The First Brandweek Constellation Awards Celebrate the Remarkable Power of Marketing Teams

Winners span 30-plus categories, from fashion and entertainment to rebrands and more

Brandweek Constellation Awards winners collage
Adweek editors selected the best team-led marketing efforts. Adweek

This might just be the era of the individual—a time of self-care, being your best self and selfies galore. And yet collaboration is an incredibly powerful phenomenon. For proof, look no further than the winners of our first annual Constellation Awards in which a jury of senior Adweek editors selected the best team-led marketing efforts across 30-plus categories, from fashion and entertainment to influencer campaigns, rebrands and more than a few truly creative activations. It seems we really are stronger together after all. —Kristina Feliciano

Best Team by Category

AB InBev Brand Management Team and Wieden + Kennedy
Brand Team Andy Goeler, Joe Lennon, Miles Ritenour, Alissa Heinerscheid, Conor Mason

Courtesy of AB InBev

2018 was the year that Bud Light—and the phrase “Dilly Dilly”—became inescapable. It started at the Super Bowl with a two-part story of the epic battle for Bud Light, with the Bud Knight riding to the rescue. That effort was followed by the rollout of Bud Light Orange and Lemon Tea, a partnership with HBO’s Game of Thrones, at Super Bowl 2019, as part of the build-up to the show’s final season, and the introduction of a Bud Knight skin for Fortnite icon Ninja. And there’s more where that came from. “The team is just getting started,” says a rep for AB InBev.

Financial Services
Mastercard and Octagon
Brand Team Adrienne Jonas, Michael Goldstein

Courtesy of Mastercard

It turns out fine food and contactless payments can be a perfect pairing. This year, Mastercard holders were treated to “intimate access” to Pebble Beach Food & Wine, an exclusive four-day culinary fest featuring hundreds of acclaimed wineries and celebrity chefs. To make the experience extra fluid, Octagon used touchscreen displays and near-field communication technology to build an “ordering wall” where orders could be placed via an interactive menu. Users tapped a replica Mastercard onto a reader and “paid” for their order, cuing Mastercard’s sonic branding to play over external speakers. Says an Octagon rep: “The activation was successful in combining innovative technology with three of Mastercard’s brand initiatives: contactless payment, sonic branding and priceless surprises.”

Calvin Klein
Brand Team Adrienne Scissons, Anna-Karin Loureiro, Cedric Murac, Steven Waldberg, Srenica Munthree, Caroline Curtis, Rebecca Traverzo, Katherine Choroco, Ben Keren

Courtesy of Calvin Klein

Music wasn’t all that was on the bill at this year’s Coachella fest. Concertgoers could also explore #MyCalvins House, a surreal representation of the brand’s spring 2019 campaign. The activation featured a series of rooms in which visitors became “house guests” in a multisensory experience, complete with numerous photo opportunities. Calvin Klein’s Consumer Marketing Organization also rolled out a pre-Coachella sweepstakes and a festival edit on Together, the team hosted more than 6,500 visitors, engaged over 800 influencers and advocates and reached 60-plus million people on social media.

Best Team Effort Using Video
Special Categories: The Brandweek A Team
m:united//McCann and Microsoft X Box
Brand Team Kathleen Hall, Deana Singleton, Stacey Terrien, Craig McNary, Navin Kumar, James Shields, Bryce Johnson, Maureen Gibbs, Chris Kujawski, Bree White

Courtesy of Microsoft

The video game industry has long overlooked players with disabilities, forcing them to either hack together homemade controllers or spend a lot of money on a custom controller. Then along came Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller and “Changing the Game,” a campaign broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday that featured triumphant stories of real-life gamers with disabilities who were empowered through the specially designed controller. The stats were impressive: over 1.1 billion impressions; a 246% increase in social voice during and around the Super Bowl; and an 879% increase in conversation around #GamingForEveryone. And its message-supporting inclusive design was clearly heard: Competitors like Google enabled their platforms to be compatible with the Adaptive Controller.

