Under the slogan ‘Marketing Effectiveness Connects the World’, Effie Greater China held its annual gala awards ceremony in Beijing on 22 November. Recognised throughout the industry as a global benchmark, Effie awards are designed to reward effective campaigns across all forms of marketing.
The big winner of the night, taking home the Grand Effie, was HO Communication / Accenture Interactive, for its ‘Pocket Franchise’ campaign. Devised for Yum China, the fast-food company that runs KFC’s restaurants in the region, the campaign also won two gold awards for a groundbreaking initiative that runs across various platforms.
Using WeChat, the Chinese messaging system, customers are encouraged to set up their own virtual KFC store, personalising it to create their own menus and interacting with others using the principles of online gaming. The trend was quick to catch on, with celebrities taking part and incentives added in the shape of credit at physical stores.
After weeks of careful deliberation, the jury decided upon this campaign as that which best encapsulates the values and meets the objectives that Effie promotes, but acknowledged that there were many other worthy contenders among this year’s finalists.
Other agencies that scored highly included Tencent and Loong, which jointly earned an impressive total of three gold awards for an inspirational campaign to encourage organ donation; Ogilvy Taiwan for the IKEA 100 pop-up store; and Saatchi & Saatchi Shanghai for ‘Long-Awaited First Touch’, created for Pampers premature nappies.
Gill Zhou, Vice-President and CMO at IBM Greater China Group, commented on the potency of the winning campaigns. “Effectiveness is a daily challenge for every marketer, and today's award-winning work fully illustrates and demonstrates Effie's four pillars of effectiveness and transcendence, delivering significant and measurable business success for its brand and business.”
This year’s event marked the 50th anniversary of Effie Worldwide and the 16th year for Greater China Effie Awards. In total, there were 170 finalists, of which 12 were awarded gold Effies, 28 silver and 74 bronze. More than 600 people working in marketing around the world came together for the event, which was also attended by leading figures from Effie Worldwide – including President and CEO Traci Alford.
Talking about the organisation, she said it “…recognises the most effective brands, marketers and agencies; globally, regionally and locally, through its 55 award programs across the world. Greater China is one of the most important markets in Effie, whose purpose is to lead and evolve the forum for marketing effectiveness.”
The awards are complemented by the Effie International Summit, which takes place during the day and is a key fixture of the annual event. This year the summit featured speakers from 19 brands and agencies, talking on a variety of subjects that centered on the opportunities and challenges of brand globalisation.
Topics under discussion included not only marketing, but also the difficulties that can arise from business positioning and cultural integration in a complex international environment – and the lessons that can be learned from failures.
The first session included a general overview of the benefits of globalisation, and a closer look at the trajectory of Chinese companies as they grow in importance around the world. The importance of learning how to navigate local laws, workplace conditions and finances was also discussed.
In the second session a range of themes was covered, from the value of social media platforms from a marketing point of view, to the questions of how best to implement the content marketing of international intellectual property, or how to leverage the experience gleaned from international companies and apply it to Chinese businesses.
Speakers included CEO of Asia-Pacific Ogilvy & China Ogilvy, Chris Reitermann; CMO of Euronews, Jamie Brownlee; Senior Vice-President of iQIYI, Leon Chen; President of Wanda Movie, Zeng Maojun; VP of Marketing & PR at Baidu, Foyu Yuan; Deputy General Manager of Twitter Greater China, Tony Dou; General Manager Marketing of Haier Group, Cheng Chuanling; CMO of Lenovo China, Wang Chuandong.
The final session looked at the future of global marketing and the ways in which the younger generation are likely to respond to it. New technology trends and internet developments were also discussed, along with the possibilities for integrating brand globalisation into a company’s business model, supply chain and product design.
Many of those attending the various talks at the summit also formed part of the formidable body of talent and leading names that made up the jury for the awards. In his speech, Alex Xu, Managing Director of Effie Greater China and Senior Vice- President of Effie Worldwide, stressed the importance of their role not only in the day’s events, but also for the reputation of the organisation.
“The authority of the awards comes from the preliminary, final round and grand judges, which is the most important part of Effie,” he said. “This talented industry elite allows Effie to maintain a high degree of rigour and consistency across the evaluation system, allowing the most effective campaigns to be recognised.”