NEW YORK: Domino's Pizza won the Grand Prix at the 2011 ARF David Ogilvy Awards for Excellence in Advertising Research last night, for a "turnaround" plan which transformed consumer perceptions.

Organised by trade body the Advertising Research Foundation and presented by Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of holding company WPP Group, the Ogilvy Awards recognised 29 campaigns in 15 categories.

At the event, the winners were lauded for making effective use of research in advertising while also delivering critical business results.

Domino's was praised for attempts to alter negative perceptions of its food, based on a frank admission that its quality levels had not always met the highest standards.

The chain solicited feedback from sources such as focus groups and members of microblogging service Twitter, with ads even showing remarks saying the firm's existing pizzas were "totally void of flavour".

"The old days of trying to spin things simply doesn't work anymore," Patrick Doyle, Domino's chief executive, said last year.

"Great brands going forward are going to have a level of honesty and transparency that hasn't been seen before."

Domino's took top honours in the retail and e-tail segment, having leveraged insights generated by Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Millward Brown.

Elsewhere, consumer products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark won the Research Innovation Award and Gold in the health and personal care competition for "Break the Cycle", on behalf of U by Kotex.

The brand tapped Organic, Mindshare, Marina Maher Communications and Millward Brown for its launch, which challenged conventions in the feminine hygiene sector.

This involved avoiding the kind of opaque language frequently typifying ads, instead using reality TV stars the Kardashian sisters to talk candidly about the subject.

Aida Flick, brand director at Kotex, argued in late 2010 that this effort had received an extremely positive response from women, proving the strength of the underlying idea.

"While there are two different consumer targets for mainline versus 'U by K,' our initiative - regardless of whether the target is a 20- or 30-year-old or older - the point is to make sure we speaking in an honest way, not stereotyping based on old taboos and myths," she said.

Elsewhere, the US Census Bureau, returning after more than a decade, secured the Research Achievement Award for a programme fostered via an alliance with Draftfcb, Initiaitve and Applied Research and Consulting.

"Every year the ARF has the great pleasure of spotlighting to the advertising industry the significance research plays in successful campaigns," said Bob Barocci, the ARF's president and chief executive.

"For almost two decades, the ARF David Ogilvy Awards have exemplified winning campaigns that demonstrate why the insights gained from research are as important as great creativity."

Other brand owners picking up Gold Awards at this year's ceremony included automaker Audi, soft drinks titan Coca-Cola, microchip pioneer Intel, food group Progresso and confectionary specialist Cadbury.

Browse the winning cases of the 2011 ARF David Ogilvy Awards here.

Data sourced from the ARF