NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Microsoft were among the major brand owners who picked up golds at the 2014 North America Effie Awards last night.

The Grand Effie, however, went to Unilever-owned Dove for its Sketches campaign. This featured a short video in which an artist drew pictures of women based first on their own descriptions then on those of others; the second was always more flattering and more accurate. The campaign cost less than $1m but drove $24m in incremental sales. 

Overall, there were 117 winners across 52 categories. Warc subscribers can access a selection of the winning case studies.

This year P&G went away with only one gold – it won three in 2013 – for a weather-related campaign for its hair care brand Pantene in the SME-Manufacturer: Awareness/Trial category. Pantene placed ads in the Weather Channel's weather forecast mobile app, prescribing hair products for women based on weather conditions, and directing users to a 'haircast' page, featuring discount coupons for the featured products at Walgreens.

Coca-Cola took gold in a related category, SME-Manufacturer: Single-Retailer Rollout, for its work with Walmart in promoting prepared meals and drinks in-store.

Microsoft was one of two winners in the Entertainment & Sports category, as it successfully overcame 'franchise fatigue' with the launch of the Halo 4 video game, introducing the enemy via a simultaneous interruption of prime time TV shows and a live action online video series that expanded the back story of the hero.

EA Sports was the other gold winner from this category – its Madden NFL video game successfully won back 'retired' players who had switched to 'shooter' games, with a humorous campaign featuring the personal rivalries of a couple of celebrities.

Target and Kmart picked up golds in two different retail categories, Kmart for its Ship My Pants campaign that began on YouTube and quickly went viral, Target for a more targeted effort that attracted students starting college with a series of social after-hours shopping events.

Other commercial brand winners included: feminine hygiene brand U by Kotex for the creation of a social movement to inform and empower young women on issues surrounding feminine health; fashion label Cole Haan for its night-time campaign that saw innovative use of ads placed on storefront rolling gates; food organic meat producer Applegate,which successfully targeted people searching for information about natural or organic lifestyles; and the California Milk Processor Board for a campaign aimed at persuading Hispanic parents and children to revive a ritual of drinking milk at bedtime.

Data sourced from Effie North America; additional content by Warc staff