B&T Awards The Work: Best Direct Response Campaign Rings Up The Shortlist

B&T Awards The Work: Best Direct Response Campaign Rings Up The Shortlist

You can have all the brand building, life-affirming, strategically brilliant campaigns you like, but when the rubber hits the road, sometimes you really just want to see the cash registers ringing! Enter the Direct Response campaign, not always sexy, but these shortlisted entries have one thing in common, they got the sale!

We’d love to see you in the night. 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.

Secure your table now!

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the entire short lists for the 2023 B&T Awards here and here.

Catch up also on the B&T Awards shortlisted work here:

Below are the finalists with each heading showing the name of the agency, the name of the campaign and then the client footing the bill. The words are as submitted by the entrant.

Akcelo, Mates Make It Maccas, McDonald’s

McDonald’s – “Mates Make It Maccas”

During a nationwide labour shortage and the toughest Australian employers’ market in over 50 years, McDonald’s Australia needed to recruit a record 14,000 new crew members in just four months AND overcome young Aussies’ negative preconceptions of what it means to be working at “Macca’s”.

Based on our insight that people make the workplace, we launched ‘Mates make it Macca’s’ – an unmistakably Australian concept powered by local crew insights from around the country. From their morning routines and inside jokes, to their lunchtime hacks and daily banter, we brought to life hundreds of real mateship moments across film, OOH, TikTok, Snap, meta & in-restaurant media, each execution bespoke for channel, all leading to a gamified application based on the legendary Burger Wrap Challenge, to fast track hires.

‘Mates make it Macca’s’ generated over 366 local and national broadcast news stories for a 21m earned reach. Over 352K Aussies played the mobile game. Applications were 250% above target, with a 21% increased conversion rate. All in all, the campaign helped Macca’s hire 26,311 new crew in the four-month window, smashing campaign targets and proving once and for all that burgers and fries don’t make it Macca’s. Mates do.


Bastion, Rental Relief, Sixt

The challenge:

Australia is in the midst of a rental crisis. Rental availabilities are sitting at record lows leading to many landlords hiking up prices, pushing renters to look for more affordable housing elsewhere.

SIXT, one of Australia’s largest car, truck and van rental companies who are known for going the extra mile for their customers, wanted to help those tenants who had no option but to move and offer them some form of relief.

The thinking:

In direct response to the crisis, we wanted to find a way to genuinely help Aussies who were being forced out of their homes by rent increases.

We knew that affordability was at the heart of the problem and so our strategy was to make sure that affordability sat at the heart of our solution.

The idea:

SIXT RENTAL RELIEF. A dynamic discount that matched people’s rental increases. Every day, SIXT’s rate on moving trucks and vans would decrease by the same percentage the customer’s rent has increased, facilitating a more affordable move at a time when cost of living pressures are crippling much of the population. So Aussie renters could finally tell landlords to TRUCK OFF – the campaign line that formed the basis of all paid, owned, earned and shared activity.

The outcome:

During the campaign period, rental prices weren’t the only thing to go up. SIXT’s moving van rentals went up by 39% while truck rentals went up by 24%, demonstrating how a direct response to Australia’s rental crisis, could make a direct impact on the ‘movers’ industry.

The campaign also received 6.8 million impressions and 888K engagements on Facebook as well as 7.2 million views and 555K engagements on TikTok and garnered huge positive sentiment for the brand.

BMF, The Reluctant Shanty, UNHCR

In the lead up to World Refugee Day (20th 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 is 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.

CHEP Network, Reverse Auction, Samsung

**We helped a Samsung sale steal attention on the biggest sales day of the year.**

As the biggest and busiest retail moment of the year, Black Friday is also the most expensive from a media perspective – in 2021, Samsung’s CPMs were 400% higher than average.

We flipped Black Friday eCommerce on its head, leveraging an age-old sales mechanic with a twist: Samsung gave customers the power to decide the price they’d pay for its most popular products. We called it Samsung Reverse Auctions.

Unlike a regular auction, each Reverse Auction began with products listed at full recommended retail price (RRP). These prices would then drop back in increments until all items in the auctions had been bid for, or the price reached $1 – whichever happened first.

The campaign was a huge success, stealing attention nationwide and driving 120% of our target for site traffic, up 285% YoY. We leveraged hype generated through the Reverse Auctions and data from the 51,500 (+203% vs. target) registered bidders to drive growth in online traffic and Black Friday sales.

Fuelled by our performance marketing activity, acquired leads massively exceeded Samsung’s sales expectations, with 515% YoY increase in eDM attributed sales. A modest incremental media spend of $186k saw sales increase by $1.34 million, improving YoY ROAS by 196%.

Overall, the campaign delivered a 270% increase in Black Friday revenue compared to 2022, drove a juicy 360% mROI, and goes down as Samsung’s most successful Black Friday yet.

CHEP Network, Flipvertising, Samsung

How do you turn branded content into a game that GenZ, the most ad-skeptical generation, want to play? By using data and retargeting in a creative way. That’s the story of Flipvertising.