MTV/VH1 Logo Marketing and Brand Creative
Brand Team Jacqueline Parkes, Thomas Berger, Amy Campbell, Jesse Raker, Glenn Payne, Anthony Gelsomino, Tyler Hissey, Ray Hunt, Brittany Travis, Ryan Bernis, Allison Sierra, Deb Bart, Electra Stratigaki, Irene Fitzsimmons, Shaylah Sheridan

Courtesy of VH1

VH1 went all in to celebrate the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, trotting out the tagline “In a world full of nines, be a ten” and a 360 campaign comprising 180 unique content pieces. On air, viewers could delight in neon-runway promos directed by legendary photographer David LaChapelle. Socially, an Emmy-nominated “Queen RuVeal” on Facebook Live infiltrated the dating app Grindr. Digital efforts ranged from an original YouTube/Instagram series to Pandora ad placements. And all across the country, RuPaul took over billboards, kiosks and subways. The results: The premiere was VH1’s most viewed ever, and the campaign generated over 20.7 million total views across digital, up 213% from Season 9.

Cummins&Partners and Marriott
Brand Team Indy Adenaw, Michelle Murray, Jordan Heitzner

Courtesy of Marriott

When hospitality trends tend toward boutique hotels and curated everything, how do you make an 80-year-old hotel brand stand out? This was the challenge that Marriott put to Cummins&Partners, tasking the agency with developing new brand positioning for Sheraton, which it had acquired for $13.3 billion. The agency chose to consider Sheraton’s heritage a strength, pitching its ubiquity throughout the world as proof of its ability to unite people no matter what their culture or who they are—all under the aegis of “The World’s Gathering Place.” Inspired by this renewed sense of purpose, property owners committed $500 million to renovations, thereby helping to ensure the brand maintains its prominence well into the future.

Stitch Fix
Brand Team Deirdre Findlay, Lisel Welden, Greg Johnson, Mike Freidman, Laura Correnti

Courtesy of Stitch Fix

During Academy Awards season this year, Stitch Fix launched an integrated campaign centering on everyday Americans—the idea being that everyone deserves to be seen. Thanks to pre-Oscars stunts in New York subways and at premium shopping center The Grove in Los Angeles, regular people had the chance to be celebrated on a red carpet—complete with hired “paparazzi” and interviews with eight of Stitch Fix’s media partners, BuzzFeed and the Today show among them. These activations gave Stitch Fix enough material to cut a custom red-carpet video, which it debuted on E! during the awards broadcast, along with a brand film, reaching 8.8 million viewers. In total, Stitch Fix says it generated a statuette-worthy 923 million impressions.

Walker and Company
Brand Team Girard Hardy, Tristan Walker, Joanne Hsieh, Tori Davis, Jamiel Gauda, Denise See

Courtesy of Walker & Company

Women are brands’ primary focus at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, but what about the men who accompany their partners or family members to the annual event? Seeing an opportunity, Bevel—whose shaving products are designed for those with coarse, curly hair—targeted black men with ads that greeted them as soon as they landed at the airport, including luggage belts covered in Bevel branding. At the fest itself, the brand took over a local barbershop, playfully reminding men that “Nothing beats a fresh fade” while giving out free cuts and shaves and conducting talks on subjects like mental health, self-care and recidivism, led by influencers, celebrities and experts. Nearly a thousand people passed through the Bevel barbershop over the weekend, and sales doubled nationally, with an especially strong showing in the South.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
Brand Team Chris Brandt, Laurie Schalow, Tressie Lieberman, Candice Beck, Erin Wolford, Neiv Toledano, Tim Morgan, Regina Wu

Courtesy of Chipotle

Is it possible to promote your product during a high-profile event without spending a dime? Apparently, it is. Chipotle wanted to market its free delivery during the men’s professional basketball championship, but since it wasn’t an official sponsor, it couldn’t leverage team or player names. So it got creative. Whenever the tournament’s announcers said the word “free” on air, Chipotle promoted free delivery by tweeting a code for free burritos, giving a savory new meaning to the term “free throw.” One of the announcers, Mark Jackson, even got in on the fun, tweeting “Appreciate the love. #Free.” In the end, the campaign earned 2 billion impressions, and delivery spiked 100% year over year. All for free.

