Festival Intelligence: Real, Relatable & Relevant – FOMNA Awards 2018 | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Real, Relatable & Relevant – FOMNA Awards 2018

Innovation, storytelling and meaningful connections are just a few of the many key trends to take away from the world’s largest advertising market as we delve into the Festival of Media North America Awards 2018 winners.

Despite strong competition from the Asia-Pacific region, North America has maintained its place as the top advertising market in the world with $232.48 billion spend in 2018, translating to a 37.0% share of worldwide total media, according to eMarketer.

Looking at this year’s FOMNA Awards 2018 winners, food & beverage, driven by restaurants, was the top performing sector, accounting for 27% of all winning campaigns; followed by technology & telecoms (18%) and travel & tourism (14%). There were also a number of significant wins for the automotive, FMCG and not-for-profit sectors.

On the agency front, UM was awarded ‘Agency of the Year’ and Starcom ‘Agency Network of the Year’. UM walked away with four wins in addition to ‘Campaign of the Year’, Starcom and PHD with three each, while Initiative, Hearts & Science and Wavemaker were awarded two each. It should be noted that many of the winning campaigns were also Highly Commended across the other categories in which they were entered.

As brands and agencies across North America are experimenting with new technologies and more creative and innovative uses of media, the power of traditional media cannot be underestimated. Major sporting events and annual holidays hosted the backdrop for the majority of the winning entries, suggesting that cultural events are a core part of the American way of life.

The power of cross-media was fully exploited across the board. TV, radio and OOH were key, in addition to online video, social media, even experiments with VR and smart home technology. Real-time techniques showed that data, behavioural insights and programmatic targeting had a strong role to play for contextual advertising and mobile was utilised to create local, geo-targeted connections.

“I think we have underestimated the power of where insights, media and content come together,” said Ann Mukherjee, Global Chief Marketing Officer, SC Johnson and jury chair for the FOMNA Awards 2018. “I think we’ve been more focused on the content side and we have to understand that intersection better, especially in the world of big data. We really saw that in North America this year, where big data informing incredible insights works.”

Meaningful conversations and storytelling content created by real people formed the narrative across many of the winning campaigns. Cultural touchstones that give consumers a sense of pride and identity proved that emotionally resonant, personalised experiences were key to meeting a range of objectives from brand perception to purchase intent and beyond.

We put the spotlight on four multi-award winning campaigns from the Festival of Media North America Awards 2018:


Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home | Tourism Australia | UM | US

Shortlisted for: Campaign of the Year (WINNER), Best Integrated Campaign (WINNER), Best Use of Talent (WINNER), Tourism, Travel & Mobility (WINNER), The Creative Use of Media Award (HIGHLY COMMENDED), Best Use of Content (HIGHLY COMMENDED), Best Use of Digital Platforms


While the world loves the idea of an Australian holiday (it ranks third in the world in desire), the ‘tyranny of distance’ means it struggles to convert that desire to visitation. With Europe and the Caribbean so close to the US, Tourism Australia’s traditional campaigns promoting its wine and beaches weren’t presenting a compelling enough argument for the extra 10 hours on a plane.

In 1986, Crocodile Dundee introduced Americans to the land down under. The iconic film put Australia on the map, and in fact it’s still the first association many Americans have when they think of Australia. The problem is that the world, and Australia, has evolved dramatically since then. Enter the latest Hollywood craze: Classic film reboots.

In January 2018, it announced the return of the beloved franchise with DUNDEE: THE SON OF A LEGEND RETURNS HOME. Presented as a buddy comedy in which Danny McBride (Brian Dundee) teams up with Chris Hemsworth (Wally Jr.) to save Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee from danger, the duo runs into a star-studded Australian cast along the way. UM kicked off an integrated tourism campaign unlike any other with teaser films and a promotional campaign encouraged fans to tune-in to see the “official movie trailer” during Super Bowl LII. However, on the world’s biggest stage, it revealed there was no movie: it was an elaborate tourism ad for Australia.

Also see here: Festival Intelligence: Australasia steps up on the global stage.


