5 Brands That Won Australian Advertising Awards [+What Marketers Can Learn From Them]

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Pamela Bump
Pamela Bump



With all the work marketing teams are responsible for, it can be hard to make time to get reinspired and capture a spark of creativity that leads to a new, marketing strategy. This can be even more problematic for brands in physically isolated areas.

Australian advertising in a public setting before it wins awards.

Take Australia for example. Its distance from other English-speaking regions like America and Europe can make it challenging for marketers to spread brand awareness globally. Ultimately, to gain even regional awareness, Australian brands must build competitive and innovative marketing strategies to stand out and grab attention from audiences.

So, what do you do when you work for a brand in a place like Australia, and just can't come up with a marketing idea that takes your company to the next level?

Look to award-winning brands for inspiration.

One great place to start could be country-specific award ceremonies. By following these competitions, you can learn more about how brands in your area are effectively working towards national or global awareness.

In Australia, one major advertising and marketing award competition that brands and agencies look to is The Effies.

The Effies is a marketing and advertising competition that includes regional and global ceremonies. Each year, brands are awarded for advertising strategies, rebranding tactics, effective marketing techniques, and innovative campaigns. Brands that win the Grand Effie in their region are also eligible for the global competition. Past global winners include major brands like Dove, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft.

While this year's Global Effie Awards have already been announced, Australia's 2020 Effie Winners will be revealed at the end of October.

To help inspire innovative strategies or campaigns from marketers, advertisers, and agencies in Australia or similar territories, here are five past Effie Award winners, plus two 2020 nominees to learn from.

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5 Australian Effie Award Winners Marketers Can Learn From

Great Northern Brewing Co.'s 2019 Ads - Carlton & United Breweries

Awards: 2019 Gold and Grand Effie Award

Way back in 2015, Carlton & United Breweries' team launched Great Northern Brewing Co. But, the young brand found it difficult to compete with beer brands that already had decades of Australian credibility and brand loyalty behind them.

But, after the new beer brand teamed up with Clemenger BBDO to launch ads targeting young adult adventurers and older Australian beer lovers -- Great Northern became the top-selling beer in Australia.

Great Northern's effective advertising strategy involved video content and commercials that embraced young and old beer drinkers, as well as Australia's great outdoors. One of the most memorable pieces of content within the Great Northern strategy was a video called, "The Great ReCamp."

The mini-documentary, which launched ahead of Father's Day in 2019, tells the story of a real father and adult son who go camping after a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

The video begins with the words, "For most of us, our first memories of the great outdoors begin with our fathers."

After presenting footage of a young boy camping with his dad, the documentary flashes forward into the future where that boy, now an adult, talks about how he loved going camping but eventually lost touch with his family when he moved away to focus on his career.

After years away, the son explains that he rushed home when his father was battling life-threatening cancer. When his father recovered, the son says he decided to take him on the same camping trip they used to go on.

The documentary shows visuals of the father and son bonding by the fire, fishing together, swimming in rivers, and subtly drinking Great Northern Beer at multiple points.

As the camping montage comes to a close, the son narrates, "We don't need everything we've got these days. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that. Camping does that. -- You can't bring everything with you."

The video ends with the two men sitting at their campsite. The father passes his son a Great Northern and asks, "You know that happy place?" He looks out at the grassy Australian landscape before clinking beers with his son.

Text appears that says, "Sometimes you need to go far and wide to stay close. -- Go camping with Dad this Father's Day."

With content like that above, Great Northern positions itself as a beer for Australian adventurers of all ages. By telling the story of a nostalgic father-son journey, Great Northern ties emotion, relatability, and Australian pride to its beer. This enables the beer to compete against major breweries that have decades of brand loyalty.

When the Grand Effie was announced, the Judges' statement said, "This is a classic case of how good marketing and advertising can still build a minor brand into a market leader."

"In 2015, XXXX Gold outsold Great Northern by a factor of six to one. Four years later, Great Northern became Australia’s top-selling beer. This was achieved through well-considered insight, strategy, and execution," the statement added. “The Great Northern case study is a model for all students of advertising.”

"Help is Who We Are" - NRMA Insurance

Award: 2019 Gold Effie

After seeing customer decline since 2014, NRMA insurance, a home insurance policy company, teamed up with The Monkeys to create a campaign that brought a "new purpose" to its brand and product.

As Australian forest fires rendered koala's nearly extinct, NRMA's campaign aimed to market an initiative where the insurance company would plant a tree for every home insurance policy sold. Unsurprisingly, the campaign's mascot was an adorable koala bear.

The title of NRMA's campaign, which ran across TV, radio, print, and social media was, "Help is who we are."

NRMA help is who we are campaign

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One of the campaign's commercials, titled "Every Home Is Worth Protecting," tells the story of a boy who befriends and tries to save an endangered koala.

At the beginning of the ad, the boy's riding his bike down a street with no trees when he sees the scared bear holding a wooden powerline pole. After stopping, wondering if he should do something, and ultimately riding away from the bear, the boy lies awake at night with guilt as he stares at a picture of a koala in his bedroom.

