The calibre of entries to our Engage Awards just keeps on rising

By the time you read this the streamers will have drifted to the floor, glasses will have been tidied up and shiny Marketing Week Engage Awards trophies will be adorning the desks of triumphant marketers and agencies.

Branwell Johnson

Hearty congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted entries of the Engage Awards 2013 held on Tuesday night, in association with YouGov. And a huge thank you to the judges who each year are increasingly challenged to settle on the winners as the calibre and volume of entries just keeps soaring.

The Engage Awards entries are judged on innovative thinking, creative implementation and return on investment. Easy to pay lip service to but I can vouch that the winners really are “best in class” in delivering these three criteria. You can find a full list of winners here and a more in-depth look at their entries in the online Book of the Night here.

It’s tough teasing out any overall conclusions from the winners, but it’s obvious that digital permeated the thinking behind every strategy and campaign in some way. The marketing community is now shifting ever more rapidly to digital as a mindset.

The Brand of the Year was awarded to Sainsbury’s. There were some close contenders but I don’t think anyone will seriously challenge the choice. The judges applauded the retailer’s bold step in sponsoring the Paralympic Games long before public support swung behind the event – that was a risk that paid off. It is consistently delivering strong revenue results and robust market share, and the judges agreed that its marketing is truly integrated under the ‘Live Well For Less’ concept with activity underpinned by what is now termed ‘omnichannel’ thinking.

I’d also like to applaud all the contenders for the Rising Star award. This year, for the first time, they had to present to the Engage Awards judging panel in person. That’s a nerve-wracking prospect when you are talking about a clutch of senior marketers from brands such as Reckitt Benckiser, Diageo and easyJet, to name a handful. One observation on the shortlisted Rising Stars is that three out the four work in financial services, using the widest definition. Maybe there’s an insight to do with the rigour applied to CRM, retention and budgets by the sector here.

Finally, thanks to all who entered the awards; it was a privilege to see a body of work both so massively varied and genuinely inspiring. We hope over forthcoming months to share the learnings from the case studies we’ve seen. Now, pass the Alka-Seltzer.



Sainsbury’s named Brand of the Year

Seb Joseph

Sainsbury’s beat competition from rivals including British Airways and Cadbury to be crowned the Marketing Week 2013 Engage Awards Brand of the Year in association with YouGov.

Mark Ritson

The gloves are off: the rise of anti-marketing

Tess Waddington

Recent events in the US have brought Abercrombie & Fitch’s exclusionist approach to targeting back into the public eye. Californian writer Greg Karber was so incensed by Abercrombie chief executive Mike Jeffries’ comments about how his brand exclusively focuses on the young, the thin and the popular that he decided to take action.