As we noticed more and more conversation on Reddit and other platforms about algorithms and how to avoid or subvert them – we used this insight into emerging behaviour to power an entirely new style of data-driven direct advertising that felt very much the zeitgeist.

By ‘flipping’ the traditional targeted advertising model on its head, we created a competitive ‘internet sport’ where punters actively sought to get targeted by Samsung ads to win the new Galaxy Z Flip4 phone.

To find the winning ad, clue-hunters searched for three specific terms via Google that linked to our films. At first glance, each film was an amusing product demo, but also contained a clue hinting at the next search term to enter the retargeting pool. Whoever watched all three films went into the final retargeting pool and was served the winning ad as a YouTube pre-roll.??The first person to find the ad per day, won a new Galaxy Z Flip4.

With such a technical, data-led execution, understanding the impact of extremely small targeting pools whilst ensuring the data integrity and technical requirements to ensure ads fired correctly within the timeframe was an incredible feat of data engineering.

Ultimately in flipping the technology to serve a single advert, we found an incredible creative use of data whilst sending our audience on a free-wheeling exploration of UGC content that celebrated the new Z Flip4 features.

Through a campaign built on knowledge of ad targeting but executed very differently from the norm, we gave our audience the opportunity to experience more content than any traditional targeted campaign could ever have achieved.

Havas Media, How Lilydale got the free-range chicken out of the friend zone, Lilydale

Lilydale, a premium Australian poultry brand dedicated to raising higher welfare free-range chickens, was stuck in the ‘friend zone’.

In 2023, Aussies are consuming more chicken then every before. In fact, a staggering 49kg per person per year. It’s safe to say that chicken has surpassed beef and become Australia’s #1 source of protein.

In other words, Australia’s reliable best friend.

Despite this, Lilydale faced a daunting forecast – sales were projected to plateau with increased competition from cheaper private label brands. When it comes to proteins, Aussies were spoilt for choice, presenting a formidable challenge for the Lilydale brand.

To combat this, media was tasked with one key objective: To stall the decline by driving above average sales.

There was one problem. Aussies had 3 or 4 recipes in their repertoire – their ‘go to’ recipes and by default limited occasions to cook with Lilydale. Our task was to excite and inspire them to cook with Lilydale in more ways than one and create more occasions to showcase their dedication in the kitchen.

Using data from YouGov, we uncovered that 62% of protein shoppers enjoyed the act of cooking. They were, what we call, “Scratch Cooks” and we wanted Lilydale to be the chosen brand to bring their dedication in the kitchen to life. To do this we had to spotlight Lilydale’s “Dedication You Can Taste” creative platform and align this to their passion for cooking. This insight paved the way for two key strategic pillars to achieve our sales growth objective.

We connected with consumers at the right time with the right message, amplifying Lilydale’s taste and culinary credentials.

The business and media results were even better than what we expected. We saw a significant uplift and managed to drive growth in a mass commoditised market.

Howatson+Company, 35+, Lord Nelson Brewery

How the hell do you entice drinkers to choose a 35-year-old beer, when everyone around them is out-shouting and out-spending them? You show up where they choose their next drink, then tell them they can’t have it.

Established in 1841, The Lord Nelson is Australia’s oldest surviving craft brewery and pub hotel. For thirty-five years, its crown jewel has been the house favourite: a sessionable pale ale called Three Sheets. But with today’s proliferation of craft and evolution of taste, the beer was struggling to stand out and sales were waning.

Amidst the category’s obsession with the next best thing, Three Sheets had a clear task: make consistency cool. With a bugger-all budget, Lord Nelson boldly doubled-down on a strategy that would speak to someone, but not everyone, and concentrate its efforts where drinkers switched: at the point of purchase.

The result was 35+. Across pubs and bottle shops, we changed the recommended legal drinking age of Three Sheets from 18, to those as old as the recipe itself: 35. A disruptive, provocative tactic that elevated the craft in the beer, by making it unavailable to those who would not appreciate it.

The strategic idea has given Three Sheets a fighting chance against a category that it helped build. All while delivering an ROI of 3.66. Delicious.

Paper + Spark, Plan for Covid, MSD Australia

COVID-19 was a rollercoaster ride for Australians. From fear to confidence, to frustration about the slow vaccination rollout, to relief about high vaccination uptake, to a sense of helplessness about the dozens of at-risk Australians who were dying every day. Until MSD launched their oral antiviral to our most vulnerable 55+ citizens.

Paper + Spark created an omnichannel, Australia-wide consumer campaign ‘Plan for Covid’ to build awareness of Oral Antivirals and through a light-hearted insight-driven creative platform encouraged those who tested positive to call their GP immediately to ask for Oral Antivirals.

Through a partnership with healthtech platform HealthEngine, we closed the loop ensuring those isolating could receive a telehealth GP call, e-script dispensary and delivery, and get back to health quickly.

