The Cresta International Advertising Awards are a worldwide awards whose purpose is to acknowledge high standards of creative achievement in the international advertising and marketing communications industry. It functions through an alternative judging process based upon narrow criteria.
The awards, launched in 1993 by Creative Standards International in partnership with the International Advertising Association, were spearheaded by Nancy Ross, who had beforehand helped to run the Clio Awards for 16 years. Cresta, which stands for "Creative Standards", has grown to cover twelve distinct groups of competition: Press, Outdoor, Ambient Media, TV/Cinema/Online Film, Interactive, Radio, Direct Marketing, Design, Incentives & Promotions, Branded Entertainment, Crafts and Integrated Campaigns.
Cresta's U.S. headquarters is located in New York City.
Cresta is an extensive and highly selective awards program, an official 2017 press release noting a reception of more than 3,300 entries from 53 countries for the 2016 competition, with 74 entries from 13 countries designated as winners. Entries are screened by several international "pre-selection" juries responsible for compiling a shortlist to be given to a Grand Jury of seasoned creative directors, graphic artists, and film specialists from around the world. The Cresta Grand Jury, unlike the pre-selection juries, is a permanent jury consisting of 86 members from 45 countries. Members judge the shortlisted entries on their own time and individually, the no-discussion policy placing stress on creativity solely. This body decides on the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners, as well as if an entry has met the pre-determined standard of earning a Grand Prix award, based on two elements: originality of the idea and the quality of the idea's execution.
In 2010, Cresta introduced the Network of the Year and Agency of the Year honors, given out to those whose entries meet the highest scores, based on a point breakdown, in all levels of competition.
For its first 12 years in existence, Cresta held its awards ceremony in a number of cities throughout the world, including Budapest, Milan, and New York. It was determined after the 2004 awards that future winners would be announced via an online ceremony, allowing exponentially more participants the chance to view the winners. The annual winners are currently released in a virtual showcase designed for all electronic devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
The Cresta statuette is a crystal "S" shape with an embedded metal "C" component, together meant to embody the "Creative Standards" namesake. This component is color-coded in order to reflect the four levels of winners: Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Entries submitted must be "broadcast, published or released in a commercial environment with client approval" according to a specific timeframe, and additionally accompanied by the respective single or campaign entry fees.