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The 2018 WARC Awards are open for entries. Deadline: 12 February 2018.
The WARC Awards scheme is a global search for next-generation marketing effectiveness. It is free to enter and will reward work entered into four categories, each one with its own high calibre judging panel and set of Special Awards.
This category will reward branded content strategies that can demonstrate a business outcome.
This category links social strategy to business success.
This category is for marketing initiatives that have successfully embraced a brand purpose and achieved commercial success as well as a benefit for a wider community.
This category recognises innovative thinking that has transformed a business or disrupted category conventions to deliver tangible results.
Winning a WARC Award is a sign that you are ahead of the curve – mastering new techniques and delivering business results for clients.
As non-traditional competitors continue to disrupt established industries, only those brands that are strong innovators – who know how to enable and commercialize new ideas – will continue to succeed.
Christopher D. Yu • Vice President, Integrated Marketing Strategy, Innovation & Technology, U.S. Bank, Chair of Effective Innovation Judging Panel, WARC Awards
The judges will be looking for evidence of how a content strategy – as opposed to a traditional advertising strategy – has helped a brand achieve business goals.
According to the Content Marketing Association, "Content is about sustained attention, gaining your customer's trust by drawing them into your brand's world for an enviable amount of time."
While 'content' can be defined in many different ways, for these Awards, WARC is seeking editorial-style content (including audio, video, text and imagery), commissioned by a brand and designed to win attention. This might include short-form social video, long-form video, native advertising, brand-funded TV shows or content-based activations of sponsorship deals.
The judges will be asked to decide whether entries meet the definition of content.
Want some inspiration?
Read the 2017 Content Strategy Report
The Long-Term Idea Award – for a content strategy that has delivered sustained success for a brand.
Best Multiplatform Award – for a content strategy that has successfully used a range of different comms channels.
Smart Spender Award – for a content strategy that was effective on a budget of $500K or less.
The link between social strategies and business results is one of the most important issues in marketing and communications. Judges will be looking for campaign strategies that relied on the benefits of particular social platforms – or a combination of those platforms - to fulfil particular business objectives.
They will also be looking for marketing programmes that are social by design – in other words, not simply a small part of a broader marketing initiative - and that have made a significant impact on brand performance or influenced consumer behaviour.
Campaigns in either earned or paid for social channels, or a combination of the two, will be accepted.
Judges will also be keen to see campaigns that have effectively deployed newer engagement tools on social platforms, for instance, chatbots and live video.
Read the 2017 Social Strategy Report
A judging panel of industry experts, chaired by Elizabeth Windram, Director, Brand and Advertising, JetBlue Airways will be announced in the coming weeks.
Path-to-Purchase Award – for social strategy that successfully drove sales.
Smart Spender Award – for a social strategy that was effective on a budget of $500K or less.
Live Award – for the best real-time campaign that has helped the brand achieve a specific business result.
Purpose-led approaches to marketing have been successful not just in fulfilling a societal need but also in achieving commercial goals. The judges will want to see evidence that brands are integrating purpose into their marketing and their wider enterprise.
Judges will be looking for a direct relevance between purpose and brand in addition to solid evidence of how a purpose-led approach is producing a tangible return. They will be looking for evidence that a brand's purpose has also had some societal benefit too.
Please note: campaigns for non-profits will not be accepted in this category.
Read the 2017 Brand Purpose Report
A judging panel of industry experts, chaired by Claudia Willvonseder, Chief Marketing Officer, IKEA will be announced in the coming weeks.
Evaluation Award – for a brand purpose strategy that has gone the extra mile in measuring both commercial and societal impact.
Employee Engagement Award – rewarding a brand purpose-led strategy that is consistent both inside and outside an organisation.
Smart Spender Award – for purpose-led strategy that was effective on a budget of $500K or less.
WARC has been showcasing breakthrough innovative ideas since 2011 through the WARC Innovation Awards. We have now folded this awards scheme into the WARC Awards as it fits the criteria of these awards in being part of the search for next generation marketing effectiveness.
The judges will be looking for innovative thinking that delivers tangible results, whether that's an innovative use of data and insight to redefine an audience that helped a brand grow, or an innovative way of using a particular platform. Judges will be looking for how a brand collaborated effectively with tech startups, or how a brand reframed its business model.
The key for entrants is to explain why their ideas marked a break from the norm, and link their innovations to real business results.
Read the 2017 Innovation Casebook
Channel Innovation Award – for the best example of an innovative use of media.
Category Innovation Award – for the best example of a brand defying category norms or creating a new category.
Partnership Award – for the best collaboration that helped a brand rethink a solution to a business challenge.
Twelve case studies won in the Effective Content Strategy category in the 2017 competition, with KFC Malaysia, through Ensemble Worldwide and UM Malaysia, taking the Grand Prix.
KFC used programmatic technology to create and distribute YouTube videos to millennials to launch its Hot and Cheezy burger and compete with McDonald's.
As a result, sales increased by 16% week-on-week, outperforming targets by 50%.
Thirteen case studies won in the Effective Social Strategy category in the 2017 competition, with KFC, through Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, taking the Grand Prix.
KFC created a humorous fake 'clean eating' campaign shared on social media, YouTube and blogs to "make clean bad" and market its new Dirty Louisiana burger.
The Dirty Louisiana became one of KFC's fastest selling burgers, selling out in 70% of stores after three weeks.
Ten case studies won in the Best Use of Brand Purpose category in the 2017 competition, with Whirlpool, through DigitasLBi, taking the Grand Prix.
Whirlpool installed washers and dryers fitted with data-collection devices in schools, to give disadvantaged pupils access and track attendance rates.
The attendance of over 90% of the participants increased, as well as their motivation and participation in class.
Fourteen case studies won in the final WARC Innovation Awards in 2017, with Toyota, through Saatchi & Saatchi, taking the Grand Prix.
Toyota decided to turn its LandCruisers into roaming communications hotspots by installing signal-providing devices.
The technology can bring emergency communications to Australia's 5.3 million square km of no-signal areas.
Lucy Aitken, Case Study Editor
+44 (0) 20 7467 8154