Essence wins Campaign Tech Awards Agency of the Year

WPP shop won judges' choice award as well as two individual prizes.

Essence: won Best Use of Creative Personalisation for 'Project Pegasus'
Essence: won Best Use of Creative Personalisation for 'Project Pegasus'

Essence is this year’s Campaign Tech Awards Agency of the Year after impressing the judges with a series of outstanding projects for Google that helped the WPP shop also scoop individual prizes.

The digital media shop was praised by one judge for "great, consistent application of the agency's thinking". The coveted Agency of the Year prize is a judges’ choice award, meaning agencies could not nominate themselves but were chosen instead by the jury of industry professionals. 

Essence won the prizes at the climax of the Campaign Tech Awards live virtual presentation, a two-day online event held to celebrate the work while complying with social-distancing rules. The ceremony can be replayed on the Campaign Tech Awards website

The agency landed Best Use of Creative Personalisation for Google's "Project Pegasus", its post-cookie ad solution that automates the production of creative tailored to individual articles on publishers' sites. 

Best Innovative App went to Apadmi’s "SailGP App", which took multiple live broadcast streams with numerous data sources from boats for the championship and achieved an incredibly low broadcast lag of under five seconds.

There were two winners for the Best Use of Experimental Tech award after the judges could not decide between two standout entries. The joint winners were Octagon for Mastercard’s "live trophy" activation for the Rugby World Cup that created one-of-a-kind trophies with commentary highlights, and Publicis.Poke for EE’s "World first 5G AI stylist", which used super-fast internet to create a fashion icon avatar who brought high fashion at speed to viewers of the Baftas. 

Most Effective Use of Programmatic Media went to Merkle for Twitter’s "Magpie" marketing campaign that used artificial intelligence in real time to drive personalised, coherent creative based on conversations that are happening on the platform.

Unit9 – which won Tech Company of the Year during the first day of the awards presentation – today picked up the Tech for Good award. Unit9 director Martin Percy created a sophisticated interactive video that shows people what they can do to help a person with suicidal thoughts. 

Tech Pioneer of the Year was given to Shaun Lohman, founder of Adgile Media, after celebrating a breakout year with the roll-out of its Intelligent Content Recognition technology that promises to be a game-changer for analysing TV ad performance.  

This year’s awards also split the Breakthrough Tech award into five categories in order to reflect how emerging tech is manifesting itself in distinct ways across brand verticals: Charity, Consumer Goods, Entertainment, Retail and Services.

The Charity gong went to R/GA London for its powerful deepfake campaign for Malaria Must Die that made former football star David Beckham appear to be speaking nine languages in order to raise awareness and lobby world leaders into giving record sums of money to beat the disease.  

Vodafone’s "Find unlimited" campaign, created by Verizon Media and Wavemaker, won in Consumer Goods – its second accolade, having won the Location-based or Proximity Marketing Campaign award yesterday. The brand created an augmented-reality scavenger hunt in London using geolocation tech for real-world maps.  

Makemepulse won the Entertainment category for its Messenger chatbot for video game The Division 2. It used geolocalisation and AR tech via Facebook Camera to link 50 AR Stories to real-world locations.

Retail went to MediaCom for Adidas’ "Winning retail search with price (extensions)" – a world-first solution that automates price extensions in Google Ads. The WPP agency’s technology solution, Saturn, automatically grabs product data from the Google Merchant Center to match it with searches.

Essence won in the Services category for "Discovering lifetime value for Google ads", in which it used online and offline conversions and native bid algorithms on Google Marketing Platform to optimise to lifetime value in real time.