Gold: Gravity Road
Gravity Road has scooped the Digital Innovation Agency of the Year award, thanks to 12 months in which it took tech-enabled marketing to the next level. This included generating personalisation at scale, combining artificial intelligence with dynamic creative content and exploiting social commerce.
Part of Brandtech group You & Mr Jones, the agency has reaped the rewards financially, notching up its strongest year of commercial growth to date in 2020, with 12 new-business wins.
Among its varied work, the agency partnered Sainsbury’s online team to dynamically feed real-time data around geographic slot availability into digital display and social advertising creative. For Visit Britain, it was briefed to promote safe tourism domestically. AI audience tools were used to direct dynamic social content, allowing the tourism body to promote those areas where pandemic levels were lower, and where there was untapped demand.
Gravity Road also devised Lego’s first AR filter, which offered almost 1.5 million possible combinations, across hair style and colour, hats, skin tone, make-up, glasses and facial hair, enabling Lego fans to see themselves as “minifigs”.
Other highlights included GR Junior, a newsletter offering ideas and practical tools for employees homeschooling during lockdown.
The agency is also looking to tap into the lucrative gaming market. It has turned its attention to gaming, esports and sponsorship, via a strategic investment through You & Mr Jones in gaming venture fund Griffin Gaming Partners.
“A game-changing impact,” was how judges described Gravity Road’s use of technology to further digital engagement in concert with creativity.
Oliver’s well-deserved silver came after a year in which it showcased its digital innovation credentials and its love of 1990s nostalgia, with a campaign spanning social media, out of home and TV, to mark the 25th anniversary of Lynx’s most well-known variant, Africa. The “Hot since ‘95” work became the Unilever brand’s most effective campaign in a decade. Using a snap code, shoppers could enter a virtual reality portal, play games and use bespoke filters.
For Barclaycard (pictured), a campaign aiming to protect consumers against fraud drove a 600% increase in site traffic. Meanwhile, for deodorant brand Rexona (Sure in the UK), Oliver transformed its social media platforms into movement hubs, featuring workouts, motivational content and mental health advice and tips, inspiring people to move. Daily content was delivered for nine million people in 25 countries.
S4 Capital’s MediaMonks built rich, interactive, effective digital content for its clients in 2020. The agency’s flexibility and agility helped brands to stand out in a crowded digital landscape. It delivered weekly live workouts for Nike in just 48 hours from brief, helped brands that had only an in-store presence to connect with consumers via digital and social campaigns and revamped digital customer experiences in the automotive sector for brands such as Maserati (pictured).
Last year’s winner, AnalogFolk delivered its biggest-ever innovation projects for clients such as HSBC and Diageo, strengthened innovation-led partnerships with brands including Facebook, Beats by Dre and Foot Locker and developed AI solutions addressing societal inequality. This included a tool which solves the challenge of women diminishing their successes through language.
R/GA London’s new proposition is “designing businesses and brands for a more human future”. This thinking was infused in digital campaigns for clients such as Nike, McDonald's, Le Creuset, Standard Chartered and IKEA. In 2020, the agency also introduced Make/Change - a global and local strategy for racial equity in creative companies.
We Are Social
The agency’s campaign highlights in 2020 include a social distancing lens on Snapchat, a billion-view TikTok campaign for Pringles, and creative brand building for Vodafone and Dr Martens. The agency also used its platforms to champion black creatives and creators and normalised talking about the everyday issues women face in the workplace.