The Drum Awards Search Marketing The Drum Awards Festival

Results revealed at The Drum Awards for Search 2023


By Thomas O'Neill, Managing editor

November 28, 2023 | 6 min read

Together took the Grand Prix for its work with AIA New Zealand, while MG OMD received the Chair’s Award for its work with Specsavers.

A Specsavers Opticians logo sign outside its store in Northampton town centre

MG OMD took the Chair’s Award for its work with Specsavers

As part of The Drum’s annual Awards Festival, today we celebrated The Drum Awards for Search, which was broadcast live to the world from our studio in London.

Taking home the top prize, the Grand Prix, is Together for its work with AIA New Zealand (the work also won in the Technical Innovation category).

The health and life insurer found that, following the pandemic, advertising investment was up significantly and multiple new players had entered the market (already a hugely competitive category in New Zealand). In the face of this increased competitive pressure, and despite its #1 market share, AIA’s share of voice was down – particularly in its most efficient lead channel, paid search – while the increase in competitors bidding on life and health insurance keywords meant average cost per click had risen.

Together’s answer was a unique and highly innovative real-time search solution that enabled AIA to capitalize on its big spending competitors. Armed with the insight that the highest intent prospects hit Google within minutes of a life or health insurance TV ad running, it built a solution that triggered search bids based on competitor TV ads running in real-time. This meant AIA’s smaller budget was focused on being in the moments that really mattered. This region-first solution, which uses real-time data and search technology powered by smart analytics, has driven outstanding results.

The recipient of the Chair’s Award, meanwhile – as chosen by head judges Jason Lax, technical SEO expert at SAP, and Lindsey Wiltse, senior SEO account director at Syzygy UK – is MG OMD for its work with Specsavers (the work also won in the Healthcare and Pharma and the Paid Search categories).

SpecsTech is a suite of tools MG OMD created to help Specsavers differentiate itself and deliver a competitive advantage. Its Live Appointment Feed helps customers find the most suitable store appointment according to their availability and location, allowing Specsavers to meticulously manage demand across its 900+ store footprint. This has been particularly innovative in its ability to overcome Google’s platform limitations surrounding postcode-level targeting and granularity of creative syncing opportunities to first-party data. It has since addressed limitations of previous models through a low, medium and high availability bucketing architecture, allowing it to plug gaps in coverage, tailor ad copy based on availability insight and leverage modern search technologies, including auction time bidding and machine learning.

Capable of being continuously iterated and improved, it can evolve with changes in the modern search industry and also with Specsavers’ digital maturity. A recent iteration has seen it ingest revenue data alongside availability data to enhance bidding strategies to prioritize prospects in locations with high availability and who are also likely to convert higher revenue. As OMD works with Specsavers to unlock more data points, the opportunities to continuously evolve this piece of SpecsTech are endless.

Lax and Wiltse were joined on the judging panel this year by senior marketers from top brands and agencies, including The Body Shop, Dell, LinkedIn, L’Oréal and Publicis.

Among the other big winners of the night are Re:signal for its work with Asics, Tug for its work with Zipcar and The7Stars for its work with Royal Mail.

You can read the full list of winners below and read the stories behind the winning work over on our Case Studies hub.

  • Grand Prix: Together for AIA New Zealand

  • Chair’s Award: MG OMD for Specsavers

  • Automotive: Tug Agency for Zipcar

  • Creativity: Verve search for Online Mortgage Advisor

  • Healthcare and Pharma: MG OMD for Specsavers

  • Integrated: Hearts & Science

  • Retail: Impression for Queensmith

  • Data and Insights: Re:signal for Asics

  • Search Software: Adthena

  • SEO for B2C: Kinesso for Nicorette

  • Agency Team of the Year (In Partnership with StackAdapt): Digitas

  • Leader of the Year: Heather Physioc, VMLY&R

  • Not-for-Profit, Charity and Government: Impression for Cancer Research

  • PPC for B2B: The7Stars for Royal Mail

  • Search for Good: Zenith Global for Essity Libresse

  • SEO for B2B: Kinesso for Hiscox

  • Technical Innovation: Together for AIA New Zealand

  • B2B: NP Digital for Verint

  • Consumer Goods: Re:signal for Loop Earplugs

  • Consumer Services: NP Digital for Universal Technical Institute

  • Food and Drink: Spark Foundry UK for Bel

  • Media and Entertainment: NP Digital for CNN Brasil

  • PPC for B2C: for LeaseLoco

  • Technology as Part of a Search Campaign: MG OMD for Specsavers

  • Paid Search: MG OMD for Specsavers

  • SEO and PPC Integrated: Reflect Digital for Brakes

  • Travel, Leisure and Sport: Publics Groupe for Marriott International

The Drum Awards for Search took place at The Drum Labs, our very own bar, event and film studio in central London. You can rewatch all of our Awards shows so far over on The Drum TV.

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