The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

March 15, 2023 | 6 min read

Continuing The Drum’s Chair Leaders series, senior reporter Hannah Bowler recently sat down with Katie Evans, chief marketing officer of Burger King UK, to find out what she'll be looking for from entries as she heads up the jury at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA this year. Watch the video above or read the key points below.

Katie Evans has been at Burger King for five years now, leading original and innovative campaigns such as ‘Meltdown’, where the brand decided to scrap plastic kid’s toys and address plastic wastage.

Having been a judge at last year's The Drum Awards, we caught up with her as she prepares to take on the role of jury chair, asking her what makes an award-winning campaign, hearing about some of her favorite past winners and finding out why it’s important to have fun while leading purpose-driven campaigns.

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Balancing sensitivity with entertainment

One campaign that stood out with the jury last year was Guinness’s ’Welcome Back’ ad and Evans says the lasting impact of the pandemic on the industry has evolved many brands' ways of thinking.

“Brands are being much more transparent than ever before and more overt in recognizing what consumers are going through. It feels to me that they are much closer to consumers post-pandemic than they’ve previously been.

“It’s not true of every brand, but the consumer insight feels really close at the forefront of a campaign like ‘Welcome Back’. It’s such a simple idea but executed beautifully. And there’s a real collective feeling and spirit around it.

With brands becoming smarter and tapping into what consumers are feeling, they’re gaining more authentic insights to make a difference and create cut-through campaigns beyond the big, loud ads of the past. “There’s still room for entertainment and mood-boosting creativity – we need it, especially in the economic climate – but consumers are still seeking the fun, the treat, the trip away and want to hear about the good stuff as well from brands."

The role of celebrities in ads

Copa 90 and Budweiser won big at The Drum Awards last year with their campaign featuring football star Lionel Messi. Evans says of using celebrities in ads: “It clearly works, but only when there’s a very clear insight and strategy around their role in that communication. Sometimes you will see examples where brands pull in the big celebrity and rely on them to carry the strength of the campaign. The celebrity alone cannot do that.

“Copa90 has been clever in how it used Messi with that. It’s been about something greater than just him. Yes, he’s a big part of it and that garnered a lot of attention. But there’s a much smarter idea at the root of that campaign and that’s why we all loved it when we were judging.”

It’s all about that journey

When she enters the judge’s room in April, Evans wants to see new innovative ways of reaching audiences, and not necessarily big-budget campaigns.

“The work is there. You’ve written the brief, you've gone through the campaign, put it together and submitted it. The breadth of entries we saw last year was huge – everything from insightful, creative ideas to clever use of media and innovative ways of putting across purpose-driven campaigns and cutting through to their audience.

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“Be brave with the entry. Showcase the results but give us the journey it took to get there, the consumer insight, the objectives, the creative ideas and how they were executed.”

The deadline for The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA is Thursday, March 23.

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