GLOBAL: An innovation for the LandCruiser 4x4 vehicle by Toyota, the Japanese car manufacturer, bringing emergency communications to the Australian outback, has won the Grand Prix in the 2017 WARC Innovation Awards.
Huge swathes of the Australian outback receive no mobile phone signal. Through the LandCruiser Emergency Network, the marque installed signal-providing devices in its 4x4 vehicles, continuing its mission to "help provide world-class safety to protect the lives of customers".
Thousands of text, voice, and data transmissions have been successfully tested, with an ongoing pilot currently live in the remote Flinders Ranges area of Australia. Saatchi & Saatchi Australia developed the LandCruiser Emergency Network with Toyota.
Hugo Pinto, Innovation Services Leader EMEA, IBM Interactive Experience and a WARC Innovation Awards judge, described why this innovation from Toyota stood out: "Toyota is leveraging an asset here, creating a crowdsourced emergency network, where every Toyota LandCruiser owner can sign up to do their fair share.
"This shows people that they can have a much bigger impact because they own a specific vehicle. It blurs the boundaries between personal and professional. This will be the next stage of the sharing economy."
As well as scooping the Grand Prix, Toyota's novel solution to an ongoing problem won a Special Award for Product or Service Innovation. Judges awarded four more Special Awards, each worth $1000, in addition to six Golds, four Silvers, and three Bronzes.
Among the Golds was the Care Counts campaign by US appliances manufacturer Whirlpool which saw the brand install washers and dryers in US high schools to boost attendance rates.
Also awarded Gold was JWT Beirut's The Good Note for the Lebanese Bou Khalil supermarket chain. This alternative currency enabled Lebanese people to give money responsibly to Syrian refugees.
Meanwhile, a campaign by UK agency AMV BBDO for Currys PC World, the British consumer electronics retailer, took a Gold and the Special Award for Co-created Innovation for helping UK consumers buy Christmas gifts that loved ones would truly want, through a clever mass personalisation effort.
Another AMV BBDO campaign, for feminine hygiene brand Bodyform scooped Gold and the Special Award for Category Innovation. By attacking the 'confidence gap' the brand sought to help women feel that No blood should hold us back in an effort that gained a huge positive response from a modest online media budget.
British publisher Penguin Random House, won a Gold and the Channel Innovation Special Award for its use of a podcast, developed by independent agency Kindred, called MISSING, an eight-part drama to promote UK crime writer Tim Weaver's latest book.
Finally, a Gold and the Not-for-Profit Innovation Special Award was claimed by Seeing Eye Dogs Australia, working with McCann, for a campaign that found foster carers for puppies before they began training by creating a free subscription service.
Data sourced from WARC