By Published On: October 31, 2017

Every year since 2005, Megan has served as a judge for the DMA’s International ECHO Awards. Here’s an overview of what she saw this year:

I attend this event annually to get an inside view of global marketing strategies and to find inspiration for new creative approaches. Last year, there was a proliferation of sustainability and cause marketing (to benefit society) associated with marketing strategies – the winner was a craft brewery that engineered a way to make fuel out of the brewing by-products and invited people to drink beer and save the world.

This year, data algorithms and AI interaction were the key ingredients. Interaction of data and materials, data and social media or data and product benefits brought a new dimension to the submissions. Some very creative approaches won the attention of the judges. Here are some examples:

  1. Snickers – Data meets the Twittersphere
    Snickers partnered with 7-11 to go beyond coupons to drive customers to buy Snickers. They developed a strategy to use Twitter and gauge the level of “anger” based on the language being used in tweets. They then translated that into price reductions on Snickers purchases. Going by their branded, “When you’re hungry you’re not yourself” message, they created a buzz with the idea that the angrier Twitter is, the less expensive Snickers would become, earning them customers and social media buzz.
  1. IBM Watson designs – The Cognitive Dress
    In an effort to change perceptions of IBM being a stodgy corporation and to be viewed as more relevant to Millennials, IBM partnered with dress designer, Marchesa to showcase IBM Watson’s capabilities. IBM Watson helped design and create a light-up ball gown for the Met Gala red carpet. On the day of the gala, LED lights built into the dress reflected different emotions of people on social media. By changing the color of the lights on the dress to reflect what was being emoted online, IBM created a unique interactive dress experience that wowed. To see the dress and learn more click here.
  1. Sovereign – Data-driven healthy behaviors
    This third example is data-driven and also follows last year’s trend of benefiting society. The financial services company (health insurer), Sovereign, identified a big issue with unhealthy habits and obesity in New Zealand that were causing higher health insurance premiums. In an effort to differentiate, they developed a way to aggregate data and create a loyalty cash-back program rewarding healthy behaviors. Customers accrue points for each small step taken, then receive cash back rebates at the end of the year. To see the video and learn more click here.

Overall, the marketing campaigns at the ECHO Awards this year were earmarked by more sophisticated data approaches that tied directly to a customer or social action. Companies are looking beyond the features of their products or services and creating broader emotional appeal to take their marketing to the next level. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you here or on social media.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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