Gold: Wunderman Thompson
Wunderman Thompson has triumphed in this category for the second year running. Judges were impressed by the agency’s approach to remote engagement, its efforts towards ensuring employees’ wellbeing in response to the coronavirus and its creative output over 2020.
Its campaigns brought ideas with cultural impact to life, resonated strongly with their target audience, delivered tangible results and won awards.
Wunderman Thompson not only generated new business, grew existing accounts and increased the number of business leads, but it also showed others how to do it, with the agency co-authoring an IPA article on virtual pitching.
In the agency’s words, 2020 was the year it “rewrote the rules of engagement”. Despite enforced home working, Wunderman Thompson got closer than ever to its clients, through a series of regular curated webinars, thought leadership and research and a virtual content platform.
For pitches, clients and intermediaries were directed to bespoke microsites to view the agency’s work, supported by tools such as branded Instagram filters. These measures have now become a standard part of the pitching process.
Wunderman Thompson didn’t lose sight of its own people either, offering virtual wellbeing sessions and continuing weekly company meetings, wherever employees were based. Some of its employees were also trained as mental-health aid workers and the agency invested in a learning and development programme.
Clients’ customers were equally in the frame, with campaigns pushing the boundaries of innovation and inspiration. Highlights included a global rebrand for Avon, reinforcing Ribena’s sustainability credentials and “Abusers always work from home” for the National Centre for Domestic Violence.
Bronze: MRM McCann
MRM McCann supported its varied client base, which includes easyJet, Direct Line Group and Moonpig, through the pandemic by offering expertise and creating reactive campaigns that helped them connect with their customers in challenging times. So, the Interpublic-owned agency not only emerged from 2020 with strengthened client relationships but it also turned its focus internally, protecting its workforce and investing in diversity and inclusion. It partnered Hidden, an app that helps remove unconscious bias from recruitment processes, and launched the MRM//Sounding Board, a team of employees from across a wide range of roles and who come from diverse backgrounds.
In 2020 Merkle realigned its business around customer experience management, an approach that fused technology with media, underpinned by data capabilities. The agency restructured its senior leadership team to be able to drive the customer experience focus to suit the needs of changing clients, customers and the wider landscape as a whole.
During the course of 2020, Rapp merged with Proximity, growing its headcount by 52% and restructuring its strategy team to include customer experience and user experience specialists, a social and content division, brand, media and insight specialists and loyalty and CRM experts. The agency also won significant new business and industry awards.