In this ever-expanding brand marketing ecosystem, the challenge for advertisers to effectively reach their targeted audience calls for an audacious media plan. Sometimes it’s a simple execution with a powerful message, and then there’s a need for an off-the-wall, completely bonkers campaign to cut through the clutter. This year’s crop of Media Plan of the Year honorees celebrates 23 winning teams that check those boxes and everything in between with extraordinary campaigns that sparked national conversations. From Droga5’s quiet, yet impactful “The Free Press” campaign for The New York Times to MullenLowe MediaHub’s creepy, futuristic “Altered Carbon” bus shelter campaign (see the full story here), agencies’ next-level innovation and creativity continued to shine bright in 2018
Universal McCann | Tourism Australia, ‘Cheeky Dundee’
Categories: International Campaign ($1+ million, Aussie News Today),
Best Use of Social ($2+ million, Son of a Legend)
Kangaroos and koala bears are getting ogled by more international tourists in the land down under these days, thanks to two vastly different media plans from Universal McCann and Tourism Australia (TA).
“Both of the campaigns focused on showcasing the personality of Australia and Australians, which are quite unique to most people,” explains Geoff Ikin, TA’s general manager of global media and PR.
The cheeky side of Aussies was definitely on display in both. And the TV spot added a bit of mischief. Prior to its Super Bowl broadcast, UM dropped word in a number of ways to suggest the ad would tout a new sequel to the iconic Crocodile Dundee movie that would feature Paul Hogan (the original Dundee), Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride—all of whom are in the commercial.
“We spent a ridiculous amount of time to ensure the legitimacy of the concept, so people couldn’t tie the campaign back to Tourism Australia,” says Chris Colter, UM’s global strategy director. But about a week into the tease, people began speculating that TA was behind it. “Originally, we were like, ‘Oh no, game over!’ But the thing that surprised us is it just fueled more conversation,” says Colter.
When the ad ran during the Super Bowl, it became clear that the movie “news” was a ruse. The week following the ad’s telecast saw a 35 percent growth in searches for flights to Australia, and “Dundee” was the most-viewed Super Bowl commercial.
While the “Dundee” campaign aimed to bump up Australia’s share of U.S. tourism, which has been stagnant at 1.3 percent in recent years, “Aussie News Today” was focused on youth travelers, who make up 46 percent of international visitor spend. Europe was a particular focus, Ikin says. A native partnership with BuzzFeed was formed, and a global search for eight influencer correspondents took place.
All told, the budding reporters produced 200 news spots from all over the country. The campaign tweaked some noses by pairing up the bad news in various overseas markets with fun info about what people might do or see in Australia. “Aussie News” has generated over 27.5 million video views and 2,400 shares. And it garnered traditional media coverage that UM values at $3.6 million.
Colter was surprised by how virile some of the posts became: “Even a small Melbourne café got millions of views. Sometimes the small things can perform as well as the bigger acts.” —Janet Stilson
UM | KFC, ‘Weathermatic Chicken’
Category: Best Use of Data
Going against accepted wisdom was a sticking point for Universal McCann when it figured out how to improve KFC’s track record in Malaysia. Sales were at a 10-year low for the first half of 2017, even though KFC had the QSR category’s highest media spend and top-of-mind recall in that country.
“People think that during bad weather, people spend more time indoors, which means that TV consumption grows,” says Aparna Krishnan, UM director of digital and strategic planning in Malaysia. That, in turn, suggests that TV buying should increase. UM discovered data showing that during bad weather, mobile video accounted for 64 percent of sales, with TV coming in at a mere 13 percent. When the weather improved, those numbers flipped, with TV outweighing mobile video.
It took some doing, but Krishnan and her colleagues convinced the skeptics and shifted to a buying strategy based on weather and media usage patterns. KFC’s revenue rose 8 percent and servings went up 6 percent, increasing media ROI threefold in H2 2017.
“We’ll continue to use it in our performance and optimization strategy,” says Rina Low, a UM vp, in speaking of the “weathermatic” buying process. She and Krishnan believe it just might work for other products or in completely different countries. —J.S.
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