LONDON: Campaigns from the Colombian Ministry of Defence and shared the Grand Prix at the 2011 APG Creative Strategy Awards, held last night.

Some 26 papers were shortlisted for the Creative Strategy Awards, which recognise the best strategic thinking in the communications industry. Six Golds, nine Silvers and 11 Bronzes were handed out in all. Warc subscribers can read the winning APG papers.

The Colombian Ministry of Defence and Lowe SSP3's "Operation Christmas" campaign sought to persuade members of FARC, a guerrilla group that has been active in the country for 60 years, to lay down its weapons.

Drawing on interviews with 200 former FARC members, this scheme involved sending two specialist operations units into the jungle to decorate trees at Christmas, a time when many guerrillas consider returning home.

As a result, 331 individuals left FARC and re-entered society, a 30% increase on the total recorded a year earlier. This entry not only shared the Grand Prix, but also took the best use of research and best channel strategy prizes., the digital hub of the electronics retailer and the other winner of the Grand Prix, was applauded for acknowledging its particular strengths and weaknesses in an extremely cluttered category.

Rather than compete with online rivals on price, and agency M&C Saatchi decided to focus on the cost benefits it could offer against major high street stores.

As such, its humorous ads suggested people research potential purchases offline and then buy the items concerned for less at, leading to a surge in site traffic of more than 30%.

Elsewhere, Wieden+Kennedy, the agency, secured a Gold for an in-house effort encouraging eco-friendly habits in its London office, which resulted in a change of behaviour among staff, and financial savings that were donated to a Kenyan orphanage.

Orange, the telecoms brand, received the same honour for refreshing its long-running "Gold Spots", shown before films reminding viewers to turn their phones off. In partnership with Fallon, it used spoof trailers to increase engagement and reduce costs.

Stella Artois 5%, an extension of the beer brand, picked up a Gold award for the idea, developed by Mother, of redefining its relationship with customers so it reflected a romantic one between a man and a woman.

The Department of Health and Dare won the final Gold for an anti-smoking campaign that moved the discussion on from emphasising the harm done to smokers, instead looking at the emotional upset which can be caused to their families.

Data sourced from Warc