W+K Wins Grand Content & Contact Clio

MIAMI Wieden + Kennedy’s viral and guerilla Beta 7 campaign for Sega’s ESPN NFL Football title won a grand Clio at the inaugural Content & Contact awards presentation at the Clio Festival here today.

Using a mix of Web sites, targeted e-mails, wild postings and traditional print and TV spots, the campaign by the New York shop tells the story of a fictional game tester, Beta 7, who begins a crusade against the launch of the game because he says it makes him black out and start tackling people.

“It used so many relevant contact points, and the contact strategy was very in tune with gamers,” said Content & Contact jury chairman Nick Brien, CEO of Arc Worldwide in Chicago. “It was not conventional commercial messaging. It was dialogue, it was relationship building, it was telling the story. … That’s what we were looking for most: innovation and creativity hand in hand. It had both.”

“It just had the most depth,” added Kash Sree, svp, creative director of Leo Burnett in Chicago and one of the Content & Contact judges, about Beta 7. He commended the client for taking a risk on the campaign. “The fact that Sega could play along like that was so brave,” he said.

In addition to the grand Clio, a total of nine Clios, including two golds, two silvers, and five bronzes were given out in the category. The Beta 7 scored one gold, while TBWA\180’s “Vertical Football” billboard, featuring actual people playing soccer, took the other gold.

The Content & Contact category was introduced this year to honor campaigns that have both creative content and strategic contact points with their target audience.

“It really encouraged all of us [to see] how responsive the industry is,” Brien said prior to the presentation. “We had submissions from clients, PR companies, advertising agencies, design firms and media agencies. … We saw some very progressive thinking. We also saw some very limited thinking in terms of being either pure content in the absence of contact strategy or broader thinking.”

The best submissions “were really engaging consumers rather than just shouting at them,” Brien said.