LONDON: A simple, audience-focused and innovative media strategy - written up in a well-planned, self-critical case study - stands the best chance of success of winning at the Warc Media Awards, according to this year's judges.

The Warc Media Awards recognise comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. This year, they handed out Grands Prix across four categories - Best Use of Data, Effective Channel Integration, Effective Use of Partnerships & Sponsorships, and Effective Use of Tech - with 150+ entries competing for the four Grands Prix.

The winners were announced at an event in London, and judges from all four categories gave advice for next year's entries. Warc subscribers can read a full account from the evening's panels and presentations in an exclusive event report: 10 tips for success at the Warc Media Awards.

To Sarah Mansfield, VP for Global Media at Unilever, and part of the Effective Channel Integration jury, “what stands out from all of the winners is the key understanding of audience ... the insight that translates into a really effective channel integration strategy”.

Grand Prix winner in the Best Use of Data category came from Australia, with AFFINITY’s work for Narellan Pools, a local swimming pool company. Jon Webb, managing partner at Gain Theory and one of the judges for the category, said that the case was a great example for marketers wishing to use data effectively.

“There was a clear divide between the top 5-6 papers that worked really well, and the rest,” he explained. “[For] the rest, the idea came first, then they spent their time searching for data. But for the best, the data came first. And Narellan Pools showed [the effect of] data with such simplicity.”

Meanwhile, on a panel with members of the Effective Use of Tech jury, campaigns that showed an impressive degree of forward planning came in for particular praise.

Reword’, for youth mental health foundation Headspace in Australia, won the Grand Prix in the category. Paul Wilson, Managing Partner - Strategy at Starcom MediaVest Group, commented: “It was about how technology can change things. Headspace changed the way you think about how we do our job. Tech was used from the beginning, rather than just as a distribution channel.”

The night's big winner was BBDO New York, which took home two Grands Prix for work for its Mars client. 'Crisper', for Snickers, took the top Effective Channel Integration award, while M&M's '75th Anniversary' won the Grand Prix in the Partnerships & Sponsorships category.

Sean Stogner, Communications Planning Director at BBDO New York, was also the author of both winning case studies. He had advice for next year's authors, too.

"The best way to write a great case study is to - essentially - write it before you’ve begun the work,” he suggested. “What I mean by that is you know your objectives early on, know what you’re going for, and having a clear strategy to deliver on x, and that’s success. Be as clear, upfront, as you can. It helps.”

Prize judge Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence at Manning Gottlieb OMD, added that it was the entries who admitted that not all had gone to plan that really stood out.

“Be a bit more honest about your mistakes,” he advised. “Not that I was saying any of the papers lied, but some airbrushed the truth!”

Shotton added: “One of the main things we know as planners is that admitting a weakness makes you stronger. If we know that’s true in our professional lives, we should do that again when we are entering awards papers.”

Warc subscribers can read all of the winning Warc Media Awards case studies on the awards microsite.

Data sourced from Warc