As a result of our campaign, in its first full year listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the MSD oral antiviral registered an astonishing 8,526 per cent growth without any other support, outpacing its rivals at breakneck speed and protecting our most vulnerable, and continues to be the market leader.

REA Group, realEstimate™, REA Group

The Australian property market began to slow from September 2022 onwards, with fewer new properties available for sale. Consecutive interest rate rises, coupled with inflation and cost of living uncertainty, has seen consumers delay their plans to sell. These challenging conditions fueled a decline in seller confidence.

In response, realestate.com.au collaborated with Fiftyfive5 to conduct qualitative and quantitative research into key market segments, with a particular focus on understanding sellers and what was holding them back from listing their properties. The objective was to identify ways to inspire confidence in property owners and help to stimulate the property market.

The research showed that the top barrier for sellers was understanding what their property was worth. The data revealed a clear opportunity. There was unmet demand for better and more accessible information for property owners, which contrasted against low awareness for online property valuations as a category.

This informed the strategy to position realestate.com.au as the destination for property owners seeking to understand the value of their properties. The aim was to connect with potential sellers by developing a clear product name and value proposition for realestate.com.au’s automated valuation model (AVM), an existing product which gives property owners a free and instant estimate of their homes value.
In partnership with creative agency Brand+Story, various product names and positions were developed and tested through additional consumer research. The preferred option was realEstimate™, positioned as Australia’s #1 property value estimate.

In a 16-week timeframe, a new product branding solution was developed, supported by a multi-channel, national marketing campaign to launch realEstimate™ to market. In support, significant improvements were made across the user experience, including web and app updates.

Launching in February 2023, the realEstimate™ campaign exceeded expectations and outperformed all objectives, delivering immediate impact against both business and brand health metrics.

Special, Middle Seat Lottery, Virgin Australia

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.

This critically meant taking on the incredibly difficult task of innovating around the airline experience itself – despite huge fiscal, regulatory, and logistical challenges.
To make this investment worthwhile, we needed an innovation that would really get people to sit up and engage with our new brand mission. So, we set about tackling the universally recognised pain point in the airline experience, the middle seat.

The Middle Seat Lottery was a huge success. It drove over 600k VA app downloads, signed up thousands of Velocity Frequent Flyers, and got everyone talking! As the centrepiece of our ‘Bring On Wonderful’ campaign, it also contributed to huge business and brand gains.
The significant effort and energy involved in meaningfully innovating around the blah & bland airline experience paid off.

The Royals, Better with age, Wild Secrets

At a time when sex positivity is on the rise, ageing and sexual pleasure remains a no-go area. People aged over 65s 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 1 in 3 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% 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, all with a strong direct response mechanism in place.

The results were phenomenal:

  • 10% lift in new website visits from customers 65+
  • 19% lift in transactions from customers 65+
  • 32% 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.

Vidico, Mo Like A Pro, Movember

Changing the face of men’s health one moustache at a time

510,000 men lose their lives to suicide globally, every year.

Movember dedicates November as a crucial month for promoting men’s health, prevention, and awareness. They spark meaningful conversations about mental health, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and other conditions that are often overlooked.

For their 2022 campaign, Movember approached Vidico to produce a video series titled ‘Mo Like A Pro’, encouraging fundraising participants to download their app and participate in activities. The videos gained global popularity on various social media platforms, amassing an impressive number of nearly four million unique views and 35,500 reactions on TikTok and Instagram.

The videos embrace the informal, textured, and layered aesthetic of Movember. Movember is portrayed as more than just a cause; it is a community comprising of everyday heroes. Each video encourages viewers to take the next step, whether that was downloading the app, signing up, or starting a team.

The 2022 Movember campaign triumphed with resounding success:

– 15,000 events were organized, spreading their impactful message across the globe.
– A staggering 330,000 individuals installed the Movember App.
– The video deliverables were localized across US, UK and Australian markets
– The community collectively ran and walked an impressive total of 107 laps of the Earth.
– 12 tonnes of moustache hair sprouted across the globe, further echoing the immense support for this meaningful cause.

At the core of the success was a commitment to authenticity and genuine engagement. Movember’s grungy, textured aesthetic, their raw, unfiltered content, and commitment to being real and telling it straight resonated with their audience. The campaign didn’t just change faces; it touched lives.


WiredCo. & The Agency Hut, Digitally Hacking Australia’s Superbowl, Pizza Hut


Faced with the challenge of growing and protecting your brand, would you play it safe? Or be brave and socially hack Australia’s biggest sporting event?

For brands, there’s something awesomely attractive, yet fierce about State of Origin; after all, it’s Australia’s Super Bowl. But for any brand brave enough to attempt a slice of the action without paying a hefty fee to the NRL, there’s scrum sized consequences.

That’s why you probably can’t name many brands who’ve tried or succeeded?

We didn’t pay a cent, but that didn’t stop Pizza Hut Australia, WiredCo. and The Agency Hut from daring to socially hack Australia’s biggest sporting event, setting some serious records and delivering Pizza Hut’s highest ever sales.


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