LONDON: A total of 20 entries from a wide range of agencies have been shortlisted for the inaugural Warc Prize for Connection Strategy, a global competition to find the best examples of channel thinking that delivers brand advantage.

In addition to leading media agency networks such as ZenithOptimedia, UM and Havas Media, smaller, specialist shops such as Somo have also made the shortlist, which can be viewed in full on the Prize website.

Entries from Europe, the Middle East and the US account for more than half the total, but Australia, India and Latin America – Brazil and Bolivia – are also present.

Commenting on the shortlist, David Tiltman, Head of Content at Warc, said: "What stood out to me was not only the range of markets represented, but also the different companies who made the shortlist – media agencies, creative agencies, media owners and digital specialists.

"It's clear that connection planning is becoming a key skillset across the industry," he added.

Aaron Fetters, the chair of the Prize judging panel, stressed that he would be looking for "great examples of thinking that transcend touchpoints such as television or online and demonstrate a true consumer experience".

The brands and agencies that have met his standards will be revealed next month when Warc will name Gold, Silver and Bronze winners for the highest-scoring cases in four regions – the Americas, EMEA, APAC, and one for a global or multimarket strategy – and award a $5,000 Grand Prix to the best paper in the competition.

There will also be five $1,000 Special Awards covering the following areas: commercial impact, POE, attribution, context and low-budget.

Data sourced from Warc