LONDON: The launch campaign for Halo 3, devised by McCann Erickson and T.A.G. for the Xbox video game, took the Grand Prix at the APG Creative Strategy Awards 2009 last night, with Eurostar and the Diamond Trading Company among the other major winners.

A total of five Gold Awards were handed out at the annual event, along with 11 Silvers and nine Bronzes. (All of these winning case studies can be viewed, in full, here.)

This group was drawn from an initial 153 entries from around the world, in recognition of the quality of the strategic thinking behind each campaign, which went on to inform creative work that was considered both striking and effective.

Halo 3 aimed to build on the success of the two previous instalments in the series – which had established a loyal fan base for the franchise, known the "Halo Nation" – by introducing the game to a much broader audience.

To achieve this goal, McCann Erickson and T.A.G. championed the "hero" who starred in the game, Master Chief, rather than focusing on special effects or gameplay features, which was the category norm.

It created a virtual "Museum of Humanity", promoted via TV, cinema, online and experiential media, to reach consumers using a range of different touchpoints, and helped make the game one of the most successful entertainment launches ever.

Eurostar also took Gold for an innovative platform developed by Mother, which saw the company team up with acclaimed director Shane Meadows to make a film, Somers Town, based around its brand.

The original brief had challenged the agency both to raise awareness that Eurostar had moved to a new terminal at St. Pancras, and to communicate the fact it had invested £1.2 billion ($1.9bn; €1.3bn) in redeveloping both the station and the surrounding Somers Town area.

Mother's response was to look beyond traditional forms of product placement, and tell a story based around the positive feelings that travelling on Eurostar could evoke.

The Diamond Trading Company and JWT successfully tapped into changing values among young women in India, in an effort to alter traditional preferences for gold wedding rings in favour of a diamond alternative.

Rather than shaping its marketing efforts to appeal to parents, who in the past had paid for most weddings, it spoke directly to brides, who now had an increasing degree of influence and independence.

Partnering with top fashion designers, the DTC promoted its new positioning with informercials on TV and advertorials in magazines like Vogue, as well as using direct marketing.

In Australia, the RSPCA wanted to boost donation levels, which had begun to decline as commonly-held perceptions of the charity as a "nice" organisation dealing with fluffy animals led to a degree of popular apathy compared with other issues.

To reverse this trend, The Campaign Palace demonstrated the diverse nature of its activity, which can include everything from animal welfare to drugs raids and even issues such as child abuse.

Having attracted a lot of mainstream media

Data sourced from APG