Creative Works The Drum Marketing Awards Awards Case Studies

The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021: the winners revealed

By Eleanor Lim, Event Producer

July 8, 2021 | 10 min read

The Drum Awards for Marketing recognise the most effective and innovative work of the last year, celebrating the brands and marketing teams that truly understand their customer. These awards open to teams and companies from anywhere in the world.

Mindshare for KFC

KFC, Tommee Tippee, Adorio, the Met and Verizon are among this year's winning advertisers.

This year’s jury included senior marketers from brands like Peloton, Diageo, McDonald’s Philippines, Unicef USA, TikTok and Activision Blizzard Esports, and was led by Nishma Robb, director of brand and reputation marketing at Google UK. As the chair of this judges, she selected Manifest Group’s campaign for Tommee Tippee to receive the Chair’s Award.

The top honor for 2021 was awarded to Mindshare, whose self-deprecating and entertaining pandemic-response campaign for KFC also won the Best Retail and Ecommerce and Best Pivot categories.

The results were revealed at new style of hybrid event ceremony, filmed before a live audience at The Drum Labs in Shoreditch. If you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony below.

Read on for a flavor of the entries that won awards this year, or find the full list of winners and nominees on the website. For a more in-depth look at the winning campaigns, visit The Drum’s case study section from 7AM BST on July 9.

Grand Prix/Retail & Ecommerce/Best pivot

Agency: Mindshare UK

Client: KFC

Campaign: How KFC Pressed Pause On The World’s Most Inappropriate Endline

KFC’s endline is one of the world’s best known, but one of the least appropriate in a pandemic. KFC decided to embrace the discord and address it head-on with a global campaign announcing the temporary suspension of the famous line until the return of better days.

The campaign strategy went against conventional wisdom for messaging in difficult times. Relying on a phenomenon of behavioral economics – the pratfall effect – the brand highlighted its own weaknesses, making people feel more warmly towards it. Brand sentiment rose, engagement was high, and the campaign contributed to KFC having a much better 2020 than it first feared.

What the judges had to say:

“This award was a delight to judge, from the clear signposting and articulation of the initiative, to the excitement of the campaign itself. We felt strongly that this was standout thanks to the hattrick of a highly confident brand execution, achieving scale, and delivering strong commercial outcome in a pivot environment.

“In particular the entry was distinguished through its achievement of both rational and emotional outcomes, where the creative execution really captured consumers imagination and had a clear link to campaign objective in creating heat.”

“KFC stood out for its freshness and simplicity. Its immediacy enhances the chance of memorisation and conversion with anyone who encounters the ad. It also keeps a historical brand relevant and in tune with the audience.”

Chair’s Award/Branded Content

Agency: Manifest Group

Client: Tommee Tippee

Campaign: The Boob Life

Manifest Group for Tommee Titppee

The team behind this work believes that marketing in this category has ‘always put baby’s needs over mum’s,’ something they sought to rectify by shaping its strategy around the parent, focusing on creating a positive impact on mum’s life.

The campaign was driven by in-depth qualitative and quantitative research, voicing the concerns and priorities of mothers all over the world. Over half said their mental health had been negatively impacted by feeling stigmatised and unsupported on matters of breastfeeding.

The result is a creative platform that avoids being preachy, speaking to mothers as they would speak about themselves, a battle-cry of sorts. The hero video features stars nine real mothers as they feed by breast, pump and bottle, unapologetically capturing rare scenes of lactating, swelling and sore boobs of all shapes and sizes, a far cry from the sanitised so-called perfection that is the standard for parenting brands.

But it was banned. Advertising bodies in the USA, UK and Australia all cited the film as ‘indecent due to adult content and excess nudity’, and Facebook removed it for ‘nudity’ and ‘showing breastfeeding.’ Aside from the campaign, this started a public conversation around the controversial policies of advertising bodies in the three lead markets.

What the Chair said:

“I loved this campaign for so many reasons, not just how it tackled the very complex issues surrounding breastfeeding, and the shame and pressure parents feel in those first days of choosing how they feed their baby. I was really impressed by the way they held up a mirror to show the real world - the different bodies and boobs as they really are. Not to titillate (no pun intended) but to reassure women that their reality is normality.

