As part of our celebration of Australia’s premier advertising awards, this year we’re showcasing all of the finalist work one category at a time. And, what better category, we ask, than the one that celebrates bravery?
We asked all entries to include 300 words they were happy to showcase.
The B&T Award For Bravery category aims to recognise campaigns involving a high-risk idea/ execution. Judges will look for the overall creativity and innovation within the context of the brief and against the objective of the campaign, the bravery involved in taking the risk and the learnings from the campaign.
Of course, now that you’re invested in shortlisted entries, why not come along and see who will be crowned the winners at the Hordern Pavilion on Friday 24 November 2023? Early bird tickets are limited so don’t run the risk of paying full price later.
Catch up on the other shortlisted work by clicking on the links below:
- B&T Award For Bravery
- B&T Award for Diversity
- Best Content Marketing Strategy
- Best CTV Campaign
- Best Data-Driven Marketing Campaign
- Best Digital Campaign, sponsored by Twitch
- Best Direct Response Campaign
- Best Integrated Campaign
- Best Media Campaign
- Best OOH Campaign
- Best PR Campaign
- Best TV Campaign
- Best Use of Sponsorship
Here’s the finalists’ work in their own words, the headings below show the name of the agency entering the award, the campaign name and the client taking the leap of faith.
Amplify, “Frisson Trigger”, Sonos
Sonos tasked Amplify to create a campaign that would sustain cultural conversation around Era 300, the brand’s newly launched spatial audio speaker. The campaign had to celebrate the emotive power of sound, reinforce the brand’s credibility in music and reignite its innovation narrative.
Sometimes, a piece of music connects so deeply that we feel a physical sensation, a “frisson”.
Frisson is a psychophysiological response to music that induces a pleasurable state resulting in skin tingling, chills, goosebumps, an elevated heart rate and pupil dilation.
What if we combined art, science and Sonos hardware to take spatial audio technology to the next level with a track engineered to cause frisson?
Composed and mixed by Grammy-winning producer and spatial audio expert, Eric J Dubowsky in collaboration with academic experts, “Frisson Trigger” is loaded with sounds scientifically proven to induce frisson.
Committing to the concept was an enormous leap of faith. Whilst pre-existing tracks had been studied and referenced for their frisson-inducing qualities, no one had attempted to create a piece of music with triggering frisson as the primary objective.
Despite ongoing research, frisson remains a mystery of human nature. Everyone experiences it differently and we didn’t know what the effect of combining triggers would be. We had to put our faith in the science and our trust in Eric J’s experience.
The story was shared through the release of the track, online content and a media and influencer event that included a purpose-built listening space, featuring the ultimate, immersive Sonos spatial audio setup.
BMF, “The Reluctant Shanty”, UNHCR
In the lead-up to World Refugee Day (20 June), Australians for UNHCR wanted to boost awareness of both the plight of refugees and the refugee assistance programs they run globally to support displaced people worldwide.
In order to shake people from refugee charity fatigue, we needed to lean into a political, hot-button issue; boat refugees.
With this in mind, we turned our attention to sea shanties, a 400-year-old genre of traditional folk song that was once commonly sung as a work song to accompany rhythmical labour aboard large merchant sailing vessels. But, thanks to TikTok, in 2021 sea shanties had a resurgence.
The sea shanty music and community are now more popular than ever on social media, with the hashtag #seashanty amassing well over 3.1 billion views on TikTok. But we wanted to give shanties a new, powerful relevance, by creating the first sea shanty based on real refugee survivor stories.
To launch this Shanty, we needed to garner the attention of a captive audience, so we partnered with Nathan Evans – the fresh, global face of sea shanty music, UK #1 artist, and TikTok megastar – to co-create ‘The Reluctant Shanty’ song. A track based on in-depth interviews we conducted with five reluctant sailors: boat refugees from Iran, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.
The real and harrowing survivor stories were painstakingly turned into a song and music video that honoured their resilience, hardship and courage, in close consultation with Australians for UNHCR.
On the eve of World Refugee Day, Nathan gave a mysterious sneak peek of the Reluctant Shanty song to his 1.6 million TikTok followers, igniting conversation about its haunting lyrics and themes.
Then on World Refugee Day itself, Nathan and Australians for UNHCR simultaneously dropped the entire track and revealed its true meaning to the world.
BMF, “Shop ALDI First”, Aldi
Those in the know, know that shopping at ALDI first saves you shop-loads. But for everyone else, grocery shopping is a well-entrenched habit at preferred competitors. We needed to create sufficient intrigue and permission for people to bend their routines to try ALDI first.
Our idea not only accepts but encourages supermarket polygamy. It normalises the behaviour of shopping around, changing it from a point of awkwardness into a point of financial savviness.
