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Winners announced at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2021

By Eleanor Lim, Event Producer

March 25, 2021 | 8 min read

The results of The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising have been announced, with Islamic Relief UK, The Walt Disney Company, HomeEquity Bank, Movember and JP/Politikens Hus among 2021’s winning advertisers.

Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising

Zulu Alpha Kilo won this year's Grand Prix for its work for Canadian HomeEquity Bank.

The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising recognise the meeting of creativity and technology to craft innovative, effective media. With more traditional media affected directly by lockdowns or indirectly by the pandemic, in a year of burning social issues and an unsettled political landscape, 2020 saw many advertisers favour a digital approach.

The global awards competition was judged by a panel of experienced senior marketers from a range of international companies including LadBible Group, Condé Nast, Google, South China Morning Post and Publicis Media.

The results were revealed at a virtual ceremony. Catch up below if you missed it.

This year’s Grand Prix was awarded to Zulu Alpha Kilo, whose work for HomeEquity Bank also won Best Use of Gaming.

This year’s jury was co-chaired by Christian Juhl, global chief executive officer at GroupM, and Amir Malik, managing director of growth marketing at Accenture. Each chose their favourite entry to win a Chair’s Award: Xandr, for their work for JP/Politikens Hus, and Torchbox for Islamic Relief UK respectively.

You can find out more about the winning work below.

Grand Prix/Best Use of Gaming

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo

Client: HomeEquity Bank

Campaign: ‘#PauseToRemember‘

HomeEquity Bank provides financial products to Canadians in their 50s. Together with the Royal Canadian Legion, it launched ‘#PauseToRemember‘. The campaign recruited famous video game streamers from around the world to organize an online gaming ceasefire on Remembrance Day. Connecting with a younger generation of gamers, they live-streamed a moment of silence on their channels, sharing the message that war is not a game.

Judge‘s verdict: The online ceasefire made clever use of the platform, and going one step further to connect players with actual veterans was a stroke of genius. Given that there was little to no paid media budget, it's impressive that they created global reach and shared a headline that will live on for years. It stood out from the many strong entries that were rooted in the zeitgeist – tactical entries relating to the pandemic.

By trying to reach people that have no personal experience of war, in a place that is very important to them, they achieved a lasting and meaningful emotional connection. To get one million gamers to put their consoles down is an achievement in itself. Many entries tugged the heartstrings, but this one made quite a few judges cry.

Amir Malik Chair Award/Public Sector

Agency: Torchbox

Client: Islamic Relief UK

Campaign: ‘Raising Millions During Ramadan 2020 for Islamic Relief‘

In a difficult year for non-profits, Torchbox helped Islamic Relief UK use digital marketing channels to deliver vital funds when they were most needed. The objective was to deliver donations from users donating Zakat, Fidyah and Kaffarah during Ramadan, from 23 April to 25 May 2020.

Ramadan is the most important time of the year for IRUK, but getting this campaign right was particularly important in the face of the pandemic: the UK went into 19 lockdown a month before Ramadan started.

The team created a cross-channel digital marketing campaign that included paid search ads, Google Ad Grants management, display, YouTube advertising, and search engine optimisation, exceeding their target more than twice over. These donations allowed the charity to help people and communities impacted by natural disaster and living in warzones, including drought and famine-struck countries across East Africa and communities affected by conflict in Yemen.

Judge’s verdict: Their target was £2.5m – they raised £6.9m. That was amazing to begin with. But in discussions with the judges I was struck but how difficult this campaign was to execute in a pandemic. Everyone is facing their own localised challenges but many still felt compelled to donate. The plight of Yemen and of East Africa are important events we need to be mindful of. The team was able to reach hearts and minds through great optimisation skills and effective use of a whole range of digital channels – YouTube, social, search – and yield a really strong outcome.

Christian Juhl Chair Award/Best Overall Technology for Programmatic Trading

Agency: Xandr

Client: JP/Politikens Hus, TV 2 and Berlingske Media

Campaign: The Publisher Platform

Xandr joined forces with JP/Politikens Hus, TV 2 and Berlingske Media to create ‘The Publisher Platform’, a new digital advertising platform guaranteeing Danish quality context and impact for advertisers. Offering a strong Danish alternative to Facebook and Google and with six top media houses on board, it represents a coverage of more than 90% of the population. The platform is based on open advertising technology created by Xandr, with an easy and user-friendly booking interface developed by Nexta.

Judge’s verdict: This platform is an exceptional example of collaborative improvement to the programmatic marketplace. The team‘s ability to pull together scale outside of the largest existing platforms was impressive. But more importantly it brings together publishers and platforms to tackle a cookieless future, and ensure a high standard of transparency and quality journalism at scale. The platform's potential to expand into other regions makes it a future-forward technology that the industry needs.

Best High Impact Campaign/Best Omni-Channel Campaign

Agency: The Walt Disney Company

Campaign: ‘From Our Family To Yours‘

This was the first owned Christmas campaign for the Consumer Products, Games and Publishing business at The Walt Disney Company. Launched across 36 markets, it was intended to connect with consumers, strengthen relationships with key retailers, support long-term charity partner Make-A-Wish and give Disney a share of the Christmas ads space.

Telling a nostalgic family story, the musical campaign ran across Disney owned channels and more than 167 retailers adopted it across Europe. It achieved impressive results across owned, earned and paid media, and has become TWDC’s most successful Facebook post in EMEA ever, with 105mn views. 88% of consumers said they felt more positive about Disney after watching it, and 54% said they intended to buy a product. Its success has already secured strategic partnerships for the 2021 campaign.

Judge‘s verdict: A fantastic campaign that was successful across all KPIs and objectives, driving commercial success as well as charitable donations. A real omnichannel approach that drove fame across numerous markets without any variations needed to be produced, backed by consumer-insight and a robust 360 execution, with high-impact results.

Best Use of Digital OOH

Agency: In the Company of Huskies

Client: Movember

Campaign: ‘Conversation Piece‘

Every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life, and two thirds of those people are men. Research shows that a simple conversation can make all the difference – but starting that conversation can seem impossible.

The campaign brought together some of Ireland’s leading artists share their own experiences of mental health, and to create digital artwork inspired by them. While the art and accompanying words were picked up by television chat shows, the press, influencers and across social, the digital outdoor campaign prompted a national conversation around mental health.

This year also saw twice as many people participate in Movember’s annual fund-raising month, doubling donations and proving that raising a charity’s profile outside its traditional calendar window can significantly strengthen their capabilities.

Judge‘s verdict: A timely and really important topic, and a campaign that drove great results. Charities were hit particularly hard last year so to have doubled donations is an exceptional achievement.

A complete list of winners is available on the website for The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising.

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