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WPP, Heinz and DDB dominate at The Drum Awards Festival 2023 Grand Finale

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By Thomas O'Neill | Managing editor

December 7, 2023 | 4 min read

At the final show of The Drum Awards Festival 2023, we find out who took Holding Company of the Year, Network Agency of the Year, Advertiser of the Year, In-house Team of the Year and Independent Agency of the Year.

Change the Ref

Alma DDB for Change the Ref

WPP has been named Holding Company of the Year at the Grand Finale of The Drum Awards 2023.

23 different WPP agencies were commended or awarded throughout the Festival, featuring in 59 different categories across 16 shows, with 26 Commendations, 34 Awards and two Grand Prix in competitions including Media, Creativity, PR and B2B, for clients including Hellman’s, Dove, Coke, Tommy Hilfiger and Converse.

WPP-owned VML, meanwhile, topped the Network Agency of the Year rankings after wins including Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries for its ‘Jingle Therapy’ work with SBS & Asociación de Alzheimer de Puerto Rico.

Four of the top 10 network agencies were WPP agencies, with Ogilvy, Wavemaker, and Wunderman Thomson also featured.

Advertiser of the Year went to Kraft Heinz, while Kraft Heinz/The Kitchen was named In-house Agency of the Year after wins including Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Social Media for a campaign that sparked a global conversation about Heinz Tomato Ketchup with a single tweet.

The Grand Grand Prix

Judges from this year’s awards shows also got together for one last time to decide on an overall best piece of winning work, weighing up all the Grand Prix winners from the past two weeks. Coming out on top was Alma DDB, which has taken the Grand Grand Prix for its ‘Ballots Against Bullets – Survivors’ work for Change the Ref, which also took the top prize at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose.

The campaign followed up on its 2020 work exposing politicians who failed to reduce gun violence by superimposing voter ballots over crime scene images from mass shootings. Following the success of that first edition, Alma DDB’s next effort took a personal approach, enlisting real survivors of gun violence to make the case for gun control. The images superimposed voter ballots over the survivors’ bullet scars, using their wounds to ‘check’ the box for politicians opposing gun reform.

The Drum’s editorial team, meanwhile, got together to discuss their favorite winners from the past fortnight. Taking the Editors’ Choice Award is DDB México for its work with Gahr We Capital.

This campaign came from the insight that millions of low-income women in Mexico are unable to become entrepreneurs because they do not have access to bank credit. Paradoxically, they are women who have received loans from neighborhood stores all their lives, so they have a long credit history. Datatienda.mx collects this information from the neighborhood businesses and uses it to create a credit history that secures them with the banks and allows them to obtain microcredits, financial inclusion, and economic autonomy.

The Drum Awards Festival 2023 Grand Finale

  • Holding Company of the Year: WPP

  • Network Agency of the Year: VML

  • Advertiser of the Year: Kraft Heinz

  • In-house Team of the Year: Kraft Heinz – The Kitchen

  • Independent Agency of the Year: Amplify

  • Grand Grand Prix: Alma DDB for Change the Ref

  • Editors’ Choice Award: DDB México for Gahr We Capital

The Drum Awards Festival 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 over on The Drum TV.

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