The award for marketing excellence is an incentive for people to upgrade their marketing standards and recognise past achievements. Angela Bassage, chairman of the award's organising committee, said the contest, now entering its 11th year, was an important business event because busy marketing professionals seldom took time to look back on achievements. 'It was a challenging year for marketers because they had to remain competitive in a poor market,' she said. 'I believe the Chinese are opportunistic and they are constantly coming up with new ways to do things in a cost-efficient way to get the highest return,' Miss Bassage said. It was important to distinguish the difference between marketing and advertising because the awards were not about expensive advertising campaigns. 'Advertisements go more into promotion and communications. To be a total marketer, a person would have to be involved in the development of the product, its pricing and organising the people to sell it.' Forty-two companies were nominated for the award. The nominations were thinned out to a short list of six - Kingswood Villas Metamorphosis, DHL International, the Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank, HMV Hong Kong and the Hong Kong and China Gas Co. They were required to give presentations on the merits of their campaign to a panel of six judges who selected gold, silver and bronze winners. Ms Bassage said the panel assessed the companies on basis of the rationale behind their marketing programme, their strategy, the results which were achieved as measured against original objectives, use of meritorious aspects, creativity and market research.