Amp spotlight: A-List & Creativity Awards and Cannes Lions -

Mischief @ NFA

Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
Newcomer of the Year

As its name might suggest, Mischief was born out of a drive to shake things up in advertising. "I didn't want to be part of the past," says Greg Hahn, who started up the New York-based office in partnership with Canadian agency No Fixed Address in June 2020. "It felt like the advertising world was lacking. Something was broken and I thought there had to be a better way." Since opening their doors, Mischief has consistently turned out work that stays true to its founding mission, including a Kraft Heinz initiative that involved handing out water-filled packets of Capri Sun to Chicago kids, a Kraft Mac & Cheese campaign that had people "Send Noods"—pixelated images of everyone's favorite boxed meal, and an election-themed OKCupid campaign titled "Cockblocker." That strategy has proved successful for the upstart shop, which landed 15 clients in their first half-year, saw their revenue soar by 2,234% in six months and grew to a team of 44 today.

"Our best business tool since we launched has been doing good work," says Mischief President Kerry McKibbin. "That has begotten more good work and brought in more and more clients, and therefore, more success."

Mother London

Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
International Agency of the Year

"For years we've talked about being a people business but this year I feel like the power of our independence really showed itself," says Partner and Head of Strategy Katie Mackay-Sinclair.

"We could take the decision to protect everyone's jobs and do right by our people." And that's exactly what Sinclair and her team were able to do through the pandemic, not only protecting their own team but hiring 100 people, including several teams that had been laid off by other agencies. Mother London prioritized the balance of life and work within the new reality brought on by the pandemic, and even turned away new business in the summertime to avoid burnout among staff. Still, the agency was able to grow its revenue by 10% from the previous year, bring on 16 new clients, and put out a slew of successful campaigns. They also launched Mother Pictures with the goal of producing unbranded work, as well as Other, their indie operation.


Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
Executive of the Year: Dana Maiman, FCB Health Network
Tech Innovation of the Year: Michelob Ultra, Microsoft "Courtside," FCB NY
Experiential Campaign of the Year: Michelob Ultra, Microsoft "Courtside," FCB NY

Cannes Lions 2021 Grand Prix Awards:
Healthcare Agency of the Year and Grand Prix: "Sick Beats" for Woojer, FCB Area 23
Media Grand Prix, "Boards of Change": The City of Chicago, FCB Chicago
Grand Prix for PR, "Contract for Change": AB InBev, FCB NYCreative eCommerce Grand Prix, "Raising Profiles" for LinkedIn/The Big Issue, FCB Inferno

FCB did a lot of things right in 2020, and one of those things was putting the right people in place. Case in point: Dana Maiman, president-CEO of FCB Health Network. 2021's Executive of the Year, Maiman helped propel the agency's health branch—a network of 23 agencies, which represent 19 of the top 20 pharma companies—to new heights in 2020. FCB Health added 100 new accounts and 800 employees, and grew their revenue by 23.4%. They also started up "The Trial for Clinical Equality" under Maiman, an initiative aimed at working toward greater equality for the Black and Hispanic population in clinical oncology trials. Maiman attributes some of the growth FCB Health has seen over the past year to the raised awareness around health that resulted from the pandemic.

"All of a sudden people started to remember why health care, why pharma, why this industry is so important—it saves lives," Maiman says. "And that has been an incredible feeling for me, because of course I've known all these things and that has fueled my passion all these years."

FCB's wins didn't stop there, however. One campaign, put out by the agency's New York office, made everyone look: "Michelob Ultra Courtside." This year's winners for both Tech Innovation of the Year and Experiential Campaign of the Year, the spot saw Michelob Ultra join forces with Microsoft to deliver an experience to sports fans that the pandemic had all but taken away. The platform made use of Microsoft Teams technology to allow fans to take in live events from the vantage point of virtual "stadium seats," cheering on their favorite teams along with all the other fans in the virtual "room." The game day "tickets" came in the form of scannable bottles of Michelob Ultra—a smart strategy that resulted in a 35% boost in sales, not to mention 13 billion impressions. The global agency also took home some important honors at Cannes: Healthcare Agency of the Year for FCB Area 23, plus four Grand Prix wins.

Circus Maximus

Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
Best Launch of the Year: King C. Gillette Beard Care Brand

"Our goal with Circus Maximus from Day One was to create a Navy SEAL's approach to the full-service agency model designed to launch brands intelligently, quickly, and comprehensively," says Circus Maximus Founder and CCO Ryan Kutscher. "The King C. Gillette launch is a proof point that we've built exactly that." Gillette came to the New York-based agency to launch King C. Gillette, their first entry into the beard care space, just as the pandemic began to change life as Americans knew it in April 2020.

Circus Maximus stayed true to their founding mission of helping get brands off the ground the smart way: They created a brand strategy, developed a social media plan, created package design, worked on product development and ultimately helped launch a brand that far outperformed expectations. With 4.8-star ratings and orders that doubled projections, King C. Gillette became the go-to beard care brand in two months' time.

Horizon Media

Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
Media Planner of the Year (finalist): Edwina Morales

Agencies are only as good as the individual members that make up their teams, like Media Planner of the Year finalist Edwina Morales from Los Angeles-based Horizon Media. Morales committed herself in 2020 to the goal of "advocating for those often overlooked, in this case, the powerful and influential multicultural consumer." "Marketing practices must be inclusive and culturally relevant," says Morales. "This drives my ethos when engaging with brands, and was the spark that shifted my career path in 2018."

Laundry Service

Ad Age 2021 Agency A-List & Creativity Awards:
Creative Director of the Year (finalist): Larry Gordon

As tough as 2020 was on businesses and agencies, weathering that storm was equally tough on the creatives tasked with finding solutions to problems unlike anything they had experienced in years past. "Being recognized as a finalist for Creative Director of the Year is a huge honor, especially after this year," says Laundry Service's Larry Gordon, a 2021 Creative Director of the Year finalist. "But I think the challenges of this year brought out the best in a lot of people. New challenges turned into new opportunities, so I'm proud of the team and the work we were able to create."


Cannes Lions 2021 Grand Prix Awards:
Gold Lion, "Laugh Tracker": Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, VMLY&R
Glass Lion for Change Grand Prix, "I Am": Starbucks, VMLY&R Brazil

VMLY&R claimed two awards at Cannes this year, one for their work on "Laugh Tracker," a campaign that created an objective measure of children's enjoyment for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and "I Am," a powerful initiative for Starbucks, which transformed a São Paolo café into a notary's office where transgender people could change their names without any fee. Glass Lions Jury President and Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John applauded the campaign for its dual function: "the idea that a brand can do the double work of bringing awareness but go the extra step of taking what is actually legal action to change lives." Read more here.

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