Campaign Spotlight

WARC Awards 2019: Effective Content Strategy winners announced — AMV BBDO’s ‘The Trash Isles’ Snatches The Grand Prix

A campaign by London agency AMV BBDO for Plastic Oceans International has won the Grand Prix and Best Multiplatform Award in the Effective Content Strategy category, the final category to be announced of this year’s WARC Awards, a global search for next-generation marketing effectiveness.

In ‘The Trash Isles’, the not-for-profit organization put the impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans on the global agenda by turning a country-sized area of trash in the Pacific into the world’s 196th nation, recognized by the United Nations.

The campaign reached more than half a billion people, including 101 million via LADbible channels which hosted the new nation’s communications, with the greatest media exposure seen in the UK and US, followed by China. And at a UN conference, 193 countries pledged to tackle the crisis.


“It was outstanding and inspiring,” commented Namita Mediratta, Global CMI Director, Content Centre of Excellence, Unilever and chair of the judges of the Effective Content Strategy. “They could have shown animals dying but they kept it light.”

In addition to the Grand Prix, the judges awarded four Golds, four Silvers and five Bronzes as well as two more Special Awards.

AMV BBDO also won a Gold and the Long-Term Idea Award for Mars’ UK pet food brand Whiskas.

The K.I.T (Kat Institute of Technology) campaign, which ran in Canada, Germany, Russia and the UK, was a humorous online content series, and was an evolution of the brand’s earlier successful Kitten Kollege campaign.

This included the use of episodic reach-driving content that incorporated simple care advice, informational videos linked to search queries and Cardboard Box 2.0 – a stress management ‘product’ given away in stores. The campaign delivered the best business result in the digital history of Mars.

Japan’s I&SBBDO Group and KOO-KI won a Gold and the Smart Spender Award with a campaign for Hiroshima Tourism that set out to raise awareness and increase consumption of local oysters. This was based around a widespread inability to write the word oyster in kanji, the original Japanese writing system.

A school workbook was dedicated to oysters, branded content that not only aided children in writing the word in kanji but also in learning about the food and influencing parents. This was picked up by hundreds of media outlets which helped turn an investment of US$100,000, into US$10m of additional value for the oyster trade.

The jury of 16 agency- and client-side industry professionals selected the following branded content strategy winners that best demonstrate a business outcome:

Grand Prix:

  • The Trash Isles · Plastic Oceans International · AMV BBDO · United Kingdom + Best Multiplatform Award
  • University Pride · Nescafé · Nestlé · FP7/CAI, Part of McCann Worldgroup · Egypt
  • Oyster Kanji Dictation Workbook · Hiroshima Tourism · Hiroshima Prefecture · I&SBBDO Group, KOO-KI · Japan + Smart Spender Award
  • The Hashtagging Grandpa · Orange Tunisia · FP7 McCann Tunis · Tunisia
  • K.I.T. · Whiskas · Mars Inc · AMV BBDO · Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Canada + Long-Term Idea Award
  • Millions of Followers · The Terry Fox Run · The Terry Fox Foundation · Grip Limited · Canada
  • Uniquely Phenomenal · Belgium · SPF Chancellery of the Prime Minister · Ogilvy SocialLab · Europe
  • Slow Face · Connect · TBWA\RAAD · Lebanon
  • Make Small Victories · Byblos Bank · FP7 McCann Beirut · Lebanon
  • The Data Shaman · YouTube Go · Google · MullenLowe Indonesia · Indonesia
  • Pay for what you use · Jawwy · FP7 McCann Dubai, FP7 McCann Riyadh · Saudi Arabia
  • How real people furnish their own real homes · Dunelm · Dunelm Group PLC · MullenLowe London, Goodstuff · United Kingdom
  • Coffee Corners · Nescafé Dolce Gusto · Nestlé · Wunderman Dubai · Middle East & North Africa
  • Never Take the Jersey Off · Coca-Cola · The Coca-Cola Company · FP7/CAI, Part of McCann Worldgroup, Good People · Egypt
View here the winning case studies in the Effective Use of Content Strategy category, alongside the winners of the Effective Innovation,Effective Social Strategy and Effective Use of Brand Purpose categories. The Grand Prix and Special Awards winners across the four categories of the WARC Awards share a $40,000 prize fund.

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