When he returns to the powerline the next day with a wagon, he sees no koala and gets angry -- assuming that it was hurt or killed.

Luckily, he turns around to find the koala peacefully sitting in his wagon.

The boy brings the koala to the wilderness, where multiple new trees are planted. The bear climbs up a fully-grown tree as the boy waves goodbye. A text overlay on the screen reads, "We're planting a tree for every home insurance policy."

By working with Conservation Volunteers Australia to plant trees in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as marketing the initiative on multiple channels, NRMA demonstrates that it's an insurance company that cares about its clients as well as the environment.

Additionally, by planting a tree for every policy sold, NRMA gives prospects more motivation to choose its insurance company. When customers buy a policy, they protect themselves from home damage, but can also feel good about helping a koala in need.

"When it comes to reviving your brand, its original purpose can be easily overlooked. This is an important reminder that sometimes it’s best to go back to your roots, and that exceptional value can be unlocked by reinterpreting what made your brand great to begin with," NRMA wrote in its Effie submission.

According to the submission, "NRMA Insurance reversed 8-years of declining customer numbers and reached customers for the first time since April 2014, despite a growing price premium."

“For an insurance brand synonymous with helping Australians, it made so much sense when we landed on the idea of home insurance for koalas. A campaign dedicated to protecting the homes of our furry friends," said Vince Lagana, executive creative director of The Monkeys, in a statement to Campaign Brief.

"Coolest Suit on the Planet" - M.J. Bale

Award: 2018 Gold Effie

Through market research, M.J. Bale, an Australian men's fashion brand, discovered that 82% of male shoppers think of wool as a winter fabric. Because of this association, M.J. Bale feared that prospects might sacrifice a wool suit's classic and professional look for more comfortable attire -- especially in hot climates like Australia.

To prove that people can comfortably wear suits in any hot climate, M.J. Bale created a line of wool suits -- called "Cool Wool" and teamed up with TBWA\Sydney to launch a partially immersive campaign called, "Coolest Suit on the Planet."

Half of the campaign featured a video series that was aired in M.J. Bale stores and on its social media channels. This content followed Good Morning Britain weatherman Alex Beresford as he tracked and traveled to the hottest places on Earth wearing M.J. Bale's Cool Wool suit.

As the weatherman traveled to areas like China, Africa, and India, which were often over 43 degrees Celsius, M.J. Bale shoppers in Australia could go into the brand's shops, put on a Cool Wool suit, and stand in a heating chamber that enabled them to experience wearing the suit in hot locations around the world.

You can check out a reel that highlights the overall campaign by clicking here.

According to its Effie submission, ‘The Coolest Suit on the Planet’ campaign increased M.J. Bale suit sales by 78%, rose foot-traffic by 54%, and delivered a 344% ROI

This was a great example of how videos, influencers, and immersive marketing tactics can be used to address prospects' concerns about a product and persuade them to buy it anyway. By combining in-store experiences and video content, M.J. Bale increased store visits that led to purchases.

Ultimately, If audiences aren't persuaded to buy an M.J. Bale Cool Wool suit after seeing a weather expert comfortably travel through hot terrain in it, they might be convinced once they actually get to stress-test the outfit for themselves.

Dare Iced Coffee's Nonsensical Ads - Lion Dairy and Drinks

Awards: 2017 Gold and Grand Effies

Have you ever felt confused and in a fog before drinking your coffee in the morning? This is a feeling that Dare Iced Coffee played up to extremes in a series of funny ads that led to Gold and Grand Effies.

Beginning in 2016, Dare Iced Coffee, and its owner Lion Dairy and Drinks, partnered with AJF to create commercials where everyday people do something completely nonsensical because they haven't had their daily dose of iced coffee yet. Once the protagonists in each ad take a sip of the product, they instantly start thinking clearly again.

In one of the campaign's funniest ads, a father named Dave carries his dog in a baby carrier instead of his infant.

When Dave's friend sees him, waves, and looks confused, an Australian narrator says, "Uh oh. Dave's got his fur child mixed up with his real child?" Dave looks down startled to realize the predicament he's placed himself in. Meanwhile, the dog looks up at the camera and barks, "Dave-o!"

From there, the ad cuts to product shots of iced coffee being poured as the narrator explains the taste-related benefits of Dare's product.

The narration ends with, "A Dare fix'll fix it!", as viewers see the father confidently drinking his coffee with his child back in the carrier.

Dare's ads were short, sweet, and memorable for their humor. They also impressively manage to fill short 30-second slots with full comedic storylines and valuable facts about Dare coffee. Not only are the ads entertaining, but they also differentiate Dare from its many competitors.

"Dare successfully took on Australian iced coffee brands and international pick-me-ups by creating a new consumption occasion: becoming the habitual choice for whenever people are not thinking straight," notes an article on the Effies' official website. "Effie judges noted that the strategic challenge was significant given the breadth and strength of competition in the category. The objective was both clear and ambitious, and delivered outstanding growth and ROI."

