The Reception


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2018 winner, Bodyform

When we launched our campaign #bloodnormal in October 2017, we knew we would get some hateful reactions. But you don’t break taboos without triggering visceral negativity. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a taboo. This case study will tell you the story of how the Bodyform/Libresse (Essity) marketing team managed to galvanise their entire company to think and act more boldly than it could ever have imagined doing in order to bring to life its purpose and make a meaningful difference to its consumers: Women. It will explain how a great purpose would have meant nothing without the courage and tenacity of a small group of committed people to actively tackle category conventions, break societal taboos, keep challenging attitudes inside and outside the company, and push relentlessly against media bans to establish a new standard in the category, and a new paradigm for women. And it will provide some lessons we’ve learned along the way, proving why it is worth every fight to truly act purposefully.

Young Leader: Hannah Pain

Since joining McDonald’s in 2015 as brand manager, Hannah Pain’s approach to marketing has been exemplary. A number of high profile and hugely effective campaigns under her belt have helped McDonald’s send levels of “brand love” to an all-time high. Among her many highlights were a McFlurry campaign aimed at 16-24 year-olds, while in 2017 she smashed already high expectations and delivered McDonald’s most successful ever Christmas campaign, and her work on the launch of McDelivery in the UK, adding 1% to sales within a short space of time. In a marketing world that is sometimes over-enamoured with data and science, Pain’s “gut feel” and intuition combine powerfully with McDonald’s insight-led approach, resulting in campaigns that are shaped and adapted for optimal relevance to both external and internal audiences. Meanwhile, her strong strategic thinking and “infectious personality”, led to her promotion to senior brand manager in 2017.

Leader of 2018: Mark Evans

Mark Evans is a marketing leader who relishes a challenge. By refocusing Direct Line on customer experience and injecting it with a dose of vitality with the “Winston Wolf” campaign, he turned it from a struggling brand to one in rude financial health. According to Larissa Vince, managing director of Direct Line’s agency Saatchi & Saatchi London, if there were one word to describe Evans, it would be “competitive”. Arguing the case for his becoming Marketing Leader of the Year, she wrote in Campaign: “He’s competitive about anything and everything. The performance of his brands. His career. Sport. DLG team-building days. Everything.” But just as revealing of his character is that his competitiveness is tempered with an appetite for philanthropy and a genuine interest in people outside the alpha business type. He set up annual event Sprintathon, which raises money for Stand Up To Cancer, and is fascinated by people whose brains are wired differently, those with autism, dyslexia and ADHD.

2018 winner, Skittles

This paper is about breaking conventions. The conventions of the agency model, the conventions of branding and now the conventions of effectiveness case studies. This was not just an advertising campaign, but an idea that changed everything from production techniques to retailer relationships and won awards for everything from packaging design to activation events.  But increasingly, this is what truly transformative communication ideas need to do.  To reach beyond the confines of advertising and influence every aspect of a business.  So we won't be excluding things like distribution changes from our results. Instead, we will prove that these impressive business changes were driven directly by our advertising idea. Skittles have built a beloved brand on the back of consistent investment in distinctive TV advertising. However, by 2015, Skittles UK were facing two key challenges that couldn't be tackled by their conventional marketing approach.

Award winners 2018

Our Excellence Awards have been going since 1985, with one of the first winners being Sir James Espey.  And Marketing Society Global Ambassador, Hugh Burkitt, spoke to him back in 2015, on the 30-year anniversary of our awards. Watch their chat. Anyway, the point we're trying to make is that our awards have history and heritage. So we don't use the term lightly, but the winners really do represent excellence - a gold standard of bold and brave marketing.

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