Walgreens and WPP
Brand Team Crystal Fouchard, Karen Ferguson, Aviva Bollinger, Glen Pietrandoni, Khadijah Khan, Tina Hoff, Katy Pankau, Mathew Shearman, Brittani Martinelli, Becky Chin, Kaitlyn Erickson, Sarah Stone, Kara Rusch

Courtesy of Walgreens

For nearly a decade, the Walgreens Pharmacy team has provided free HIV testing in more than 260 cities, in partnership with the Greater Than Aids organization and local health departments, HIV/AIDS organizations and community groups. But this year’s National HIV Testing Day was Walgreens’ largest activation yet, targeting particularly at-risk communities (based on data from the CDC) and LGBTQ advocacy groups by promoting new research and reiterating the value of pharmacists through a new patient-centered HIV Care Model that can identify and address HIV therapy-related problems and support improved HIV viral suppression. The importance of “knowing your status,” and the message that Walgreens is a safe and knowledgeable resource, generated 155 broadcast placements and over 380 million media impressions for the company, tripling the previous year’s figures.

Best Team Effort

Digital Campaign
Fullscreen, Mattel Hot Wheels Team and Dotted Line Communications
Brand Team Ricardo Briceno, Brian Spina, Kyle Cushman, Alex Reeds, Alli Guglielmino, Grant Willsea, Chase McKenzie, Chandler Mader, Caroline Conklin, Ivan Oyco, Colleen Cottrel, Justin Rudolph, Caitie deLaroche, Derek Torng, Ashley Kaplan, Ryan Cooper, Megan Romero, Damon Berger, Isaac Quiroga

Courtesy of Mattel

In 2018, Mattel rolled out Hot Wheels City, an interconnected world of toy tracks, hero die-cast cars and their nemeses. To promote the collection, Mattel went where their audience is—YouTube—posting an action-packed stop-motion miniseries that brought to life the streets, cars and evil creatures of the new toy line. Each week, there was a new episode. The miniseries quickly outperformed all other content on Hot Wheels’ YouTube channel, prompting Mattel to green light two more seasons. The show also revved up sales of Hot Wheels, which grew by $20 million in the launch year.

AT&T Creative Services
Brand Team Fiona Carter, Roger Hyde, John Vetter, Nicole Gunther, Richard Griffin, Brant Louck, Monica Foronda-Maldonado, Mike Polovsky, Patti Whittier, Bernie Middendorf, Nina Marie Girod, Justin Stephens

Courtesy of AT&T

To promote Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes, an AT&T crime drama airing on Audience network, the creative services team took its inspiration from a plot twist in which the titular serial killer was now able to enter people’s minds and terrorize them. Hinging on the tagline “Don’t let him inside your head,” the campaign included a boxed press kit covered in the killer’s stream-of-consciousness monologue, with die-cut panels revealing his face. Inside were Bluetooth headphones allowing the recipient to experience trance-like audio that was also hosted on Audience’s website. At San Diego Comic-Con, the Omni Hotel was dominated by campaign imagery, from a three-story building wrap to floor-to-ceiling portraits in the hallways, resulting in a killer 620 million-plus media impressions.

30- or 60-Second Commercial
AT&T Corporate Brand Marketing
Brand Team Fiona Carter, Sandra Howard, Ryan Luckey, Amy Santillana, Chris Penrose, Emily Soelberg, Brian Greaves

Courtesy of AT&T

Taking an unexpected route to promote a 5G message, AT&T showed consumers a future world where distracted driving would no longer be a concern thanks to fully autonomous cars—which are a benefit of a zero-latency 5G network. The 30-second spot required a collaboration with AT&T’s Internet of Things, which made sure autonomous cars were portrayed accurately as we now know them and as they are projected to be in a future 5G state. The Corporate Responsibility Team, meanwhile, ensured the effort tied in with AT&T’s longstanding anti-distracted “It Can Wait” campaign, since safe driving is still necessary. The commercial debuted during the broadcast of the 2019 Masters golf tournament and has run online.

Influencer Programs/Partnerships
Hulu Live Marketing
Brand Team Ryan Crosby, Michael Schneider, Rosalind Pressman, Jordan Badia-Bellinger, Chie Kobayashi, Lex Kay

Courtesy of Hulu

The two-time Cannes Lion-winning “Hulu Sellouts” took a humorous and transparent look at influencer marketing, boldly highlighting the fact that the streamer paid big-name athletes to help introduce Hulu’s live TV service to sports fans. In a pair of national TV spots, on billboards and banners and in social efforts during NBA All-Star weekend, fans could watch Damian Lillard get a “Hulu Has Live Sports” tattoo or see 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo wearing a pair of “Hulu Has Live Sports” slippers. During the first six weeks, the campaign garnered 59 million earned media impressions. For a second phase, Hulu partnered with 11 former and current players from the U.S. Women’s National Team, including Megan Rapinoe and Mia Hamm, who kicked off a #HuluHasLiveSportsChallenge that resulted in Hulu donating $100,000 to the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association.

