NEW YORK: Puma and the Colombian Ministry of Defence shared the Grand Prix at the 2011 Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence.

Held by the 4A's, an industry body for agencies, the Chiat Awards recognise "brilliant strategic thinking" from across the globe, with this year marking the first time two entries received the top honour.

Andrew Delbridge, McKinney's chief strategy officer and 4A's Strategy committee chairman, described the Grand Prix papers as "very different cases - both incredibly genius pieces of work." (Warc subscribers can access a full interview with Delbridge here.)

Puma and agency Droga5 repositioned the sports brand at the global level, basing these efforts around the idea of the "joy" of sport and targeting the "after hours athlete" neglected by most rivals.

This group included activities like playing video and bar games as being "sport-like", and were engaged with new products and a range of social tools, helping Puma create the "Sportslifestyle" category, and achieve 10.4% sales growth from 2009 to 2010.

"By putting joy back into sports, we could discover a consumer who'd been completely ignored for the last 20 years," Ben Jenkins, strategy director at Droga5's New York office, said in a presentation to the 4A's.

"The other guys didn't have not much in the way of joy," he added. "Football shoes suddenly were being traded like precious commodities. Running had become intensely serious and depressing, at the expense of personality."

Meanwhile, The Colombian Ministry of Defence and Lowe SSP3's Operation Christmas campaign tried to encourage members of FARC, a guerrilla group fighting for 60 years, to leave the organisation.

Drawing on discussions with current and ex-FARC members, it involved sending operations units into the jungle to decorate trees at Christmas, when many rebels reconsider their role.

As a result, 331 individuals left FARC and re-entered society, a 30% increase on the total recorded a year earlier.

Delbridge said: "Lowe's work for the Colombian Ministry of Defense was not only brilliant but heroic. Planners interviewed guerilla rebels to find insights that contributed to ending a 60 year war."

A total of 17 Golds, nine Silvers and 15 Bronzes were handed out at the 2011 Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence, covering nine categories in all. Warc subscribers can browse the published winning entries here.

Data sourced from 4A's; additional content by Warc staff