Award ceremonies in 2020 have been, for want of a better word, interesting. I believe that we need all the good news that we can get, so I’m pleased that so many ceremonies went ahead, despite the pandemic. My personal favourite ceremony was the Emmys. Seeing people dressed in hazmat suits loitering outside the houses of those that had been shortlisted perfectly sums up how strange this year has been.

Even though the Cannes Lions were cancelled this year, we still had the IPA Effectiveness Awards, D&AD Awards, MarketingWeek Masters and Third Sector Awards. The world of Marketing can be relentless at times, which means that it can be hard to catch your breath to recognise work outside of your category or from different countries. This year I wanted to share my favourite campaigns…

D&AD Awards

D&AD stands for Design and Art Direction, established in 1962 to promote excellence in design and advertising. Every year they celebrate excellence in design and advertising. Winners receive a D&AD pencil, the most prestigious of which is their iconic black pencil. My two personal favourite campaigns from the D&AD came from the WWF and Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Wood Pencil – Impact
Your Plastic Diet – WWF

How would you feel if someone told you that we ate 100,000 microplastics a year? Perplexed? While most of us have heard of microplastics, many wouldn’t know what 100,000 microplastics looked like. To help quantify that we eat 100,000 microplastics a year, Grey Malaysia created a campaign that highlighted that we eat a credit card every week. The campaign created the largest fastest movement in WWF history.

Black Pencil – Book Design
The Gun Violence History Book

Small marketing budgets often force agencies to approach a challenge from a different angle. When FCB Chicago was approached by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, they created The Gun Violence History Book. I don’t think I can articulate the book in a way that does it the proper justice that it deserves, so I’ll let you watch the video instead

After being awarded a Black Pencil, Bruno Mazzotti, VP, Creative Director at FCB Chicago, shared this message on his LinkedIn account:

“This is one of the hardest projects that I’ve worked in my entire career. Not only because of the technical complexity of producing a book with almost 1,000 pages, but for the content of it. It was tough. There are stories that I wish I had never read, that I wish never existed. But the purpose was clear, making people learn from the past to try to somehow change the future. I know, it’s not easy, but we’re trying.

Today this piece was recognized with a Black Pencil at D&AD, one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. What an honor, guys. congrats to everyone who helped to build this and let’s keep trying.”

Third Sector Awards

Marketing Campaign of the year – Winner
Anthony Nolan – Without you

I love campaigns that take you on a journey. In as little as 90 seconds, a story that leads you to believe is about a woman looking for love actually transpires to be a tale of a woman searching for her lifesaving match. The campaign has helped Anthony Nolan improve their brand comprehension, with more people recognising that they help save the lives of people living with blood cancer.

Brand Development – Winner
British Stammering Association

Brilliantly clever, bold and brave typography design saw the British Stammering Association win ‘Best Brand Development’

“STAMMA will be seen. The brand treatment of typography, matched with bold photography and an assertive and non-apologetic tone, challenges the idea that people who stammer should stay hidden; challenges the reader to look closer; challenges the very perception of what it is to be someone who stammers in the world today.

As a society we need to see that people who stammer are as capable, talented, flawed and brilliant as everyone else; that they deserve respect and shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed.”
British Stammering Association

MarketingWeek Masters

Non-profit – Shortlisted
Stroke Association – Rebuilding Lives

Alisha, Baz, Erin, Luna, Max and Paul are all real people who have suffered a stroke. Looking at them it is hard to believe, especially Max, who had a stroke on this 7th birthday. Instead of adopting a traditional “talking heads” approach, the Stroke Association worked with Lotje Sodderland, director of ‘my beautiful broken mind,’ to bring each story to life using visual metaphors. The campaign reached more than 26.5 million people.

“Every five minutes, stroke destroys lives. We can help rebuild them. Our Rebuilding Lives campaign is changing the way people think about stroke using stroke survivors’ real stories. Told in their own words. Unscripted. Unfiltered.” – Stroke Association

Brand purpose – Shortlisted
Cadbury & Age UK – Donate your words

I’m ashamed to say that I have been guilty of defaulting to mundane small talk about the weather and TV when speaking to older people. This is why I had to smile when I saw Cadbury’s campaign, “The Originals.” The campaign features Rose Knox-Peebles, a 79-year-old pleading with viewers not to ask her if she is cold, but to ask instead of the time that she kissed the most famous rockstar on the planet. After some time on Google, I found an interview with Rose where she reveals that the rockstar in question was Elvis Presley.

This is the second campaign from Cadburys and Age UK’s partnership that asks people to “donate their words” and have a proper conversation with older people. Last year the campaign raised £450,000 for Age UK and helped to raise awareness of the heartbreaking fact that 225,000 older people often go a whole week without speaking to anyone at all.

IPA Effectiveness Awards – Bronze
KFC – Michelin Impossible

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising celebrates effectiveness in the industry every two years. I find that the IPA case studies are a great resource when you’re trying to convince someone of the importance of good marketing. They have hundreds of videos that you can watch on their YouTube channel that showcase campaigns from a variety of sectors. My favourite campaign from their 2020 showcase is KFC’s Michelin Impossible campaign.

I know that a KFC campaign to obtain a Michelin star may seem out of place in a list of campaigns about gun violence, loneliness, microplastics, strokes, and stammering, but bear with me. I always feel that there are lessons to be learned by looking at campaigns from different sectors and countries.

Having tried and failed to convince Australians of KFC’s quality with rational communications, they decided to try a different tack. The result was not only effective but highly entertaining. Michelin stars are revered accolades awarded to restaurants that are recognised as the best in their class. This is why KFC caused a stir when Sam Edelman, the owner of a KFC in The Alice Springs, launched a campaign to obtain a star and travelled all the way to Paris.

The idea may seem mad, but it isn’t if you look into Michelin stars’ history. The Michelin brothers originally created the restaurant rating system to showcase food that was worth travelling for. This would encourage drivers to take longer journeys, which would, in turn, increase the demand for Michelin tyres. The Alice Springs KFC is one of the most remote branches in the world, and people travel from far and wide to eat their chicken, so why shouldn’t they get a star?

Everyone loves the story of an underdog. After local and national media picked up the story, the campaign reached 850m people and offered a return of investment of 16:1. Sadly, despite his efforts, Sam didn’t get his star.

Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions is Marketing’s version of the Oscars. They announced earlier this year that they would cancel their festival of creativity for 2020. This week, they are hosting the LIONS Live – a week long virtual festival that shares insight from teams awarded a Grand Prix and Gold Lion award.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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