With a healthy dose of honesty and self-awareness around ALDI’s range shortcomings we helped Aussies understand that ALDI knows it’s not the only supermarket you see – it just wants to be the first.
In an idea made for TV screens, “Shop ALDI first” takes a page out of popular romantic on-screen dramas like ‘The Notebook’ to dramatise that ALDI loves their shoppers enough to let them go.
“Edge x Folkal Eyewear”, Safilo
Safilo had a problem: nobody in the eyewear industry was taking sustainability seriously.
We researched the issue, and found that although sustainability is important to consumers, many people find that a lack of information, a lack of sustainable alternatives or the time and effort involved in finding those alternatives prevents them from acting. This was especially true in eyewear.
So, how to draw attention to sustainability in eyewear, whilst also making it easier to find the most sustainable sunnies, AND making it easy to compare models for impact?
The answer was simple: create the world’s first marketplace for sustainable eyewear.
We believed in the idea so much that we went 50-50 with Safilo in a joint venture. And so folkaleyewear.com was born.
We developed a name, brand DNA and visual identity.
We designed and built a ground-breaking, world-first, third-party verified sustainability rating system that evaluated every SKU individually across product, case, transport and packaging – examining criteria including materials, manufacturing process, end of life and emissions – and generating a score for each, that we turned into a simple ‘good/better/best’ rating to make life easier for consumers.
We built an e-commerce marketplace, selling Safilo brands directly whilst offering third party brands the ability to access our audience to drive their own growth.
We partnered with Terracycle to establish an eyewear recycling facility.
And we launched with a PR/advertising push, driving awareness and changing purchase behaviour.
All in a risk environment that included increased ACCC scrutiny into greenwashing, and an activist base that shoots down big-business efforts: meaning we had to be relentlessly transparent, radically open and act like a start-up – as well as a tough economic and e-commerce environment: requiring precise unit economics, a known break-even point, a controlled burn-rate – and the confidence to stick to our guns.
Hero Through Their Eyes, Maybelline
Maybelline New York wanted to engage with Gen Z, in particular the burgeoning gaming demographic, now with a total audience of 17 million in Australia. The brief was to connect with young female gamers in a meaningful and authentic way and enrich their gaming experiences.
The brand had a clear and long-established purpose; ‘give everyone the self-confidence to express their beauty, to play and to make change’. We knew of anecdotal evidence that female-identifying gamers were facing constant abuse online resulting in many playing in silence, or not at all. It seemed the online gaming world was a place where many don’t feel free to express themselves.
To change the game, we commissioned an Australian research survey with over 600 gamers to garner deeper insights into the problem and the results were confronting. Over 83 per cent of female-identifying gamers have experienced abusive behaviour online and as a result, the majority turn off their microphones.
Our strategy was not just to simply shine a light on an existing problem, but to amplify the silent voices on the subject matter, and create allies both male and female in the online gaming world.
We set out to show male gamers what it was like to play through a woman’s eyes. Two prominent Aussie male gamers had their real identities disguised with voice modification software and fake female profiles in an online first-person shooter game. They experienced first-hand the level of constant abuse and bullying experienced by the opposite sex.
Shared out by our four gamer influencers, the film quickly resonated with the online gaming community and beyond. Appreciating they’d been heard, female-identifying players shared their stories, many who had been hiding in silence, and most importantly millions of male gamers called for others to stand up and say something.
Howatson+Company, “EXHIBIT A-i”, Blackburn
For over ten years, thousands of people seeking asylum in Australia by boat have been stopped by the Australian Navy and sent to offshore detention centres in Nauru, Manus Island and Papua New Guinea.
They wait indefinitely to be processed, held in privately-owned prisons. Cameras and journalists are banned. Guards are all-powerful. Neither the public nor politicians know what occurs inside, leading to atrocities that have been hidden from view.?
Australia’s leading social justice law firm, Maurice Blackburn, had been running a class action lawsuit on behalf of survivors against the government, arguing that indefinite offshore detention should be unlawful. Unfortunately, in 2021, due to a change in the law, the case was dismissed. However, Maurice Blackburn still believed survivors’ stories deserved to be heard.
Its brief was to create widespread awareness of the atrocities survivors experienced to try to use these stories to provoke policy change discussions.
Our brief was to bring these stories to life in a way that did justice to the brave witnesses who shared their harrowing experiences and delivered emotional engagement to a largely complacent mass of Australia.
At the heart of the campaign is a book of evidence submitted to members of the Australian Parliament and used in one-on-one meetings with key policy-makers. The book was also sent to leading journalists, garnering worldwide attention. To launch this campaign publicly, immersive exhibitions were held at Australia’s Parliament House and Immigration Museum – where the images and stories were printed and exhibited within barbed wire fencing. Additionally, we partnered with the editorial stock library, Shutterstock, to upload our visuals to their website so that they could sit alongside real photojournalism. The words and images were also displayed on a microsite, OOH and social.
