You’ve probably already seen who the winners overall were. But let’s take a deeper dive into the Best Thoughtful Marketing Campaign winners here. Because they’re worth spending some time on.
Gold: Virgin Media - Twitter Street
In December 2020, Big Issue vendors were losing £100,000 in donations each week. Their biggest sales period - the run-up to Christmas - was obliterated by lockdown.
At a time when the public couldn't get to the high street, how could Virgin Media bring the high street to them?
RAPP worked with their client Virgin Media on a powerful idea that would put the vendors back in the spotlight and back on the nation's radar as a collective in real need.
By giving prospects and customers an opportunity to reconnect with their local community at Christmas, Virgin Media sought to bridge the emotional gap between vendor and donor, inspiring brand love and positivity for the brand along the way.
With fewer opportunities to get out of the house, internet usage was soaring. In June, UK adults were spending more than 25% of their waking day online - the highest on record.
Maximising The Big Issue's online presence would be key to raising awareness of the cause, and inspire donations.
As the face-to-face connections that vendors rely on were no longer possible due to the global pandemic, the brand recreated those moments of humanity in a place it knew people were managing to connect with one another: social media.
Studies of donor behaviour show that people are willing to give to individuals with names and faces than to an anonymous and nebulous group.
With that in mind, the campaign gave the vendors a platform to reconnect with potential donors and explain how The Big Issue Foundation was changing their lives for the better.
350,000 followers were the power to connect vendors with a huge new audience. RAPP knew Twitter would be the best social platform to get people talking about societal issues. Virgin Media chose to take a back seat and let big issue vendors do the talking.
Eight days before Christmas, the official Virgin Media Twitter account was handed over to The Big Issue to create Twitter Street. It gave vendors the chance to make eye contact again, get up close and tell their personal stories and take them back into people’s lives.
A special focus was placed on giving people the opportunity to find their local vendor and subscribe directly to them.
The promotion ran through a Twitter Spotlight to push the feed to as many people as possible, giving everyone outside the community a chance to join in.
A third of Virgin Media customers walked down Twitter Street.
They started buying The Big Issue online and switched to a more profitable subscription model. Over 25m impressions were achieved in 24 hours, driving two months’ traffic to site in one day.
Vendor donations increased by 79%.
Through the use of the 'Find your local vendor' functionality the campaign successfully reconnected customers with their local Big Issue sellers and generated a 320% increase in the number of direct magazine subscriptions sold.
Silver: BT Group - Hope United
Agencies: Digitas UK and Saatchi & Saatchi
BT wanted to get back to the cultural heart of the nation, using its scale to give a platform to issues that were of most importance to the British public, and highlight how people could use technology to solve problems.
The telecoms giant has set a 2025 target of helping 25 million people, families and businesses in the UK to be equipped with the digital skills needed to create a more equitable online world.
With the insight that one in 10 of us have experienced online abuse in the past year, it was vital to fight online hate.
Euro 2020 was about to start; given BT's sponsorship of the home nations, it couldn’t ignore the fact online abuse experienced by football players was getting worse.
BT decided to use the Euros to highlight the reality of online hate and how we can all play a role in tackling it.
The week before the Euros, BT announced the launch of Hope United, a team of 18 players across the UK united around a mission of hope.
It used its tech tips platform to show how technology can be used to call out, combat and prevent online hate. And through pledges and merch drops, BT invited people to become part of the mission and amplify the team's message.
Hope United was a diverse dream team of football players from across the home nations with a collective goal to tackle online hate.
The squad, managed by Rio Ferdinand, consisted of men, women and para-footballers, including Marcus Rashford and Lucy Bronze. All had experienced online hate and wanted to tackle it.
Players became the voice behind the tech tips, helping people not only understand the devastating effects of online hate, but also how we can all become part of the solution through tangible actions.
Tips were distributed across social channels, and used the personal accounts of team members to reach their millions of followers.
A dynamic club website became a hub where people could immerse themselves in the Hope United mission, tech tips content, social pledges and buy merch to support the team - keeping engagement levels high throughout the summer. During the final, a spike in online hate messages was called out, and in the aftermath campaign leaders digitised the Marcus Rashford mural in Manchester, recording a moment in history for the UK.
In just two months, Hope United educated over 3.7 million people in the UK about how to fight online hate.
BT successfully changed the perception of many football fans, with 24% of people who saw social content saying they were now more likely to report offensive behaviour online.
The Hope United team made a huge impact during the Euros and got people speaking across the country.
Bronze: WaterAid - Juxtaposing the Mission to Mars with 'The Girl Who Built A Rocket'
Agency: The Kite Factory
Despite living on the fourth-biggest island in the world, almost half of Madagascans have no clean water.
WaterAid's communication objective was to tell the story of the potential of the community in Madagascar, and the barriers blocking it, in a way that would drive increased consideration.
The campaign put water at the heart of the news cycle.
With three Mars missions landing in early 2021, WaterAid identified a cultural moment with universal meaning.
Billions are being spent to find water on Mars but nobody is thirsty there. Here on Earth, a staggering 771 million people still don't have access to clean water.
The Mars missions were juxtaposed with the story of a community in Madagascar, and the difference clean water could make there.
Media was bought to reach an emotionally primed audience for impactful consideration.
The plan combined TV with digital platforms, to maximise the reach of the campaign film, before transitioning the focus to engagement, to underpin the key objective of shifting the consideration metric.
The lead piece of content was an animated film, presenting the community with their real-life vibrancy and agency, with a Sir Trevor McDonald voiceover and a specially composed version of David Bowie's 'Life on Mars' grabbing attention.
The creative used the shared dreams of all children to establish a universal platform of understanding, around which was shown the charity’s role in supporting communities to take control.
Media was led by TV and digital to maximise the video asset.
The TV component included an exclusive Channel 4 TV/VOD partnership with peak spots in key programming and a contextual Channel 4 News spot on the evening the NASA mission landed.
Online, the campaign used a blend of tactics to drive both mass engagement and deeper engagement:
• Initially optimised towards reach/video views and engagement, using YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Teads to build frequency among all audiences
• Optimised content fed across multiple placements using various video lengths best suited to each platform. To ensure every available touchpoint was utilised to maximise campaign visibility, the campaign was further supported in Owned and Earned channels across WaterAid.
The initiative put rocket boosters under UK consideration and performance but also enabled WaterAid to fund projects in Madagascar, working with communities to help them create new opportunities to thrive.
The film launch generated 162 pieces of coverage with a reach of 15.6 million and engagement rates on social campaign assets were well above benchmarks.
Against the key campaign objective of driving increased consideration for WaterAid’s work there was +5% uplift in the consideration metric of ‘giving £1 tomorrow if asked’.
There was also positive movement in other key intermediate metrics:
• Quality metric (belief that WaterAid has a positive impact on the cause) increased by 11% in line with the campaign
• Value metric (‘would give all/some of £25’) increased by +10%
Leading short-term results included:
• 18% uplift in cash and regular donations, helping achieve the highest gross response rate in more than a year
• Response rates - phone, SMS or online - were significantly higher than the previous six-month average