4/20 | Wingstop | Starcom | US

Shortlisted for: Food & Beverages (WINNER), Best Use of Digital Platforms (WINNER), Best Use of Content


Wingstop is a fast casual restaurant known for its “buffalo wings”, handheld chicken wings deep-fried and coated in tangy, spicy sauce. Nearly everyone in America has a soft spot in their hearts and stomachs for wings. A big day for Wingstop’s sales and for many of its core fans is what is known as 4/20, a celebration of marijuana and cannabis culture on April 20th of every year. With marijuana legal for medical and/or recreational use now in 30 states, April 20th has grown from a small hippie happening into a nationwide holiday. As this holiday grows, so does marijuana usage and the munchies (intense food cravings, a side effect) — and Wingstop is the perfect solution.

Using social listening, Wingstop tapped into the truth of how its core fans celebrate 4/20 – with long hours of binge watching. With binge watching two things are inevitable — seeing the same ads over and over – and needing great snacks. This inspired Starcom to create the first ever 4/20 High-atus, encouraging binge watchers to take five and cure their flavor crave at Wingstop. Taking cues from old cinema snack bars, and the infamously repetitive commercials on services like Hulu and YouTube, it created its own repetitive video, serving multiple, sequential messages to binge watching fans.

On Hulu, it ran four, :15 second units across a programme, creating breaks for bingers. Each 15 became trippier and trippier, turning up the crave. It extended the 4/20 High-atus across Online Video using retargeting. This wasn’t a one hitter. It also went to Linear Cable, scheduling sequential videos with 2 units per pod, 4 units per show on Adult Swim and Viceland as well as sequential videos on Fuse. It hit the Big Screen on 4/20 — placing a High-atus in Cinema prior to the Super Troopers 2 premiere – a cult comedy with a drug caper at the core.


Know What Your Data Knows | Google Cloud | PHD | US

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Innovation (WINNER), Best Use of Real-time Marketing (WINNER)


In an increasingly competitive cloud marketplace, Google Cloud brought to life the magic of Google Cloud technology in one of the most viewed sporting events of 2017 – the NCAA March Madness tournament. C-level executives, IT decision makers, and developers are challenged to make smarter, data-based decisions every day, and AI/ML tools, deployed through cloud-based technology, is the path to future success. But let’s face it, choosing a Cloud platform can be a bit…cloudy. The category is developing at an exponential rate, with 50+ companies competing in the market and Cloud IT revenues projected to double by 2020.

PHD set out to show, not tell, how Google Cloud allows the most innovative leaders to see things with greater clarity and insight. To demonstrate its capabilities, – and with 80+ years of historical NCAA data in Google Cloud – it would use Google Cloud to analyse the historical data of the match up for a before-tip-off prediction and first half statistics to determine a real-time prediction for the second half of the game, re-format the first commercial break, and create the first real-time commercial in the highly-watched March Madness NCAA tournament.

That prediction commercial would then be aired in the first commercial break of the second half during each of the final three games of the tournament. Also, as part of the capabilities demonstration, the agency leveraged Google’s dynamic feed technology to programmatically serve banner ads across a number of ad exchanges with contextual predictions for each of the Final 4 games and Championship for both men’s and women’s. The contextual media placement relied on the same model as the TV ads and required the same real time steps in order to traffic and serve impressions.

Boroughbreds | The Animal Care Centers of New York | Wavemaker | US

Shortlisted for: Effectiveness Awards (WINNER), Best Use of Traditional or Ambient Media ( WINNER)


Finding homes for adorable, loving animals seems easy. However, at the Animal Care Centers of New York, the state’s only open-admission shelter system, a staggering 35,000 unwanted pets are taken in yearly. Data showed that its target – New Yorkers most likely to adopt – were on average 36 years of age, early adopters of technology and, of course, resistant to traditional advertising. This did present a notable challenge as these consumers would be nearly numb to the bombardment of advertisements that exist on nearly every city block.

To convince these consumers to open their homes to a furry family member, Wavemaker knew it needed to build a connection between them and these animals they had never met. Utilising data, it was able to determine that New Yorkers are not only proud of where they live but also have a strong commitment to the place they call home, no matter where they come from. Through this pride, it found that many New Yorkers are sincerely committed to helping other New Yorkers in their moments of need.

As part of a larger data, creative and media partnership, it launched the “Boroughbreds” campaign and brought to life this shared sense of identity. This strategy treated each pet as not just a number in a shelter system, but as New Yorkers. These boroughbreds’ diverse backgrounds and heritages were put on display to create a connection between New Yorkers and their neighbours. It utilised targeted out of home ads that would tie individual boroughbreds and where they came from and strategically placed their ads in the neighbourhoods they were from.

Check out the full list of Festival of Media North America Awards 2018 winners here.

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