R/GA London wins top honours as Campaign Tech Awards 2018's agency of the year

Thanks in large part to its work with Google on Searching for Syria, R/GA London is Campaign Tech Awards 2018 Agency of the Year.


Click here to read about all the winners in-depth

A prime example of the type of work the judges are looking for, Searching for Syria won R/GA top accolades for Best Audience Engagement and, in partnership with Google, Best Use of Data or Insight. 

It is an immersive multimedia website created for an initiative by UNHCR, to get people around the world to interact with the complex topic of the Syrian refugee crisis.

By encouraging users to engage with the content the project helped visitors empathise with the people affected by the crisis. Since its launch, more than 30% of more than 2.3 million site visitors have taken action by donating, joining, or sharing. The average time on the site is 2:43 minutes, with some visitors spending upwards of 45 minutes.

R/GA also won the Best Use of Experimental Tech category for Snaptivity, a startup that is part of the agency’s IoT Venture Studios programme. Snaptivity uses robotic cameras at sports stadiums that are triggered by AI to key moments of excitement during a match. These cameras capture photos of fans at their most passionate. All fans need to do to retrieve the photos is enter their seat number.

"R/GA have always innovated and thought differently. This award acknowledges their important role in creative technology and how they continue to push the boundaries in the UK," commented chair of judges Graham Bednash, consumer marketing director for Google UK. 

Google won another in another category as a solo entrant: Most Innovative App as a Product or Service for Qibla Finder – an app that helps Muslims all over the world find the direction of Mecca. The app used cutting-edge technology in the form of several advanced browser APIs, including Geolocation API and MediaDevices API. Even users on slow connections could access the app, and it was localised to 16 languages.

There were four million unique users during Ramadan, of which 1.8 million returned to the site (a 45% return rate). Over 500,000 average monthly users continue to use the site after Ramadan, which is all organic with no paid media running.

The winners of this award were selected by a panel of judges comprised of industry-leading experts from both agencies and brands. In cases where a judge had a conflict of interest about an entry (namely, it was from their own agencies or campaigns) they recused themselves from the judging process. 

Tech Company of the Year

Interactive video technology company Wirewax was recognised as the Tech Company of the Year. Its technology powers around 90% of the world’s interactive videos, allowing marketers and content producers to connect the viewer to their narratives in a truly engaging way.

"Wirewax are leading the way in video storytelling with cutting-edge creativity that help brands create more immersive experiences. They really are transforming video storytelling," Bednash commented.

Tech Pioneer of the Year 

Unruly’s futurist Simon Gosling’s creation of Home 2020, a 2,000-sq ft showroom built in the middle of Unruly HQ that’s filled with internet of things (IoT) gadgets, has earned him the title of Tech Pioneer of the Year.

Within four months, Gosling not only designed and built the space but created its story, shot a 360 promo video and created the Home tour experience.

In addition, Gosling has taken Pop-Up Homes to events including CES Vegas, Cannes Lions Festival, Dmexco and MediaCom at Cannes.

As one of our judges said: "Simon has created something new and engaging, demonstrating clear skill and passion for technology and change."

Tech for Good 

Another notable award winner tonight was Orchard Media and Events for its work on behalf of All Wales Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre. As well as anxiety, cystic fibrosis patients can experience breathlessness and pain, so the aim was for VR to be a pleasant distraction from their treatment.

Orchard not only developed a simple closed system that would work anywhere, without WiFi, it also created six experiences in 4K resolution with a static 360 camera (to avoid motion sickness). 

Each experience was 7.5 minutes long and was filmed documentary-style so that patients felt like participants and not just viewers. 

There were three trials and on average, there was a 75% reduction in patients’ anxiety when they used the VR experience. By one measure (anxiety and stress about performing lung function), there was an improvement in 100% of the patients measured. 

Our judges said: "This is brilliant… A good use of tech with an awareness of its environment."

The Campaign Tech Awards are designed to celebrate innovative work within the advertising and marketing industry. The awards, which are in their second year, honour the creative use of technology and hopes to stimulate even more ingenious thinking right across the marketing, advertising and media industries.

In that spirit, the Awards programme itself is with working with adtech start-up Ad-Lib to trial and demo their dynamic display advertising platform granting the big winners of the night a display ad splash across various social platforms.