Earlier this week, we announced the results of this year's Warc Prize for Innovation at an event in London. We set up the prize to recognise standout examples of innovation in advertising, and the (deserved) Grand Prix winner was 'Clever Buoy', from M&C Saatchi Sydney for Optus, a telecom brand.
For the campaign, the agency helped create an ocean buoy that warned of shark attacks that was informed by Optus data – a dramatic demonstration of the value of the client's service that eventually reached 19m people on social media. And, when I spoke to him after the prizegiving, M&C Saatchi's chief digital officer Christian Purser pointed out that the campaign was a good example of how ad people can innovate to solve client problems. "It's a state of mind, it's about doing new things," he added. "Innovation is simply about seeing the world in a different way."
Meanwhile, M&C Saatchi's chief strategy officer, Justin Graham, sees 'Clever Buoy' as an example of a general trend in the ad industry away from crafting the perfect TV spot and towards helping client develop useful new products. "People are applying their creative minds not just through the lens of advertising, but through the lens of products and businesses," he said. Clever Buoy, he added, could be a "small piece" of what this new work will look like in future.
In all, we had around 100 entries to this year's prize, and Lawrence Weber, managing partner at Karmarama and one of this year's prize judges, paid tribute to the strength of the field.
"It was not only the quality of thought and execution of ideas, but the thinking that had gone into the preparing of the papers themselves that was of really high quality," he added.
Weber also had one big tip for any potential entrants to next year's prize. "Look at what's been entered for the last two or three years – and make sure what's in your head as being an innovation, really is an innovation," he added.
Should you want to get going now, and you have a Warc subscription, the papers are right here.