Judging for The Drum Marketing Awards USA 2019 has been and gone, and we can now reveal the finalists for the inaugural event.
Our judging panel includes experts from Pinterest, Diageo, Coty Inc, Accion, The Sak Brand, CA Technologies, Situation, UK Department for International Trade, Empire State Development, Madison Square Garden Company, United States Tennis Association and Borro Private Finance.
Chair of the panel and global marketing director at Diaego, Neil Shah says that the biggest trends he discovered from the submissions the were identification of penetrating insights.
He said: “These ensured the work was highly relevant to the consumers it was targeting, innovative execution with a focus on driving earned reach for maximum efficiency and emphasis on the correct KPIs to justify the spend.”
There were some really strong entries across all categories, in particular the Social Media Strategy category. According to Shah, these entrants presented some great examples of brands utilizing social to punch above their weight in order to drive disproportional impact compared to their investment.
He added: “In addition, entries in the 'Consumer' category demonstrated the power of being clear on a brand’s role in consumers’ lifes and using this to build relevant creative and make smart media choices for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.”
The finalists for Social Media Strategy are: 22squared for Built-in Pins, Amobee for Indeed, January Digital for DVF, Jukin Media , Ketchum for Blue Cross NC Centers, Marcus Thomas LLC for Behr Color Clinic and Ohio Lottery and Reprise Digital for Spin Master.
Yolanda Lam, global head of agency partnerships for Pinterest saw a great deal of entries that aspired to build authentic connections with consumers which is encouraging.
“There were also some truly inspiring campaigns,” she explained. “Campaigns that integrated media and creative in a way that is not disruptive or intrusive to the audience. At Pinterest, we are seeing very similar trends on the platform as well. I really hope we are headed into more inspired marketing in the years to come.”
Of all the categories Lam judged, Marketing Agency of the Year, Digital Strategy and B2B were very competitive. Each category has a unique challenge of ensuring entries stood out.
Lam explained: “These three had the most entries of those I judged and we spent a great deal of time discussing if one set a higher bar than the next. Good advertising should evoke an emotional connection to its audience in whatever channel or format.
"It should be inspiring, useful, and relevant to the audience. If we start with that, I believe results will follow.”
The nominees for Marketing Agency of the Year are: Barbarian, January Digital, Jellyfish Online Marketing, Saatchi NY, Siegel+Gale and United Entertainment Group.
Accion's chief communications officer, Jim Rosenberg felt that the strongest entries used technology to complement creative storytelling.
He said: "While 'authenticity' has become a tired buzzword in marketing, the entries this year still managed to authentically be authentic."
The finalists for Best Use of Technology are: Barbican, Carol Cone on Purpose, Imagination, Iponweb, Marcus Thomas LLC, Persado, Scoop and Spoon Gmbh and VSC.
Lam concluded: "As someone who has judged awards previously, I was very impressed with the standard of these entries. The caliber of each entry was very high and many, if not most were really focus on clear and impactful results.
"This signals to me that as marketers, there is a focus on inspiring consumers to try something new and open their mind to possibilities; while measuring meaningful business impact/results. I think brands are to think about how to really inspire people in everything they do - from product development to other areas of business.