Iris Nova and Bevel
Brand Team Zak Normandin

Courtesy of Iris Nova

In 2015, Iris Nova introduced its direct-to-consumer conversational commerce (c-commerce) model, which interacts with customers exclusively by text message, to launch and scale the Dirty Lemon brand. It has since sold 2 million bottles of the detoxifying elixir to more than 200,000 consumers worldwide, and at the end of last year closed a $15 million seed round led by Coca-Cola’s Venture and Emerging Brands unit. The company now also boasts an experiential retail property, a cocktail lounge called the Drug Store, in New York, and plans to open 20 more locations. Over the next few years, Iris Nova aims to invest $100 million in emerging beverage brands, and is launching a new beverage of its own.

Pearle Vision and Energy BBDO
Brand Team Doug Zarkin, Jennifer Renna, Jeffrey Vander Zwan, Gabi Schneider, Ravish Bhandari, Michael Sierra, Brad Socha, Scott Lundgren

Courtesy of Pearle Vision

To compete with big chains aggressively pushing discounted services, Pearle Vision opted to focus on the small moments of genuine interaction at its stores that could set it apart. First telling—online and on local TV—“The Story of Ben’s Glasses” (about a boy who wears his beloved grandfather’s spectacles) and then “The Story of Olivia” (about a little girl whose ambitions are thwarted by her poor vision), the brand presented itself as a place you can find a warmhearted local doctor you can count on. Reinforcing care and connection on a personal level, Pearle Vision boosted consumer trust, increasing exams 10% year over year and beating sales goals by 11%.

Data Insights/Analytics
PepsiCo North American Beverage for Mountain Dew
Brand Team Nicole Portwood, Erin Chin, Adam Harter, Carol Simpson, Kate Brady, Paul Mascali, Eve Rabin, Abigail Staples

Courtesy of PepsiCo

Previously, MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel—a drink fortified with theanine, caffeine and vitamins with the goal of keeping video gamers alert during play—was available only for a limited time. To reintroduce it as an endemic brand, PepsiCo built an addressable audience that leveraged Jumpshot third-party data segments based on gaming-related searches using Clickstream panel data; gaming site and blog visits; visits to the highest-indexing sites for regular Twitch visitors, using comScore data; and Amazon Product searches, downloads and purchases. The resulting campaign encompassed TV, livestreams, video series, social posts from teams and leagues and content drops. A Ubisoft partnership, which included three major game titles, encouraged audiences to purchase MDAGF in store for in-game rewards. Twitch streamers weaved the product into their broadcasts and provided exclusive discounts to their fans. Final score: MDAGF sales over-indexed by 30% and served 2.3 billion media impressions year to date.

Brand Purpose
Walgreens and WPP
Brand Team Crystal Fouchard, Karen Ferguson, Aviva Bollinger, Glen Pietrandoni, Khadijah Khan, Tina Hoff, Katy Pankau, Mathew Shearman, Brittani Martinelli, Becky Chin, Kaitlyn Erickson, Sarah Stone, Kara Rusch

Courtesy of Walgreens

Cancer takes a toll on many levels, including a person’s self-esteem. With its omnichannel “Battle Beautifully” campaign, Walgreens sought to combat that reality, supporting and empowering women fighting this disease by providing free access to specially trained pharmacists and beauty consultants at 3,000 stores. There, patients could get advice on managing medication adherence and side effects, as well as how to cope with changes to skin, nails and hair. The campaign promoting the service, called “Feel More Like You,” featured real-life cancer patients who were portrayed as fierce and flawless in media efforts that spanned digital, print, a 30-second television and preroll spot and even an out-of-home signage takeover in Times Square. In the first two months, “Battle Beautifully” generated 461 million earned media impressions and nearly 4,000 engagements through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Warner Media Entertainment Marketing for Claws
Brand Team LaTeecha Davis, Marianne McGoldrick

Courtesy of Warner Media

Warner partnered with Cashmere agency to promote the second season of TNT’s cultishly adored nail-salon-centric show Claws, riffing on the series’ undercurrent of female empowerment. A #ClawsForACause partnership with Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire and other development tools, was timed with National Mani Pedi Day and featured free manicures. A custom Season 1 recap starred the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Female influencers were invited to the set of Claws in New Orleans to hang with the cast and capture original content to broadcast on their platforms. And a #ClawsUp tour included a #WCW How I Boss video series posted to Claws’ social pages. The collaboration nailed it, generating 390 million social impressions and 122 million video views—and grew the Claws fan conversation 71% this year across platforms.

