WARC’s Chiara Manco analyses three themes that emerged from the winners of the 2019 IMC European Awards.

Rewarding the best in integrated communications, the IMC European Awards are organised by the Integrated Marketing Communications Council Europe (IMCC Europe) and the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA).

The winners of the 2019 Awards are now available on WARC, and while two countries stole the show – Ireland and Czech Republic, with 24 and 17 medals respectively – these papers make up a refreshingly varied case study collection. Though brands, sectors and strategies differed, three themes clearly emerged as important among these successful integrated efforts.

1. Upping the ante on event sponsorship

When we think of event sponsorships, we usually conjure up logos plastered around sports stadia – sadly not a sight we’ll enjoy this year. Several of the IMC winners went beyond such traditional means in their sponsorships, using local cultural insights to enrich consumers’ experience of particular events.

Grand Prix winner mytaxi, with its sponsorship of the Cork Jazz Festival through Dublin-based Guns or Knives, is a prime example. Looking to earn trust in Ireland, the taxi service sponsored one of its biggest events, but found itself competing against main sponsor Guinness. In perfect challenger brand fashion, mytaxi pulled off an attention-grabbing execution on a minimal budget.

It turned its fleet of taxis in an orchestra, assigning to each car a specific instrument, note or rhythm. Then, it placed musical triggers around the city, so that when a taxi passed one, music was activated. Anyone riding mytaxi cabs contributed to the shaping of this data-driven, live jazz track, which was live-streamed throughout the city and in-cab as well as across social channels.

Forty-thousand people tuned in to the livestream – the same number of people attending the entire Festival – and mytaxi saw a 17.82% year-on-year growth in passenger requests.

Meanwhile in the UK, Kellogg’s aligned with an entirely different kind of event – ITV’s Love Island. When Kellogg’s found that 50% of its sales could be attributed to 55-plus-year-olds, it turned to the reality TV show to regain appeal among millennials.

Through ZEAL Creative, Kellogg’s launched an on-pack promotion encouraging shoppers to take a selfie with one of the cereal’s promotional packs and share it on social for the chance to win a trip for two for the Love Island live final. The promotion was complemented with a sponsored podcast as well as a reactive social campaign and heart-shaped bowl giveaway.

Every day, Kellogg’s also gave away fridge magnets featuring the show’s most popular phrases. These were created in batches to keep up with the Islanders’ ever-expanding glossary, making them a dynamic touchpoint. Volume sales increased by 36% and the cereal brand reached more than 81,000 new millennial households, earning it a Bronze.

2. Making memories

Many of the 2019 IMC Awards winners enabled new experiences, giving consumers the tools to try something new and make new memories.

Tech company NeuroDigital’s Gold-winning Touching Masterpieces was a VR experience enabling blind people to explore art through virtual touch, bringing to life NeuroDigital’s vision of inclusive tech. Through Geometry Prague, VR gloves with haptic technology let people discover iconic sculptures such as Michelangelo’s David.

Prague’s National Gallery debuted the tech and the initiative was supported by social media video and PR. Endorsed by the Czech Ministry of Culture, the exhibition let 210 blind museum visitors experience art for the first time. With no media budget, the initiative reached 172 countries and generated 544m impressions.

Also in the Czech Republic, chocolate brand Kinder made its young consumers’ dreams come true. Looking to reverse a sales decline, it celebrated its 50th anniversary by giving out presents.

Kinder selected 50 children’s wishes, from flying a drone or visiting Disneyland, to horseback riding with Olympic athlete David Svoboda.

While the chocolate category continued to decline, Kinder increased year-on-year sales by 1.8%, growing volume per buyer by 9.2% and purchase frequency by 4%. The campaign, through Momentum Czech Republic, won a Bronze.

3. New consumption occasions

Finally, several winning campaigns reframed their products to create new consumption occasions.

Raffaello, the Ferrero-owned chocolate brand, rethought its product by making it compatible with the Czech Republic’s hot summer weather. It found that, while people tend not to crave chocolates in the summer, its pralines would become a refreshing treat if refrigerated. Through Momentum Czech Republic, Raffaello launched a contest where people shared pictures of themselves enjoying the chilled treat. It led to a 25.3% sales increase and took a Silver.

Meanwhile in Italy, the Almond Board of California was faced with an awareness challenge, as people didn’t see almonds as a nutritious snack. Working with True Company, it positioned almonds as energy boosters across TV, social media and online video.

The ads performed well on TV and digital, where they achieved 5.2m views and a 3% click-through rate, helping to reinforce almonds as convenient, always-at-hand power bank.

Enhancing value

These three themes show an overarching desire to enrich people’s lives. The winning papers made cultural events more engaging, enabled new experiences and revealed new perspectives, as well as showing how well integrated communications can enhance value. 

All 32 winners of the 2019 IMC European Awards are available to read on WARC.