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AFC Ajax scores Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Experience 2021 – see the winners here

By Eleanor Lim, Event Producer

December 7, 2021 | 9 min read

Dutch footballing giant AFC Ajax is no stranger to success on the field and now the club has scored a big victory off it by winning the Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Experience 2021.


This winning project from Ajax involved melting down the championship trophy and sending it to the team's fans.

The ingenious best-in-show campaign saw the club melt down its 35th championship trophy and reshape it into 42,000 star mementos which were sent to all of its season ticket holders to make up for them not getting to see their heroes in the flesh because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another piece of work that emerged from lockdown-induced adversity, Jam3's virtual ComplexLand, took home one of the show's other major prizes – the Chair's Award. This year, that was selected by Natasha Banjo, director of operations at News UK. Designed to reach fans of ComplexCon, a festival of music, pop culture, innovation, activism, and education that usually takes place in California’s Long Beach, the week-long ComplexLand filled the void by combining luxury e-commerce, musical guests, food delivery, celebrity appearances and more.

Read on to learn more about some of the winning work. If you missed the awards ceremony, you can catch up below, or read the case studies for the winning entries on You can see the entire list of this year's winners on The Drum Awards for Experience website.

Grand Prix, Sports or E-Sports Experience of the Year

Created by: AFC Ajax

Campaign: A piece of Ajax

Sports fans around the world have missed seeing their teams play live, and Dutch team AFC Ajax wanted to bring its supporters closer after a difficult year of lockdowns and empty stadia. Believing that it owes its success on the pitch to the team’s loyal fans, the club wanted to share its 35th championship win with them - literally.

The iconic championship trophy was melted down, supplemented with tin, and then reshaped into more than 42,000 little stars - a reference to the three stars on the chest of the Ajax shirt. The stars went sent by post as a surprise gift to season ticket holders and the club’s business partners, giving each and every one a physical memento of the win.

The campaign’s reach extended beyond the Netherlands: players posed with their own stars on social media, bringing the story to fans in their home nations. The club also created a ‘making of’ film which took people behind the scenes, and it was overwhelmingly well-received - especially at a time when football lovers were feeling burned by the announcement of the European Super League.

It was placing the fans at the heart of the project that made the judges fall in love with this entry. One described it as ‘one of those ideas I’m amazed hasn’t been done before’, praising it as a world-first with ‘very strong coverage and impressive social results.’

Read the case study here.

Chair’s Award

Created by: Jam3

Client: Complex Networks

Campaign: ComplexLand


This campaign was highly commended in the ‘Retail/In-Store Experiential Brand Activation of the Year’. Designed to reach fans of ComplexCon, a festival of music, pop culture, innovation, activism, and education that usually takes place in California’s Long Beach, ComplexLand filled the void during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a week-long virtual event that included luxury e-commerce, musical guests, food delivery, celebrity appearances and more.

ComplexLand was the first true e-commerce event that brought more than 50 brands and stores into one centralized virtual world. The December event was so successful, the partnership launched ComplexLand 2.0 six months later. This was a richer and more exciting experience due to its brand integrations and technological enhancements. Taking cues from the world’s new love of the metaverse, the team build a gamified 3D world. This included a multiplayer setting, new avatar options and social-sharing features, as well as the mini-game elements like finding coins and exchanging them for exclusive items.

What set ComplexLand apart from many other virtual events was its commercial success. It was a profitable endeavor that sold over 10,000 real and virtual items sold for over a million US dollars, increasing the company’s sponsorship revenue by 60% as well.

It was that impressive profitability that won over the Chair of the jury, Natasha Banjo, who said, “I was looking for innovation, clear objectives and return on investment but also a unique experience - something that was a bit different.“ She added the team deserved the award for creating “not only a great experience but an actual destination“.

Read the full case study here.

Retail/In-Store Experiential Brand Activation of the Year

Created by: Prime Weber Shandwick

Client: Felix (Orkla Foods Sweden)

Campaign: The Climate Store

With over 95% unaided brand recall for its 150 food products, from frozen meatballs to ketchup, Felix has describes itself as “the Heinz of Sweden”. Despite having invested long-term in a range of green measures, such as climate-friendly ready meals, the brand was getting behind in the environmental food retail race. As a safe, ‘everyday’ brand, its products were not an obvious choice for climate-conscious shoppers.

Enter Klimatbutiken - The Climate Store. This pop-up supermarket was designed to help customers really understand the carbon footprint of their grocery shopping. Shoppers could only pay with a custom-printed CO2e currency, and each was given a budget of 18.9 kg CO2e to spend - the maximum personal weekly allowance if we are to meet the goals of the 2030 Paris Agreement.

Shoppers showed their preference with their Krona: in the pop-up, a final stock take revealed that climate-friendly alternatives outsold even some of Felix’s most popular staples. Beyond the store, sales of its Climate Label vegetarian product range increased by 17%. Customer praised the store as an innovative - and not at all preachy - way to encourage discussion of shopping and eating habits: by being creative and hands-on, it was more effective than any ad campaign.

Read the full case study here.

Culinary Experience, Product Launch/Relaunch Experience of the Year

Created by: BBH Singapore and Jack Morton Worldwide

Client: Riot Games - League of Legends: Wild Rift

Campaign: Honeyfruit

When most of the world was moving physical experiences into the virtual, Riot Games brought a virtual fruit into the real world to reignite interest in an 11-year-old game. The gaming audience is already used to stunning visuals and cutting-edge graphics, so this project engaged a sense they rarely use when playing: taste.

To launch ‘League of Legends: Wild Rift’, this campaign brought to life the Honeyfruit, an iconic in-game powerup with which fans were already very familiar. Recruiting a molecular mixologist, the team crafted a unique flavor that gamers had to taste to believe. The fruit was sold in photogenic packaging that begged to be shared on social, from a specially-designed cart by staff in full costume.

10,500 Honeyfruits were sold, earning 4.4m media impressions and 1.7m social impressions within two weeks - and the game found itself in the top spot of the app store.

Read the full case study here.

Open Air Experience of the Year

Created by: Amazon Prime and Thinkingbox

Campaign: Invincible Drive-in


To debut Robert Kirkman’s animated series Invincible, Prime Video joined forces with Thinkingbox to air the first two episodes of the show in a large-scale experience. The drive-through cinema replicated memorable elements of the show, featuring extravagant sets and pre-recorded content that played through guests’ car radios.

The immersive premiere experience included food, interviews with stars and live performances. It was designed to generate buzz, increase awareness, develop community-building experiences around the launch and shareable content to reach new audience members.

Both nights of the free screening, which required reservations, sold out within 30 minutes. In attendance were die-hard Invincible fans mixed with families looking to enjoy a Covid-safe night out. A total of 252 cars in were attendance, and the premiere received a total of 14,200 impressions and a reach of 32,700 on Instagram and Facebook.

Read the full case study here.

To see the full list of this year’s winners, visit The Drum Awards for Experience website.

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