Win-wins

The winners of our annual Cause + Action Awards show the impact brands can have in the CSR space, while two new awards reflect important shifts in advertising.

The annual CSR issue is one of our favourites, as we get to check in on everyone’s passion projects. It’s energizing to see so many brands stepping up their CSR efforts and focusing in on more effective programs, such as Campbell’s and Shoppers. And many are ramping up internal eco efforts, such as Unilever’s green power commitment.
In fact, you could argue brands are filling a regulatory role when it comes to CSR. When a business with the clout of Walmart decrees packaging reduction thresholds, it has immediate impact and is very enforceable. Marketers also have more skills in changing attitudes and encouraging behaviours than regulators do, so it’s no surprise that their efforts are exponentially more powerful when married to causes. That’s what inspired our CSR superhero cover.
The tagline of strategy’s Cause + Action Awards is “Brand plans that are changing minds. And matter.” When we created C + A back in 2007, it seemed a little grandiose, but the idea was to inspire readers, and each year the entries have delivered. Our winners show the impact brands can have, so check out how efforts like Hellmann’s Real Food Movement are changing the landscape.
To keep identifying “bold vision and brand new ideas” as per our tagline, strategy has two new initiatives. First off, we’re launching the AToMiC Awards. I know, I know, more awards. But this one responds to an important shift in advertising, as well as feedback on awards in general.
Now that brands’ goal is to be closer to content, the strategy marketing industry and Playback production communities have more in common. So, partnering with Playback, the journal of record for Canada’s TV, film and interactive industry, strategy’s AToMiC Awards celebrate the accomplishments that challenge the media status quo, and show the way forward for the overall Canadian media industry.
Most awards shows consist of a group of peers checking out each other’s work. AToMiC brings together the new partners whose collaboration is key to deeper connection with audiences – across advertising, media, technology and content categories – to recognize the programs and plans that embody the best thinking across this new mediaverse.
AToMiC will recognize the work of a media agency, a digital agency or AOR, as long as it blows up conventional thinking in some potent mix of advertising, media, technology and creativity. We’re also looking for mediaco-side developments that take content platforms and models to a new level – whether it’s a MMOG or a property that launches with an amazing array of touchpoints.
I’d like to thank AToMiC co-chairs Lauren Richards of Media Experts and Mark Childs of Campbell Canada for coming up with brilliant judging scenarios, not to mention winnowing it all down to a dozen categories so only the work worth noting gets its due.
We’re also grateful for the input of our advisory board, spanning all sides of the mediascape, who will join judging co-chairs Lauren and Mark as the first AToMiC jury: Cossette’s Nick Barbuto, Marblemedia’s Mark Bishop, CBC’s Alan Dark, John St.’s Stephen Jurisic, Unilever’s Sharon MacLeod, AOL’s Graham Moysey and Barbara Smith of the Globe and Mail.
The first AToMiC Awards show is this fall and the winners will be featured in the October issue of strategy, and at Strategyonline.ca, Mediaincanada.com and Playbackonline.ca. The deadline to throw your hat into the ring is July 15.
And finally, strategy’s Agency of the Year competition is giving digital its due. As more campaigns become digitally driven, it’s time to see who has the strongest body of work. So, 2011 marks the inaugural Digital Agency of the Year Awards, and we’re curious who’ll take the stage this November.

Cheers, mm
Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy, Media in Canada and stimulant

PS: Befitting our CSR superhero, we have an uber-green cover form thanks to Montreal-based Pazazz Printing. Using a UV process that takes half the energy and yields less waste, their new press uses eco inks (VOC and HAP free) and can handle a wider array of recycled stock. Nice.