“Groundbreaking work - I can't wait to see what comes next, and to see how others might follow in your footsteps.“

Best brand experience/Mobile/Brand collaboration or partnership/Travel and Tourism

Agency: Unit9

Client: Verizon

Campaign: The Met Unframed

Created by: Diego Scotti, executive chief marketing officer; Andrew McKechnie, senior chief creative officer; Andrew Shafer, director brand marketing; Baanie Singh, brand marketing manager; Marika Shaub; social strategy lead; Marc Kelly, social activation manager; Emily Vicker, director corporate communications; Katie Magnotta, corporate communications manager; Lizzie Angley, corporate communications manager

A collaborative project that aimed to both support the museum through the terrible impact of Covid-19 and communicate the power of Verizon’s new 5G offering, it impressed the judges: it takes home an outstanding four awards.

In the midst of the pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City had to close its doors to the public for the first time in over 100 years. At the same time, Verizon was rolling out it 5G network, a transformative technology. But without trying 5G yourself, it can be tough to get a sense of how ground-breaking it really is.

Using the latest technology, Unit9 built an immersive museum experience that captured every intricate detail, from the marble floors to the expansive skylights overhead. The team also created a variety of ‘unlocking challenges’ – essentially guided examinations that gave viewers tools and a new framework to engage with the art. These experiences were designed for both novices who had never been to The Met or taken an art history class, as well as longtime Met visitors who now had the opportunity to get much closer to the art than any docent would previously have allowed.

Unit9 for Verizon

The experience garnered over 1 billion impressions, almost all via earned media, and averaged over 20,000 visits per day from over 153 countries during the five-week campaign—more than The Met would get pre-pandemic. It also drove significant perception changes for Verizon, with visitors much reporting much higher brand affinity and a measurably more positive view of the company.

What the judges had to say: “The campaign was creative, innovative and put together with brilliance and quality, despite the constraints of the pandemic.”

“We were asked to celebrate brands that have shown outstanding results in a partnership or collaboration and this campaign did exactly that. It was truly connected with mutually beneficial brand messages for both parties, which landed seamlessly.”

“Verizon really stood out, demonstrating the superiority of their 5G network in a clever and exclusive way. They brought what felt like a ‘money can't buy’ experience of The Met directly into the hands of its consumers worldwide, to enjoy from their homes during the coronavirus crisis.”

“This work also helped an important cultural institution remain virtually open to visitors, allowing them to interact with art, which is an important user experience point. Innovative, setting a precedent for many other cultural institutions. Joining of two iconic yet unexcepted brands. ‘Tangible-izing’ an intangible category.”


Agency: Spellcaster Agency

Client: Adorio

Campaign: Got fired?

Adorio billboard

This campaign achieved a remarkable global viral campaign with a modest budget and some well-designed out-of-home advertising.

Knowing that the 2020 American presidential election was one of the most controversial in history, the team concluded that a great number of people around the world didn’t so much want Biden to win as they wholeheartedly hoped Trump would lose. Spellcaster Agency wanted to utilize this momentum to gain traction with earned media.

Seeing the opportunity for a well-timed, newsjacking out-of-home campaign, the team posted a handful of billboards around Zagreb, the capital of Adorio’s target market nation Croatia. Playfully referencing the television show that brought Trump to international fame, with a slogan that up-ends another from the marketing hall of fame, the boards proved infinitely shareable in the run-up to the election.

All major national media covered the campaign, as did nearly 200 online media outlets around the world, many of them prestigious, and as far away as Korea and Mexico. The number of visits the Adorio website rose by more than 8000%, and the tiny start-up challenger brand quickly became famous.

What the judges had to say: “This campaign punched way above its weight and the brand’s resources to deliver exceptional results. A shining example of why creative advertising is so powerful in delivering effective results, particularly for SMEs, and that available budget should not be a barrier to thinking creatively.

“The campaign team stayed true to achieving the objective of instant and widespread awareness, demonstrating extraordinary reach and enviable ROAS on a modest budget. This timely and brave execution shows that sometimes the best creative is the simplest.”

To see the full list of award winners, head to the website. For a more in-depth look at the winning campaigns, visit The Drum’s case study section from 7AM BST on July 9.

Creative Works The Drum Marketing Awards Awards Case Studies

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