AGENCY: The Martin Agency, Richmond,

AGENCY: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Client: The Learning Channel

Brand: TLC

Category: Product brand

Campaign Title: “Life Lessons”


• Emily Collier, strategic planner

• Katherine Wintsch, vp, senior strategic planner

• Also worked on this: VCU Adcenter students:

Alexis Brandolini, Barrie Leimer, Joanna Chopski

By thinking outside the traditional demographics of most networks, this paper demonstrated brilliant understanding of its target audience. The idea from planning that re-framed TLC from a network that teaches to a brand that shares life’s lessons with its audience informed groundbreaking creative and engagement ideas.

Judge Cindy Gallop said the campaign “represented an exceptional example of total communications planning: strong strategic thinking that intersected with creative and media throughout the entire process, to inspire and integrate a highly innovative, engaging and forward-thinking communications program, in a sector—automotive—not generally known for any of those things. We felt this entry met the gold standard of what the future of planning could, and should, be.”

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New york

Client: Unilever

Brand: Axe Snake Peel

Category: Product brand

Campaign Title: “For Shame!”


• Jonathan Bauer, account planner

• Erin Riley, account director

Uncovering an unexplored phenomena in the arena of men’s shower gel is always going to be difficult, but this paper was able to link the discovery of “mating game shame” (i.e., “the guilt one feels after any sort of ‘action with the ladies’ that one is not particularly proud of”) to Axe Snake Peel exfoliating shower gel. The understanding of this phenomenon informed packaging, product description (renamed “scrub” instead of “gel” to help men understand its function) and the creation of a secret cult devoted to helping young guys purge feelings of shame. Within six weeks, Axe became the No. 1 male shower gel brand in the country.

Judge Bob Moore, co-president and executive creative director at Publicis, Seattle, said, “Axe Snake Peel was by far and away the strongest case presented. Not only was the creative great and truly holistic, but they hit on an insight that changed the entire marketing platform. Going from a gel to a scrub was brilliant, and kudos to the client for taking the leap. And the human insight of ‘questionable hookups’ was a fun way in, brought to life best in the Spike TV piece. Is the work sexist? I kept looking for it, and so did the women on the jury. But at the end of the day, we all agreed the strategy/creative seemed spot-on for the target. This is a wonderful example of creative planning.”

Agency: McKinney, Durham, N.C.

Client: Audi

Brand: A3

Category: Product/service introduction

Campaign Title: “Art of the H3ist”


• Andrew Delbridge, chief strategy officer

• Doug Holroyd, executive director of connection planning

• Jeremy Holden, director of account planning

• Lee Maschmeyer, account planner

• Jim Russell, director of interactive strategy

• Chris Walsh, connection planner

This is a nontraditional idea deep within the heart of one of the most traditional categories. Instead of creating an advertising execution, the agency had one of its client’s new cars stolen and invited consumers to play a role in this immersive campaign. This is the story of creatives, account planners, connection planners and interactive planners living a campaign for 90 days—making changes on the fly based on consumers reactions. It starts with a simple insight and ends with a highly ambitious campaign that used every type of media as the story unfolded.

Judge Domenico Vitale, managing partner and head of brand strategy at Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, said the campaign is “a showcase of how great strategic thinking can truly affect a brand at multiple levels. These guys not only inspired the core brand platform, but also its delivery through multiple channels and programming decisions for the network’s future. A long way from just consumer insights … great thinking.”

Agency: Modernista!, Boston

Client: Napster

Brand: Napster

Category: Service brand

Campaign Title: “Reclaiming Napster’s Cultural Currency”


• Dustin Johnson, director of engagement planning

• Gareth Kay, head of planning

• Jay Pattisall, senior planner

• Aaron Perrino, planner

This case demonstrates how planning helped identify Napster’s true enemy—not its competitor (Apple, which came to dominate the digital music marketplace during Napster’s two years of silence), but music establishment’s long-standing system that forces people to repurchase their music each time the format changes. The paper included a well thought-out and articulated process that helped to identify not only what needed to be said—”You don’t have to own music to experience it”—but how, where and when communications could be more effective.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York

Client: Unilever

Brand: Axe

Category: Product brand

Campaign Title: “Spring Break Readiness”


• Jonathan Bauer, account planner

• Bryan Smith, account planner

• David Terry, head of planning

This paper shows how Axe shifted its role from “assistance” to “preparation.” This paper recognized that on spring break guys are in a place where they do not need help getting the girl, they simply need help staying the course. The planners redefined the mission for Axe to be: preparing guys for hookup mayhem. This well-written journey through an advertising architecture that starts at campuses, travel sites, airports and hotels shows how a big idea can live yet still have small twists along the way. It also shows how Axe wove itself into a cultural event and owned it. This paper probably has the most unusual metric of success—the theft of creative materials from spring break hotels.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, ore.

