for each that need to be produced and much more. A huge thank you to Susanne Lippitsch for all her advice and hard work in producing the frames and trophies – they will look amazing on the night. The brochure copy was written by our team over several days, checking carefully on all the details of the entrants. We worked closely with W&W Grafik und Design to create the design, which will also look fantastic.
  • Our final jigsaw piece has been the presentation for the evening itself. This, I hope you will agree, will look great and will be a suitable backdrop for when all the successful entrants come on stage.
2023 YDA judging day

Finally, I would like to thank everyone that engaged with Storm regarding the awards this year. It has been a learning experience for us. The awards are complex, with many moving pieces, and we have learnt a lot over the last nine months. We are extremely excited to be meeting everyone in Seville and celebrating together. The evening will be special and I’m certain it will be a great experience for everyone present.

After 21 September… We continue the work we have already started on the 2024 awards programmes!

Adam Craig, Head of Corporate, Storm Communications