Type1 takes Best of the Best at CMA Awards

Taxi and Wunderman Thompson's Volkswagen unit took the top prize, while Rethink won Top Cause with YWCA.

A lot of agencies were seeing gold when the CMA Awards returned Thursday evening, but the virtual gala’s top prize went to something a little more green.

Volkswagen and Type1 – a dedicated unit for the automaker from WPP that pulls talent from Taxi and Wunderman Thompson in Canada – was given Best of the Best honours for “The Carbon Neutral Net” campaign.

The work – which was led in this instance by Taxi and also won three Golds during the CMA’s gala – launched Volkswagen’s first all electric SUV with a website that was stripped down to ASCII test and streamlined code to reduce its own carbon footprint, capitalizing on the insight that the internet generates roughly 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Top Cause campaign was given to YWCA Metro Vancouver and Rethink for the “Wall for Women” campaign. Working with artist Ola Volo, the campaign featured a a 42-foot mural that was the kind of thing passersby would want to take a photo of. But the art actually had hidden QR codes within it so, when the photo was taken, a smartphone would recognize the code, deliver a stat about domestic violence and direct them to a YWCA Metro Vancouver website providing more statistics, information about relevant YWCA services and a method to donate to its programs.

Across the show, Rethink also took home the most Golds at a total of nine; aside from YWCA, the agency also won for work with Kraft Heinz, Molson Coors, IKEA Canada and Science World.

Rethink was followed closely by Zulu Alpha Kilo, which won eight Gold for work with clients including Subaru Canada, Consonant Skin+Care, Ratesdotca, HomeEquity Bank, Campbell Canada and the Toronto Association of BIAs.

Other multi-Gold winning agencies included Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, FCB and the team of Touche! and Anomaly. A total of 25 agencies won at least one Gold, with dozens of other Silver and Bronze winners – the full list of winners can be found on the CMA website.

Marketer of the Year honours were given to Susan Irving, CMO at Kruger Products. After joining the company at the start of the pandemic and helping to lead it through a tumultuous time, Irving oversaw the launch of the “Unapologetically Human” masterbrand campaign, as well as new platforms for the Scotties and SpongeTowels brands, as well as ongoing leadership over the company’s full portfolio of paper products. Since joining, Kruger has had a 2.3 dollar share point increase across its four brands and a 30% sales increase.

The CMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Bryan Pearson, former president and CEO of LoyaltyOne. Pearson joined the company in 1992, responsible for food retail partners, before moving up the ranks and being named president of the Air Miles program in 1999 and president and CEO of the full company in 2007. Among his accomplishments, Pearson’s work on the program transformed how retailers, credit cards and other service providers engage with their customers and shaped the conversation around using data and analytics insights for marketing and returns on investments.