Client: Electronic Arts

Brand: The Sims

Category: Global

Campaign Title: “Played by …”


• Andrew Stirk, senior planner

This was a great story about how the planning team shifted the focus from the features of the game to the features of the gamer. Deep understanding of this target audience led to new “open source” approach to creative development that included top gamers telling their stories using the game itself as the creative tool. The campaign went way beyond advertising and included a tie-in with MTV that highlighted the lives of these Sims fanatics.

Agency: Foote cone & Belding, New York

Client: The national youth anti-drug media campaign from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Brand: Above the Influence

Category: Pro bono

Campaign Title: “Above the Influence”


• Patricia Eitel, vp, senior planner

• Beth Fetzer, svp, account planning director

• Steve Schiller, svp, account planning director

• Tanya White, vp, associate director of research

• Also listed as working on this: Partnership for Drug-Free America: Adelma Lilliston, associate director of research; Sean Clarkin, evp, director of creative development

This paper found a new way to affect teen marijuana use. Planning turned the traditional argument on its head by shifting the message from a voice of authority to an approach that empowered them and gave them the tools to reject drugs, rather than telling them to do so. The tagline, “Above the influence,” points to the pressure teens feel “to be, or act, in ways that bring them down.” Understanding of the target inspired a wide variety of unconventional work in both traditional and nontraditional media.

Agency: DDB, New York

Client: Georgia-Pacific

Brand: Angel Soft

Category: Product brand

Campaign Title: “Bathroom Moments”


• Maria Tender, director of brand planning

• Jennifer Beatus, senior brand planner

Making the decision to break the conventions of toilet paper usage and experience is a tough decision to make. An inventive series of research and planning thinking helped change the conversation from “toilet paper” to “the bathroom.” A rich mining of the experiences people have in the bathroom—bleaching unwanted facial hair, flushing a deceased goldfish, cleaning the toilet and tub—directly informed creative that was humorous and connected on a profoundly human level. In this paper, planning did not stop at the creative work and went on to inform a communications strategy that invited women to participate and share their experiences.

Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles

Client: Sony PlayStation

Brand: PlayStation Portable

Category: Product/service introduction

Campaign Title: “PSP Launch”


• Scott MacMaster, planning director

• Brian Longtin, junior planner

• Martin Ramos, planner

• Dan Teng, planning assistant

This paper made good use of trend analysis to identify a very clear role for this product within the culture of its target—the “urban nomad.” Having identified a new tribe, the planners interviewed street artists and discovered a form of self-expression and sharing that mirrored the characteristics of PSP—graffiti and animation. This became the inspiration for a distinctive communications platform, some great new media thinking and yet another new word for most of us—”Brandalism.”

Agency: Grey, San Francisco

Client: Wellpoint

Brand: Tonik

Category: Product/service introduction

Campaign Title: “Live Aggressively”


• Ari Nave, vp, director of account planning

The judges were impressed with the way the planners made the best of the resources available to them and this linked directly to appropriate and intelligent creative ideas. A clean, well-argued, un-egotistical approach. The agency learned that many 20-something Californians, especially artists and young entrepreneurs, didn’t trust insurance companies and were turned off by complex plans. So, it stressed a “straightforward health insurance that allows you to live aggressively.” This paper proves that finding a fresh way to think about the problem—in this case the target’s “corporate indifference,” not its sense of “invincibility,” which the client had previously blamed—that feels right for the brand is as valuable as “getting down with the latest trends.”

Agency: Mullen, Wenham, MAss.

Client: Ad Council

Brand: Anti-Drunk Driving

Category: Pro bono

Campaign Title: “Buzzed Driving”


• Alex Grossman, assistant brand planner

The target audience for this campaign already understood that drunk driving was dangerous and unacceptable. It was only when the planners observed that they used the word “buzzed” as a way of distancing themselves from drunkenness and thereby enabling them to ignore anti-drink messages. This observation changed the course of the creative development and gave the creative a platform that could easily develop distinctive and powerful communications (“It’s easy to tell when you’ve had way too many … but what if you’ve just had one too many?”). The thinking set the tone for the work and helped the agency navigate the sensitive relationship between consumers and PSA messaging.

Agency: Mullen, Wenham, MAss.

Client: Ad Council

Brand: Project Safe Neighborhoods

Category: Pro bono

Campaign Title: “Project Safe”


• Scott Karambis, planning director

Understanding why something is not working is a great starting point for understanding what will work. The planners on this project identified that previous messages had failed to resonate; “the personal consequences of gun violence failed to motivate the target because these consequences (incarceration, injury and death) were viewed as an inevitable fact of life or point of pride.” Through a series of bracingly open discussions with community and gang members they discovered a way to use these values as a deterrent. By showing how violence affects family, creative was able to appeal to the target’s values and cause re-evaluation of the consequences of their actions. Simple and powerful creative executions come directly from this new way of looking at the problem.