Campbell’s and CDSS campaigns win Best of Show at MIAs

A total of 19 agencies were recognized for their media innovation on Thursday.

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The Media Innovation Awards gala went off without a hitch after two years of waiting for its return to the scene. Nineteen agencies were given 92 awards during Thursday afternoon’s virtual reveal, but only two of those were the coveted Best of Show.

The Public Service Best of Show went to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society / Google and FCB for their “Project Understood” – a campaign that successfully connected with a niche community, enlisting Down syndrome volunteers to help alter nascent voice AI to improve the user experience, while creating awareness of an inequality that exists in speech recognition. The agency and non-profit worked with Google to collect data points – or human voices – to train the tech co’s AI platform to better understand the characteristics of speech disfluencies.

The Best of Show was awarded to Campbell’s and Zulu Alpha Kilo for “Feeding Imagination,” where media integration, led by Spark Foundry, was at the heart of the campaign. For the CPG brand’s imaginative platform, Zulu asked kids to come up with a story about Goldfish and then brought their ideas to life in myriad impactful ways: drawings on paper became murals on a wall, a story turned into a publishable book, and another was recreated to become a video game on Snapchat.

Both Best of Show campaigns also won multiple Golds. Four were given to CDSS, Google and FCB, while another two were awarded to Campbell’s and Zulu across several categories, from Consumer Engagement to Consumer Goods.

But they weren’t the only ones to leave the “stage” with multiple Gold medals.

Sport Chek and Touche! went home with two Golds (plus two Silvers) for “Leveraging Love and Hate”; Arterra Wines –who works with PHD on media – and agency Bensimon Byrne were recognized with two Golds (plus a Silver and a Bronze) for “Giphy”; BMO and FCB left with one Gold (and two Silvers, plus a Bronze) for “Financial Fairness,” with media led by UM; Interval House and DonerNorth (formerly Union) were given two Golds for “ESCape Abuse”; and Roncesvalles Village BIA and The Local Collective also snagged a couple Golds for “Not for Lease.”

Meanwhile, Wilson and Touche! (for “Bugs Out”), Sobeys and FCB (for “Feed the Dream Tablecloth”), Starbucks and Spark Foundry (for “No… You can’t do that!”), Canadian Tire and Touche! (for “Operation Puck Drop”), IKEA and Carat (for “Won’t Wake the Baby”), as well as HomeEquity Back, the Royal Canadian Legion and Zulu Alpha Kilo (for “World’s Oldest eSports Team”) each took home a Gold.

Beyond campaign work, the MIAs also recognizes media companies and media leaders that go above and beyond. This year’s Media Leader of the Year title was given to Shelley Smit, CEO at UM, for futureproofing UM’s people, community, and clients with the goal of empowering her agency to deliver on business outcomes rather than traditional media metrics and processes.

As for the Media Partner of the Year title, that went to Rogers Sports & Media as result of its efforts to drive inclusion with – campaigns that broke down barriers, including helping Movember target more diverse audiences for its men’s health initiative, highlighting small businesses for Scotiabank, and producing Hockey Night in Canada in seven languages.

To see the cases for the aforementioned Gold medalists – in addition to the Silver and Bronze winners – watch the virtual show below, where this year’s co-chairs Kevin Johnson at GroupM and Robin Hassan from Unilever, alongside some of the live jury members, discuss the 2021 winners. And to view the written submissions, visit the MIAs website.