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AD STARS 2019: Impact BBDO’s The Blank Edition & FCB New York’s Whopper Detour Named Grand Prix Winners of the Year

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA ⁠— Korea’s very own international advertising festival is as expected a huge success. For five consecutive years, the AD Stars has consistently exceeded 10,000 entries, and has actually exceeded 20,000 for the past three years. After sifting through several grand prix awardees from different categories, the non-profit festival has named two top winners, one for Public Service Advertizing and Product & Service.

At a gala awards ceremony on 24th August, FCB New York and Impact BBDO (UAE) each received a check for US$10,000. Ad Stars is the only international award show to offer a US$10,000 prize to its Grand Prix of the Year winners, and one of the few global awards platforms that doesn’t charge entry fees in order to create a level playing field for creators globally.

“The Blank Edition”


How do you move a nation? In the 2018 national elections in Lebanon, political infighting and conflict resulted to delays in government formation, putting a halt on many programs within the government and putting the country’s economy and its citizens at risk. News organization An Nahar, together with BBDO Impact, came up with a solution geared towards capturing the attention and igniting action from the public.

The campaign was called the “Blank Edition” where An Nahar literally printed a blank newspaper that was meant to represent the “empty responsibility” situation of Lebanon. The organization urged Lebanese citizens to use the blank pages to share their opinions and messages towards politicians and post it on social media.

“The jury had a really good discussion about this campaign because it could have been just another blank newspaper ad. But using a newspaper to spark conversations online was such a great idea,” says Joanna Monteiro, Chief Creative Officer at FCB Brasil.

Kim Pick, Executive Creative Director at VMLY&R in New Zealand, judged the Direct, Media, Promotion and PR categories. She says: “Using a newspaper as a canvas, and handing ownership of the content to citizens, was really clever. This campaign was also really impactful – it ended a political impasse and had a knock-on effect in terms of media coverage.”

The bold campaign attracted more than just attention within Lebanon, but was also covered by publications around the world. It also garnered several awards from other festivals, including a grand prix win for the print and publication track in this year’s Cannes Lions Festival. After receiving four grand prix titles at the AD Stars 2019 (for Media, Social & Influencer, PR, and Peace & Justice), it has also been named the Public Service Advertising Grand Prix Winner of the Year.


Chief Executive Officer
  • Dani Richa
Chief Creative Officer 
  • Paul Shearer
Creative Directors
  • Tres Colacion
  • Logan Allanson
  • Joe Abou-Khaled
Associate Creative Directors
  • Giancarlo Rodas
  • Ben Griffiths
  • Simone Milani
Art Directors
  • Enrico Motti
  • Anthony Asmar
Account Executive
  • Emma Jane Randall
Executive Producer
  • Manasvi Gosalia
  • Steve Gergess
Managing Director
  • Emile Tabanj
Editor in Chief
  • Nayla Tueni
Advertising Agency
  • Impact BBDO
Production Company
  • Deja Vu
Digital Planner
  • James Fox
Agency Producer
  • Rawad Keyrouz

Whopper Detour”

Another campaign that won big during Cannes Lions 2019 was “Whopper Detour” by FCB New York for Burger King. In fact, the campaign garnered three grand prix wins in different tracks including Titanium, Mobile, and Direct Lions. So it’s not a big surprise that it would win big in AD Stars too.

“Whopper Detour” is regarded by Burger King’s top marketer, Fernando Machado, as the campaign that pivoted the fast food chain’s marketing efforts and paved the way to future campaigns. In fact, this is one of the few campaigns that was successfully able to troll competition and create a large following through its use of senseless humor.

There’s a lot of purpose-driven work in award shows this days. Burger King’s Whopper Detour was also driven by a purpose – to make life miserable for McDonald’s. While other purpose-driven work attempts to save animals, the environment and mankind from himself, Whopper Detour was driven by profit. It was greasy and unapologetically demonic,” says Dentsu Asia Pacific’s Regional Creative Chief Officer Ted Lim, executive judge for Direct, Media, Promotion and PR categories at Ad Stars 2019.

“When you can’t outspend your biggest competitor, you have to outsmart them,” he added. “This campaign is digital at its best. The agency could have handed out Whopper coupons, but instead they created an app designed to start a conversation, which is what they needed to get the brand noticed and loved.”

Robin Fitzgerald, Chief Creative Officer at BBDO Atlanta and an Executive Judge at AD STARS 2019, adds: “We loved that The Whopper Detour is a promo campaign – this is an advertising festival, after all. It was basically a brief to offer coupons for one-penny Whoppers, but the agency went above and beyond to make something much more culturally provocative. Both Grand Prix of the Year winners are brilliant, impactful ideas and they had the full support of the jury, so I feel really good about our choices.”

The Whopper Detour won top award as Grand Prix Winner of the Year for Product & Service, and also won the Direct Grand Prix and Mobile Grand Prix at AD STARS 2019.

The campaign was simple, yet complicated — those who downloaded the Burger King app get directed to a McDonald’s where they can supposedly get discounts on Whoppers, and then redirected to a Burger King branch nearby. This resulted to the BK app reaching the number 1 spot on the App Store and Google Play Store within 48 hours with over 1.5 million downloads. Extensive coverage also resulted to an earned media value estimated at 37 million U.S. dollars.

Burger King shares the campaign was made possible through various technologies including GPS and geo-fencing.


Chief Creative Officer
  • Ari Halper
Associate Creative Directors
  • Alex Sprouse
  • Laszlo Szloboda
  • Akos Papp
Account Director
  • Sarah Tarner
Senior Project Manager
  • Jesse Morris
Senior Producer
  • Henna Kathiya
Worldwide Creative Partner
  • Fred Levron
Executive Creative Director
  • Gabriel Schmitt
Director of Integrated Production
  • Adam Isidore
Business Affairs Manager
  • Janice Katz
Production Companies
  • O Positive
  • Zombie
  • O Positive
Editing Company
  • Mackcut
Sound Mix
  • Honeymix
  • Human
Media Production Agency
  • Chemistry Creative
Social Media Agency
  • MullenLowe
PR Agency
  • Alison Brod Marketing + Communications
Media Agency
  • Horizon Media
Advertising Agency
  • FCB New York
Design Agency
  • FCB New York

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