Special Categories

The Squad
Chobani and Demand Team
Brand Team Blair Aires, Alaynah Tombridge, Leland Maschmeyer, Michael Ciancio, Eddie Revis, Lauren Festa, Mark Broadhurst, Julia Panek, Mark Anthony Dingbaum, David Isaac, Lexi Sigesmund, Sylvana Caballero, John Kell, Hatime Ulukaya, Kecia Burton, Jenna Scilacci, Jason Rahlan

Courtesy of Chobani

What happens when a child has unpaid school lunch debt? In Warwick, R.I., this past May, it meant receiving a jelly sandwich instead of a nutritious meal. The Demand Team responded to this alarming news story by paying off the lunch debt for Warwick’s low-income students—to the tune of $47,650—and launching a campaign to bring awareness to the issue of food insecurity. The team developed creative assets in-house to share on Chobani’s Instagram account and a Twitter video in which CEO Hamdi Ulukaya encouraged more businesses to get involved. With the hashtag #FillUpTheirPlate, the brand highlighted states that prohibit school lunch shaming, encouraging consumers to urge their elected officials to enact the federal Anti-School Lunch Shaming Bill.

Cisco Systems’ Collaboration Technology Group
Brand Team Aruna Ravichandran, Elyn Yao, Stefanie Ratledge, Melody Kee, Raluca Larkin, Chris Bowman, Sarah Gibb, Niki Eastley, Ray Bellantoni

Courtesy of Cisco

B-to-b technology brand Gong is a leader in conversation intelligence, in which the content of sales calls can be parsed according to criteria as specific as topics that were discussed. Its mission is to help companies with the serious goal of aligning their sales team’s pitches and driving conversion, but its branding is self-aware and humorous. An April Fool’s prank, for example, “announced” the upcoming release of an artificial intelligence-based dating app, much to the confusion of hopeful daters who wanted to sign up. Company sales grew 4.25 times year over year in 2018, and Gong says it was on pace to grow by more than three times year over year in 2019.

The Alliance Award
JetBlue Marketing and VH1 Integrated Marketing
Brand Team Amy Wigler, Nathan Pearson, Spencer Parker, Meg Sudlik, Jenny Lee, Sylvia Brookoff, Elizabeth Windram, Chantal Van Wijnbergen

Courtesy of Jetblue

Hatched to celebrate World Pride, JetBlue and VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Bring It to the Runway was a weeklong pop-up activation at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport in New York that included a bedazzled photo opportunity, makeup vanities and a postcard-writing station. At the pop-up’s opening, Nina West, Miss Congeniality of Season 10, greeted fans in a sequined version of the JetBlue flight attendant outfit as cutouts of RuPaul herself looked on. JetBlue renamed one of its planes “Shantay, Blue Stay,” a play on RuPaul’s famous saying “Shantay, you stay,” and Bob the Drag Queen and Trixie Mattel served humor, looks and unlimited snacks in a campy video posted to the brands’ social and digital channels and available on the setback entertainment systems. It was the most engaged video on the RuPaul’s Drag Race Facebook page for the quarter, with 3 million views and counting, and the most engaged video on JetBlue’s Instagram ever.

The Equinox Award
Starcom USA and VF, The North Face
Brand Team Ariti Bhansali, Andy Develvis, Melissa Elegant, Nanah Han, Jessica Schrey, Augusta Eliaser

Courtesy of North Face

Anything can happen when five very different people board a vintage yacht and set sail for international waters. That’s the premise of this reality-show-inspired three-episode campaign for Virgin Voyages, which follows a drag queen, a design expert, a comedian, a marine biologist and a Virgin brand expert at sea for the first time, where their diverse points of view shine a light on some of the most important factors that differentiate the brand. In the process, the tropes of the popular TV genre are also exposed, and for viewers looking for content that is genuinely entertaining, watching the campaign is a real trip.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 18, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.