Narellan Pools' Data-Driven Ad Campaign - Narellan Pools

Awards: 2016 Gold Effie

Because most of its customers only consider installing pools in the summer months, Narellan Pools wanted to create a marketing strategy that would increase conversion earlier in the year.

Narellan worked with Affinity, an Australian agency, to build a database of market research, their company's conversion history, and weather data to determine the times of the year when interested pool prospects were getting serious about home installations.

Through the data-backed strategy, Narellan and Affinity discovered that the most optimal time for pool-related conversions was during the first two consecutively warm days of each calendar year. From there, Narellan increased ad spend and targeting of prospective pool buyers just before the weather started to get warm, with some of the heaviest spend being used during the first two consecutive hot days.

The content within the targeted ads emphasized the "bliss" one feels when diving into a pool. Here's one of the ads, titled, "A Splash of Bliss."

The short video shows a woman diving into a pool as a narrator describes how magical an early morning swim can feel -- especially in a Narellan Pool.

Through Narellan and Affinity's data-driven strategy, Narellan reduced its annual media spend by 30% while increasing sales by 23%.

Below is a video case study that describes how the paid ad strategy worked:

Narellan's strategy is a great example of how brands can leverage data to learn more about prospective buyers and make their advertising tactics even more effective.

"Our data-driven targeting allowed maximized exposure of our insightful campaign to exactly the right audience – and only at their tipping point of purchase consideration – delivering game-changing results," Affinity notes on its website.

Australian Effie Nominees

"You don't need Australia's Best Network -- Until You Do." - Telstra

In 2019, Telstra -- a telecommunications brand used by millions of Australians -- partnered with The Monkeys for a series of advertisements showing how people benefit from a strong network.

One of the campaign's most emotional and inclusive ads follows a man coming out about his sexuality to his parents by telling them he's engaged to his partner.

At the beginning of the ad, the couple sits in their car following a proposal. The man who was proposed to nervously wonders how he's going to tell his parents as his supportive partner says, "You'll have to tell them sometime."

When the nervous man whispers, "I'm gonna do it," and pulls out his phone, he sees he has no reception. His partner says, "It's okay. Use mine."

Using his partner's smartphone powered by Telstra's network, the man successfully reaches his parents and nervously reveals he's engaged to a male partner. The parents happily congratulate and accept the son for who he is.

Telstra's campaign and the commercial above is effective because it highlights the major milestones or moments when we all want or need our phone service to work properly. Not only does the ad show us how well the service works, but it also allows us to relate to the brand and its mission on a more human level.

“Whether it’s sharing big news, changing plans in a hurry, or quickly looking up something important, it’s nice to know that Australia’s best network is there for you when you need it," said The Monkeys' Creative Director Stuart Alexander in an interview.

"The Bedroom Report" - Bedshed

Working with the Australian agency Rare, Bedshed -- an Australian bedding chain -- launched a campaign that merged great video content with market research data.

The first portion of Bedshed's initiative involved a two-year study where the brand surveyed consumers all over Australia about sleeping habits.

Once the survey was complete, Bedshed launched a web page -- which looks like a large interactive infographic -- to highlight interesting findings. Many of the facts revealed in this study explain how important sleep is to overall health, what gets in the way of it, and how purchasing a great bed and mattress can help prevent insomnia.

For example, Bedshed's study found that "23% of men talk in their sleep," while 66% of their partners lie awake listening to what they say. It also revealed that 1.7 million people wake up in the middle of the night due to bad pillows or mattresses.

the bedroom report bedshed campaignAlong with creating a data-fueled web experience, Bedshed launched a series of ads that present key study findings and direct prospects to its store to learn more or try a new mattress:

Bedshed's campaign is a great example of how a brand can draw audiences with data-driven content. Its detailed research also positions the brand as an expert in the crowded bed industry.

When a prospect is shopping for an expensive product -- like a bed -- they might want to get recommendations from a person who knows a lot about the product. After seeing Bedshed's content, these prospects might think that a company that knows so much about its industry will sell good quality products.

What We Can Learn From Effie Winners

Even if you don't have a huge budget or an agency to help you market your brand, here are a few strategies that any brand can use to spread brand awareness and engage new audiences -- just like the companies above:

  • Be human: While Great Northern Brewing embraced fatherhood and Australian Pride to market its product, Dare Iced Coffee made ads that were comedically relatable to coffee drinkers. When your brand's content is relatable, it can also be memorable. Not to mention, people who find brands more relatable and authentic trust them more.
  • Embrace a bigger purpose: Although NRMA sells home insurance, they realized helping the environment would allow them to fulfill an even greater purpose. And, through their marketing, people might trust their brand more because they care about something more beyond policy purchases.
  • Leverage data: While M.J. Bale's campaign was inspired by market research, Narellan Pools' advertising strategy was fueled by analytics. While creativity is key to drawing attention from audiences, data can help you optimize your content and share it at just the right time.

To learn more about the latest Australian marketing tactics, check out this list of the country's most innovative website designs, or these fascinating Australian Instagram stats. Or, download the offer below to get more expert tips on creating a winning campaign.

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