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A look into the most awarded digital campaigns of the year

Stop what you are doing & get ready for some extraordinary examples of creative awesomeness.

By Dannos Tsakalos, Marketing Manager, TDG

Every year, The Gunn Report analyzes and evaluates all of the winners from what it regards as the world’s most important advertising competitions and produces a global ranking of the most-awarded ad agencies, campaigns, clients and countries.

Therefore, without further ado, let’s have a look at the digital ads that returned home with the most silverware last year.

And the winner is…

Let me give you a hint: Last June, in Cannes, this campaign won 5 Grand Prix, 18 Gold Lions, 3 Silver Lions & 2 Bronze Lions, thrashing previous record holder “Best job in the world”.

That was easy, wasn’t it? The winner and the most awarded campaign in the history of The Gunn Report, is “Dumb ways to Die” from McCann Australia. It was designed to make young people aware of the high level of fatalities that occur around metro trains. The video and song generated a staggering 20 million internet views in its first week, going on to become the most shared public service announcement (PSA) ever.

What makes this campaign special (other than the fact that it was effective, as deaths and injuries have fallen since its launch) is that it proved that “simple works”. Why? Because, as Dave Trott eloquently demonstrates in this brilliant post, “everyone understands simple. Simple sticks in the memory.

Window Shopping 2.0

Moving down in the list, we come across “Adidas Window Shopping” by TWBA/Helsinki, which took window shopping to a new level and was granted multiple Grand Prix awards in 2013.

Another brick in the wall

Another multi-awarded campaign was “Build with Chrome” by M&C Saatchi Australia, which demonstrated the power of the browser in a fun, joyful experience for the everyday user.

Again, simplicity was the key word & one of the reasons why “Build with Chrome” was an instant online success story.

From Cuba to… Cannes

“Clouds over Cuba” by The Martin Agency is a brilliant interactive film about the Cuban missile crisis, which not only did well on the awards circuit with 11 Cannes Lions, but also won an Emmy!

The Conclusion

The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”

The great Howard Luck Gossard shuffled off this mortal coil 45 years ago, but his quote is still as timely as it gets.  People only read/watch/engage with what they find interesting enough. And, as Sir John Hegarty points out, “the simplest, most memorable device we have for engaging, learning, entertaining and persuading is Storytelling.

Yeap. Storytelling. The ability to be compelling, useful, relevant… Because, to revert to Dave Trott’s “blog of wisdom”, every ad should be seen as “a transaction: I’ll give you something interesting in exchange for some of your attention. If I don’t give you something interesting, you’ll ignore it. It’s always been that way {…} It isn’t a matter of what you do, it’s a matter of how well you do whatever you do.Good ads work, bad ads don’t. Whether on TV, radio, posters, press, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

The bonus ads

For every “The Epic Split”, there are dozens of commercials that are mediocre at best. That’s normal. However, those rare great ads are so thrilling that it takes hours for the goose bumps to go away.  Here are a few examples:

Smirnoff Mindtunes” by Duval Guillaume Modem is a project that enabled Andy, Jo and Mark, who aren’t able to play regular instruments, to create a rather unique piece of music, controlling musical software with nothing but their mind.


#LoveJu”, the world’s first ever social media choreography, by We are Social.


The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation” (KNGF) commercial for veteran dogs, by Selmore Amsterdam.

And… boom, this spoof campaign by Droga5.

As James Hurman emphasizes in this article, more and more campaigns try “to connect with consumers in a deeper way through doing things that add something good to the world around them.

Advertising was always about solving business problems. But the things are e-changing. Therefore, it had to evolve into something bigger and better. Something that is a lot more than advertising. And that’s f****** great, don’t you agree?

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