Asos has been crowned ‘Brand of the Year’ at this year’s Marketing Week Masters Awards, while Nationwide CMO Sara Bennison was named ‘Visionary Marketer of the Year’.
The awards were held at a glittering ceremony this evening (9 October) at Tobacco Dock in London, which will now play host to the Festival of Marketing for the next two days (10 and 11 October).
In a hotly-contested category, Asos beat a shortlist that included Ikea, KFC, Quorn and the Guardian to claim the illustrious prize, which is sponsored by YouGov.
The prize is based on a combination of Marketing Week readers’ votes, the thoughts of our stellar panel of judges and insight from YouGov’s BrandIndex tool.
The ecommerce giant impressed across all areas. In a tough retail market it is going from strength to strength with both sales and profits on the rise. Gross profit was up 29% for the six months to 28 February 2018, while revenue for the same period rose by 27%.
Despite this success, the business is not resting on its laurels, instead choosing to constantly innovate and pioneer in the field of social commerce.
Visionary Marketer of the Year
Nationwide’s Bennison, meanwhile, has taken home the much-coveted ‘Visionary Marketer of the Year’ title, which is sponsored by MiQ. Since taking over as CMO two-and-a-half years ago, she has put the focus firmly on the idea of ‘building society’ to improve the lives of generations to come, which has helped boost brand perceptions.
This strategy is evident in the ongoing ‘Voices’ campaign, which features socially and ethnically diverse UK-based spoken word artists. While the campaign has been a success for the business it hasn’t been without controversy, with the stars and the brand becoming victims of online hate every time the ads were shown.
But rather than turning a blind eye, Bennison has taken a stand against the trolls and been very vocal about the need to call out online abuse rather than hide from it.
“This is not just annoying and dangerous for advertisers, this is a societal problem that is incredibly damaging and yet we seem to be letting it exist,” she told Marketing Week last month. “There’s a duty of care that comes from how you wrap your arms around the talent you use and help them stand up to this in a way that is positive.”
Nationwide also took part in the Channel 4 #TogetherAgainstHate ad break takeover alongside Mars and McCain to shine a light on the problem and call out the haters.
This is just one example of Bennison’s active engagement in marketing industry matters. She is also looking to improve the position and reputation of marketing and advertising in the UK through her positions at a number of industry bodies. She is vice-president of ISBA’s council, a member of the Industry Advisory Panel advising the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and a member of WACL.
Congratulations to the winners
Other big winners on the evening include Bodyform, which won awards for content and brand purpose, as well as the category award for consumer goods, for its #BloodNormal campaign created by AMVBBDO.
Its excellence across these three categories also saw it take home the much-coveted Grand Prix award.
Through its #BloodNormal campaign, Bodyform has tried to help normalise periods and stop them being seen as taboo. As a result, nearly two-thirds of women now have a more positive opinion of the brand, while nearly a quarter of women have purchased the product or looked for it in store after seeing the campaign.
The campaign also strengthened the entire company’s pride and faith in the purpose, beyond just the marketing team.
Meanwhile, Aldi has also taken home gongs for multichannel marketing and sponsorship and partner marketing, as well as being named ‘Team of the Year’. Elsewhere Argos has won prizes for best video and the sector award for retail and ecommerce.
For the full list of winners across all channel, sector and special awards, click on the links below.