Howatson+Company, “Bed-verts”, 10:PM
This entry highlights the creativity and innovation of 10:PM’s “Bed-verts” campaign, operating on a $0 media budget. To launch the Australian start-up and drive fame, we transformed dumped competitor mattresses into shocking unmissable billboards by calling out the unhygienic truth about our competitors’ dumped mattresses and promoting 10:PM as the superior alternative.
10:PM’s bravery shone through as it relied solely on earned media, defying established brands with deeper pockets. The risk of placing its logo on a dirty abandoned product or competitor retaliation didn’t deter the brand. Instead, the campaign ignited conversations and earned extensive social media and PR coverage. The major learning was the immense power of “disgust” as a driving force for fame. When battling for share of voice, using unconventional methods of advertising can be highly effective with an enduring impact on the brand.
innocean, “Show Up For IWD”, Fck The Cupcakes
One in two men think we’ve done enough to fix gender equality. Leaving women twice as likely to organise equality initiatives like International Women’s Day (IWD). A day that’s largely seen by men as a “women’s event”.
Yet engaging men can have the biggest impact on gender equality.
At a time saturated with campaigns talking to women, we needed to cut through and speak with men.
But we couldn’t use shaming tactics that only caused them to shy away. We needed to lean into their interests while being provocative enough to get them talking.
INTRODUCING: SHOW UP FOR IWD
Inviting men to IWD in a way they couldn’t ignore.
Every phase of our campaign was designed to be shared with men and let them know that showing up, leaning in and listening was the most powerful message they could send this IWD.
1. THE INVI-TATE-ION
Taking on the world’s biggest misogynist, Andrew Tate, and his army of followers to turn his hateful words into an open invitation to ‘Show up’ this IWD.
3. UNSOLICITED INVITES
Replacing the online phenomenon of unsolicited dick pics with Unsolicited Invites. Using tongue-in-cheek language to turn a tactic used by misogynistic men into a weapon for good.
2. EQUIP MEN INTO ACTION
Supplying men with thought leadership pieces, FAQs and even email templates to get their employers on board with supporting equal attendance at their IWD events.
With a $0 media budget, men went from standing by to leaning in and showing that equality starts with equal attendance.
21.8 million people reached, globally
59 per cent uplift in male engagement
41.3 per cent male social engagement
$670k in earned media
11k unique website visits
772 per cent increase in traffic YoY
R/GA Blak Powerhouse We Are Warriors (WAW)
We Are Warriors (WAW) launched on January 26, 2022, intentionally subverting the day’s contentious legacy and reclaiming it for Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous-owned social enterprise spotlights Blak excellence so the next generation can see it to be it. Quickly gaining momentum, a year later, we were asked to strategise a way to bring the community together and maintain that positive energy.
We came up with an ambitious idea. A takeover of one of Sydney’s iconic museums – The Powerhouse. But we only had six weeks to make it a reality.
Historically, organisations are focused on attempting to change how non-Indigenous Australians see Indigenous youth. But real change starts from the inside. WAW is changing how Indigenous youth see themselves; making Indigenous success more visible; so they can see it to be it.
Enter Blak Powerhouse – a free, all-ages event of art, photography, music, dance, discussion, and the premiere of a documentary film, Through the Fire. On January 26, 2023, We Are Warriors transformed a historically white colonial space to hold a history-making event that championed Blak Excellence.
The takeover was designed to reframe the focus of January 26 and transform it from a mournful reminder of the past to a day celebrating the survival of Indigenous peoples in Australia, pride and positivity in the present, and the possibilities of the future. And it succeeded.
Visual art and musical performances from the likes of Luke Currie-Richardson, Barkaa, and Kobie Dee; panel discussions led by activist Penny Towney; the premiere of WAW original documentary film Through The Fire, the Powerhouse was packed full of pride and positivity.
An advertising equivalent value of AU$800k in media coverage, the largest attendance in Powerhouse history, over $1M in sponsorships with global partners like Adobe, Google and TikTok, now the Powerhouse museum will hold Blak Powerhouse annually.
OOH Street Posters x 400 18.01.2023
Blak Powerhouse: Art, Live Music, Panel & Film, Powerhouse Museum on 26.01.2023
We Are Warriors is showing Indigenous youth what Blak excellence and strong leadership looks like. As Indigenous Blak Powerhouse attendee put it, “WAW has given us our power back.”
And this is only the beginning.
