Unit9 is named best tech company and WPP shops honoured as Campaign Tech Awards kick off

Unit9 wins coveted Tech Company of the Year, while WPP agencies Essence, MediaCom, Mindshare, Ogilvy and Wavemaker all won individual awards.

Unit9: JFK Moonshot is among company's outstanding work this year
Unit9: JFK Moonshot is among company's outstanding work this year

UNIT9 has won Tech Company of the Year at the 2020 Campaign Tech Awards – the first time the prize was a judges’ choice award – on the first day of the virtual ceremony.

Tech companies were not able to submit entries for the coveted accolade this year and Unit9 was chosen solely by the jury of industry professionals for the range of the awards it entered in individual categories. 

Unit9’s work included "Real talk about suicide", an engaging and sophisticated interactive video that shows people what they can do to help a person with suicidal thoughts, which was nominated in the Tech for Good category; and JFK Moonshot, a contender for Best Innovative App, which used augmented reality to virtually recreate the Apollo 11 mission in real time by the second.

Campaign is revealing the winners over two days in a virtual ceremony, which is streamed at 5pm on the Campaign Tech Awards website, to comply with coronavirus distancing rules.

Of the individual awards, WPP agencies performed particuarly well, with Essence, MediaCom, Mindshare, Ogilvy and Wavemaker all receiving prizes.

MediaCom picked up the Best Audience Engagement award for its Mars "#Bountygate" promotional Christmas advent calendar in which its social media responded to messages in real time and made the most of an online furore around the chocolate brand.

Best Use of Artificial Intelligence went to Essence for its groundbreaking machine-learning creation for Google that was able too predict a user’s lifetime value with a "revenue score" that is used to optimise bids in online advertising auctions. 

DOOH.com, Kinetic, Mindshare and Ogilvy won Best Use of Data/Insight for IBM Watson’s "AI Wimbledon campaign", which created match highlights for broadcast on digital out-of-home sites using artificial intelligence. Iris’ entry for KFC, "Achieving record-breaking CRM for KFC and Iris", was highly commended.

Puma’s "Skill cube" on New York’s Fifth Avenue won Best Use of Experiential Tech and impressed the judges with its 270-degree floor-to-ceiling cove of screen that enabled people to train with sports stars on a virtual field or gym.

Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science and The Trade Desk picked up Best Use of Tech in Connected Home for creating new tech and a planner tool that sought to reach TV "cord-cutters" by targeting the busy Christmas period, when youngsters would be more likely to watch the box while staying with friends and family.

Best Use of Tech in CRM went to Edit and Spark44 for Jaguar Land Rover’s "The Evoque button" – an elegant fusion of old-fashioned direct mail with cutting-edge tech to reach prospective customers with personalised mailouts connected to radio transmitters to book a test drive.

An innovative Specsavers campaign brought home the Best Use of Tech in Out-of-Home award for Manning Gottlieb OMD, having precipitated a surge in eye tests for the brand by using Specsavers data to create dynamic content on digital screens. MediaCom’s "Your future self" for Scottish Widows was highly commended.

Integrated Campaign of the Year went to Croud for its canny campaign on a limited budget to market video game Planet Zoo, which included sequential messaging using  in-game footage and clever digital media targeting. 

The best Location-based or Proximity Marketing Campaign entry was Verizon Media and Wavemaker’s "Find unlimited" campaign for Vodafone, which launched a map-based AR scavenger hunt game to offer players  the chance to win a new iPhone. 

And this year winner of the One to Watch prize is Stein IAS’s Lisa Arnold, who impressed the judges by becoming the youngest person to head a key department at the business-to-business marketing agency at the age of 26. Charlotte Monk-Chipman from ReBound Returns was highly commended.

Be sure to visit the Campaign Tech Awards website at 5pm tomorrow (Thursday) to see the conclusion of the virtual awards presentation – which will included the highly coveted Agency of the Year award.