Zulu, Rethink the big winners at the 2020 CMA Awards

Zulu won Best of the Best for Subaru's "Greatest Outback of All Time," while Rethink tallied up the most Gold wins.

The Canadian Marketing Association didn’t let the challenges of 2020 put a damper on the sparkle and prestige of its annual awards ceremony, with a custom-built virtual experience that included a mixologist, magician, photo booth and giveaways.

Oh, and there were are a lot of awards, too.

This year’s Best of the Best award for the top-scoring campaign went to Zulu Alpha Kilo and Subaru for the “Greatest Outback of All Time” campaign. A play on the phrase “G.O.A.T.,” the campaign put the 2020 Subaru Outback against a literal mountain goat in a break from typical auto marketing that showed off the vehicle’s features and capabilities.

The campaign also won four Golds, one of which was shared with OMD for its win in the Innovative Media category. Zulu also won a Gold each for Cineplex’s “Projecting Hope” and the Responsible Gambling Council’s “Check Your Reflex.”

The most Golds went to Rethink, which picked up the top award in 12 categories. The winning campaigns included “Pour Perfectly” “Ketchup Puzzle” and “Stick Together for Small Business” for Kraft Heinz, “Flight Light” and “We Treat People Like People” for WestJet, “Embarrassing Plastic Bags” for East West Market and “Ka’wine and Dine” for Raptors Republic.

FCB won nine Golds for clients including BMO, Hudson’s Bay, YWCA and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. One of those Golds was the LinkedIn B2B Marketing Award for its work on a one-day “Google blast” for BMO, a complete takeover that ended up over-delivering on its KPIs and acquisition goals.

No Fixed Address (NFA) won the Top Cause award for “SickKids Airbnb” for the SickKids Foundation. The campaign also won three Golds, with NFA taking an additional two Golds for “Lolli” with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Other special awards winners were RI and Plan International, which won the Canada Post Integrated Marketing Award for the “(Stop a) Wedding Invitation” direct mail campaign, and Banfield, which won the Cannabis Marketing Award for Reefertilizer’s “#GrowGoodWeed” campaign.

Two of the special awards – the Facebook Mobile Marketing Award and the Environics Analytics Data Marketing Award – went to Touche! for its work with Sport Chek’s 2019 Black Friday campaign, which utilized social listening to address consumer demand and pain points in real time.

The Marketer of the Year award was a tie this year. Sandra Sanderson, SVP of marketing for Sobeys, was recognized for her work leading efforts across a portfolio that includes the Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, FreshCo and Lawtons banners, as well as her work around the company’s sustainability and community efforts, the relaunch of the Compliments brand and the piloting of the Voila grocery delivery service.

The other winner was Cindy Wong, regional head of marketing for HSBC, who became the first Canadian to represent the North American market on the bank’s global leadership team, in addition to overseeing her team of 70 marketers in Canada. Her team, along with agency Wunderman Thompson, also won a Gold during the awards ceremony for the “Adpointments” campaign.

The CMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Steve Levy, chief client officer at Ipsos and creator of its long-running “Most Influential Brands” report.

The full list of Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, as well as more info about the winning campaigns and special award winners, can be found on the CMA’s website.