OOH Street Posters x 400 18.01.2023
Blak Powerhouse: Art, Live Music, Panel & Film, Powerhouse Museum on 26.01.2023
Special, “Food Tastes Better with Pepsi Max”, Pepsi
In the challenge to break Coke’s dominance during meal occasions, Pepsi-Max faced a tough task as 97 per cent of people were unwilling to try something new due to their long-established habit of choosing Coke. However, scientific studies revealed that Pepsi’s unique flavour notes enhanced the taste of people’s favourite foods, making it a better meal enhancer.
Pepsi-Max adopted a provocative strategy to overcome this, urging people to prioritize their meals and do them justice rather than asking them to love the brand. They aimed to shake up consumer behaviour and perceptions by taking on a challenger approach. Through guerrilla marketing tactics, they strategically placed a truck with signs outside key competitor restaurants on International Burger Day. They projected messages in Sydney’s CBD and used Coke’s restaurant logos to create cheeky ads for Pepsi-Max.
Although risky, the strategy succeeded in generating buzz and attention for Pepsi-Max. The campaign showcased the significance of bravery in marketing, proving that a small budget could be effectively leveraged with the right approach. Additionally, it emphasized the impact of how a message is delivered, with tone and presentation playing a pivotal role.
Ultimately, the campaign’s success hinged on the need for a jolt or disruption to alter consumer behaviour effectively. Being a provocateur and taking bold risks garnered admiration from consumers and created excitement around the brand. The campaign demonstrated the value of challenging the status quo and daring to be unconventional.
Pepsi-Max’s strategy involved presenting its compatibility with meals and utilising provocative guerrilla marketing tactics to challenge Coke’s dominance. This approach significantly boosted Pepsi-Max’s popularity among consumers and showcased the importance of bravery, innovative messaging, and a daring, unconventional approach to effect behaviour change.
Special, “Middle Seat Lottery”, Virgin Australia
The silver lining to being served an enormous challenge is that it forces brave ambition in response.
This case study is a testament to just that.
In 2021, Virgin Australia (VA) had just come out of voluntary administration. Consumer confidence was down, internal culture was rattled and the brand was weakened and undefined. We were tasked to help revive the business. Specifically, to reposition the brand for commercial success, and relaunch it with impact.
Yet VA couldn’t fall back on previous strategies of chasing Qantas for premium credentials or attempting to compete with Jetstar on price – an awkward middle-ground that had in part led to its demise. Instead, we helped them create their own, third space by activating the latent challenger potential of Virgin’s brand to shake up the bland and stuffy industry benchmark for ‘premium’ experiences. Replacing cold and formal with oodles of humanity and personality, and in the process creating a new, more accessible and memorable version of elevated airline experiences.
But critically this meant starting at the point that normally gets relegated to the too-hard basket – the airline experience itself. Fiscal, regulatory and logistical hoops meant making a meaningful difference to the flying experience was extremely difficult. No competitor had meaningfully innovated in years. But we took it on regardless.
And it was worth it. The brand was relaunched with experience innovation at the heart, shifting the conversation from administration uncertainty to positive buzz. All short-term revenue and growth goals were achieved within a single quarter of launch, allowing VA to meet and even beat main competitor Qantas on key brand health metrics.
Virgin Australia was not just surviving – it was well and truly thriving.
The Royals, “Better With Age”, Wild Secrets
At a time when sex positivity is on the rise, ageing and sexual pleasure remain a no-go area. People aged over 65 are hugely underrepresented when it comes to sex – in health documents, popular culture and advertising – and often represented through an ageist lens.
That’s not good enough for online sex toy retailer Wild Secrets, which is on a mission to normalise sexual pleasure for everybody. Including over 65s.
So The Royals were tasked with reaching over-65s to start a conversation about sex and introduce them to sex toys, on their terms.
Armed with insights from a survey of over 500 Australians aged 65+ that showed one in three over 65s are comfortable using sex toys, The Royals set out to subvert society’s ageist assumptions about what life is like after 65. They did that by tapping into the card that’s in the back pocket of every Australian senior, making Wild Secrets the first adult retailer to offer a senior citizens card discount.
The 20 per cent discount was promoted via a specially designed 16-page catalogue – gently introducing the topic in the privacy of the home – as well as mobile digital OOH, a targeted BVOD 30-second spot, and long-copy print ads in retirement living liftouts.
The results were phenomenal:
10 per cent lift in new website visits from customers 65+
19 per cent lift in transactions from customers 65+
32 per cent lift in revenue from customers 65+
And the “Better With Age” campaign demonstrated that targeting an overlooked audience on their terms can be extremely powerful – not only in terms of breaking stigma but in delivering strong results too. And most of all, that desire never retires.
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B&T's shining a light on industry folk prior to adland. Preference given to anyone purporting actual UFO abduction.
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