LONDON: A recruitment campaign for cryptologists from Campbell Ewald for America's Navy has been named the world's best social marketing strategy, taking the Grand Prix at the 2015 Warc Prize for Social Strategy.

The campaign was built around the insight that the brightest cryptology minds cannot resist a nearly impossible puzzle. So an alternate-reality game, Project Architeuthis, was created where characters, cryptologic clues, tips and updates were revealed via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Prize Chairman Shubu Mitra, director/connection planning effectiveness & productivity, Coca-Cola, described it as "a brilliant campaign".

"It was able to reach a very niche audience with a very effective and highly engaging social strategy," he said. "It was absolutely worthy of winning the Grand Prix."

Dave Lockwood, group director for strategic planning at Campbell Ewald, said: "We're all blown away. It's a nice reward for all of the people that are so passionate on this team.

"Everybody that serves on this account felt like we were serving America, and respecting those who serve, by being 'all in'. We give our hearts and souls to this business, and it was truly a team effort."

In addition to the Grand Prix, four Gold medals, six Silvers and six Bronzes were awarded, with the winning papers coming from six different markets. A full list of winners is available on the Prize website.

Five other papers won $1,000 cash prizes: The Six-week sleep challenge campaign for Australian company A.H. Beard won the Special Award for the best long-term idea; Three's UK campaign Holiday spam and Newcastle Brown Ale's US campaign If we made it both won $1,000 as joint winners of the Special Award for the best channel strategy; Chobani's #Plaininspiring work in Australia won the Special Award for the best analytics; and the Special Award for not-for-profit work went to a Tinder-based campaign for the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

"We had quite a few cases that demonstrated very smart use of different social platforms – not just Facebook and Twitter," said Mitra. "I think it shows the level of maturity in our understanding of how these platforms relate to users and how they can be leveraged to achieve communications goals."

Further details of the Prize can be found on the Prize website.

Data sourced from Warc