Sep 2023 – The R3 team attended the 20th Singapore Effie Awards and Learning Festival recently, and walked away with many valuable learnings and ideas from the amazing finalists and shared cases.

The Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry, and recognize any and all forms of marketing that contribute to a brand’s success. Today, Effie celebrates effectiveness worldwide with over 55+ programs spanning 125+ markets, including the Global Effies, regional programs in Asia-Pacific, Africa/The Middle East, Europe and Latin America, and national Effie programs.

Here are some learnings, as shared by Associate Consultant Brandy and Research Analyst Hazel.

Four key takeaways from the 20th Effie Awards Singapore:

1. Transform Data into Innovation

Data has become essential to the creative process. Almost all the big ideas presented during the Effie Learning Festival were led by data, with brands and agencies converting data-driven creativity into business value.

Most product innovations are designed to LEAD the user. Very rarely do tech companies stop to LEARN how users are creatively using their tech in unexpected ways.

Grab’s campaign was inspired entirely by users creatively life-hacking the app in an unexpected way. During the pandemic, Grab noticed the trend of ordinary users “hacking” Grab delivery services – GrabFood and GrabMart – to send meals, gifts, care packages, and vouchers to their loved ones in other countries or cities. They then conducted a survey and found that over 60% of users indicated the intention to send gifts across countries/cities. This led to GrabGifts – Grab’s unexpected, new, cross-border gifting business that spans more than 100 cities across the region.

2. Your Consumers Are An Extension of Your Brand

Up-and-coming brands often struggle with brand building and attracting new consumers. The key to overcoming this pain point is to make the consumers heard, included, and rewarded through brand experiences. When consumers trust and believe in your brand, they are your natural advocates.

Kiwi telco Skinny understood the value of word of mouth. They may not have a massive marketing budget, but they have an army of customers who love them. Together with Colenso BBDO, Skinny created the Friend-vertising campaign. The campaign featured real and happy Skinny customers, each fronting their own ad commercial that was run in prime TV slots, who implored their friends and families to join them in using Skinny.

Trust Bank, Singapore’s first digital bank, had a similar approach. To drive sign-ups, they worked with their agency Iris to create a referral program designed for the collective, and incentivized both the referrer and referee. The campaign started with driving recommendations through KOLs via social media. Once the public realized that Trust referral incentives are unlimited, they started to promote their own Trust referral code on their personal social channels. The program went viral within the first few days of launch.

3. Take Some Risks

Challenger brands are often more willing to take risks in creativity and strategy. Taking a calculated risk and trying something different could turn your business around.

Gojek entered Singapore as a challenger brand and noticed that they were not always the nation’s first port of call. With Forsman & Bodenfors, they turned this “weakness” into an advantage with the innovative brand campaign “We Got You”, which showcased Gojek’s reliability as a ride-hailing service even if it’s not the first choice. The campaign increased Gojek’s BUMO by 24% and market penetration by 17%. By poking fun at itself, Gojek changed the perception of the audience, with an improved reliability score and in consideration & awareness.

The Singapore Navy’s brand campaign “It’s Not Crazy. lt’s the Navy” was a bold move to appeal to purpose-driven individuals who embody the spirit of Generation Z and value resilience, tenacity, and collective purpose. The reality is that life in the Navy is not always about adventure, adrenaline, and action. It is a purposeful home for a special breed of Singaporeans with a high level of resilience and dedication. The campaign improved the public’s perception of the Navy by 43%, with a 117% improvement in consideration to join.

4. The Best Ideas Are The Simplest

This year’s Effie SG finalists shared one thing in common – the most successful campaigns all originated from a simple idea. Sometimes, less is more.

Right after mask-wearing became optional in Singapore, McDonald’s and Leo Burnett launched an interactive digital board in town, where screaming at the top of your lungs will get you a free Hershey’s ice cream cone. The Scream for Ice Cream campaign gained McDonald’s over 31 million organic views on TikTok, an increased 42% CTR versus McDonald’s Meta Benchmark, S$3.1 million in earned media value, and a lot of happy customers.

Another great case was national telco Singapore Telecommunications’ 5G Live Activation, a live-streamed concert that featured local indie band Sobs. The idea stemmed from the simple insight that many users had the habit of streaming music on the train. As such, Singtel held a live gig streamed from an underground train, powered by Singtel’s 5G coverage. This made a huge buzz for the telco giant.