Brands Are Changing How They Create Solutions, Interpret Relevance, and Attain Growth: MEDIA INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS SHOW HOW…
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Brands Are Changing How They Create Solutions, Interpret Relevance, and Attain Growth: MEDIA INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS SHOW HOW…

Not only did this year represent a record number of entries in The Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media, but we are also recognizing more high-quality work than ever before in our sixteen-year history of honoring inspirational case studies from around the globe!

Shifts are occurring in how brands create solutions, interpret relevance, and attain results:

  • Innovative work must go beyond the traditional scope of “media solutions.”
  • Purpose and passion are essential to effective programs.
  • Doing good for people or the planet factors into more work from the beginning- not added as an afterthought.
  • While data and technology often take center stage, the role of content is critical to effective and efficient initiatives.
  • Meaningful, shared customer experiences are becoming THE barometer of success. 
  • More brands are considering the necessity of world-class standards.
  • Significant growth is always an indicator of resonating with any audience.

Click to See the List of All Winners

This year, four brands achieved the high honor of being named Grand Prix winners. Given that the Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media are based on a point-scoring system and all case studies complete equally across all classifications, there are no preset number of winners for any award designation. This year’s four Grand Prix are all quite distinct and remarkable for very different reasons tied to results. 

Grand Prix Winners

These four initiatives tied for the highest number of possible points.

  • Ally Financial – Changing the Game for Women’s Sports; Submitted by EssenceMediacom USA
  • Apollo – Everything Blurry; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Dacia – Hacking The Outrage: How to Sell Cars Online (Fast); Submitted by OMD Germany
  • L’Enfant Bleu – The Hidden Story; Submitted by Havas Play France

Ally Financial is changing the game for women’s sports by giving athletes the platform, investment, and respect they command. Women’s sports have been surging in popularity, yet they receive only 5% of sports media coverage. Ally unveiled a bold plan to spend equally on men’s and women’s sports within five years: The 50/50 Pledge.

As part of this pledge, Ally increased its media buy for the National Women’s Soccer League’s championship game and worked with CBS to move the game to its first-ever prime-time slot. This “primetime-ification” of women’s sports was wildly successful: Viewership was up 71% as it became the most-watched match in the league’s history.

The push for equity wasn’t a PR move or part of a broader corporate social responsibility program. It was also good business as women’s sports fans are incredibly loyal to the brands that sponsor them. Systemic change can’t be achieved alone, and so Ally stepped up and created a unique, invite-only club, in partnership with The Sports Innovation Lab. Named The Women’s Sports Club, this collective brings other brands, media platforms, and sports innovators into the fold to encourage their commitment to driving substantive change in women’s sports. 

Apollo, Germany’s largest chain of optical stores, wanted to respond to statistical evidence that a significant number of traffic accidents were attributable to poor eyesight, a factor often overlooked in road safety discussions. A recent study also revealed that 99.2 percent of respondents rated their eyesight as good to very good. However, 16.4 percent subsequently failed a vision test. This issue was exacerbated by Germany’s lack of mandatory health checks for drivers after the initial eyesight test during the driving license exam.

This shaped Apollo’s objectives and ensuing tactics in promoting eye health as a concern for everyone, including those in their 20s and 30s, as vision can deteriorate to a degree that becomes a danger in traffic. 

  • During peak traffic hours, drivers were surprised with an oversized foil installation used at red-lights. A slightly opaque foil made everything look blurry, while the second foil contained our message.
  • Inside city buses, foils blurred the side windows.
  • An Apollo spot aired just before the Austin Formula One race start, leading viewers to believe it was starting NOW. But then, everything went blurry.
  •  Apollo captivated the young gaming community with a specially created blur effect that could be triggered by both streamers and viewers.

These efforts motivated 71.3% more people to take action regarding their own vision compared to the baseline measurement. Consequently, Apollo recorded a substantial increase in appointment bookings of +45.4%, because the greatest danger in traffic is not seeing it.

Dacia stands for “essential but cool” among Germany cars. No unnecessary frills, no unnecessary costs. However, in spring 2023, a limited “Duster Mat Edition” of just 225 cars with matt paintwork and high-quality extras was launched, which completely bypassed the brand’s essential positioning.

For fans of luxurious equipment and high-end cars, Dacia is a no-go. The car, though, was heating up among Dacia fans. So, Dacia ignites an online argument between Dacia fans and Matthias Malmedie, TV-car-test-icon and influencer for high-end cars, who inspires almost 800,000 car fans with topics like luxury, tuning and horsepower. Dacia fans dislike him, but he’s going to road test the new Dacia limited edition. (You can’t get more inflammatory than that.)

The “Clash of Communities” brings the fronts together in a Facebook livestream; moderated by Dacia Germany’s head of marketing, Marc Osseux, and Matthias Malmedie. We live in the attention economy. And what polarizes get the attention. 

Instead of spending loads of advertising money in push communications, the communities provided the pull themselves. On the day of the livestream, the brawlers reserved 121 of the 225 limited-edition Duster Mats or 54%. Over the course of the weekend, 163 Duster Mats pass into the happy hands of the now reconciled Dacia and Malmedie fans representing 72% of cars produced. Matthias Malmedie’s subsequent test drive video on Germany’s famous Nürburgring racetrack is viewed over 750,000 times after the campaign – and makes it to second place on YouTube Trends. This is how an outrage hack sells cars in a weekend and makes a lasting effect.

L’Enfant Bleu is a French association that fights against child abuse, and is now tackling new challenges, especially on social media. Unfortunately, 50% of the photos posted on child pornography forums are pictures taken by parents and publicly shared on their social media feeds. This practice, known as ‘sharenting’—a contraction of the words ‘share’ and ‘parenting’—is not without risks.

L’Enfant Bleu addressed this new risk by creating The Hidden Story, the first children’s book that secretly alerts parents to the dangers of sharenting. When parents read the book with their child, they discover together the cute story of Emma’s teddy bear and its shared social media photos. The book then invites parents to re-read the story from a new perspective, mentally replacing the teddy bear photo with that of their own child.

Even the most influential parents publicly admitted that they were unaware of the danger of their actions. The French Prime Minister also engaged in the debate, and a few weeks later, France became the first country in the world to pass a law ensuring the protection of children’s image rights. Because this problem knows no borders, w L’Enfant Bleu has already started distributing the book worldwide in the hopes that more governments will align with France’s leading initiative.

Special Platinum Citations

Two case studies stood out as special Platinum winners with exceptional scores– or number tallies that are greater than Gold Winners, but just below Grand Prix level.

  • Barbie (Warner Bros. Discovery UK & Ireland) – Pink Sky Thinking; Submitted by PHD UK
  • Elections Quebec – Reverse the Trend; Submitted by Cossette Media Canada

Barbie is a genre-defying movie– so in the UK, Warner Bros. set out to make it feel like an unmissable pop culture event for EVERYONE. As the movie’s trailer says “If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.”

 The movie – and its trademark Pink – exploded into UK popular culture:

  • On UK streets, the nation was teased with unbranded billboards that only featured Barbie’s trademark pink and the movie’s release date.
  • British transport icons were “Barbie=fied” by creating pink “Black cabs” and pink sparkly buses that are famously red.
  • People could even become Barbie or Ken in real-life (and share it on social media) by stepping into life-sized Barbie boxes across the UK.
  • In music, Barbie soundtrack producer Mark Ronson ran a live MTV TikTok broadcast with the cast and took over the UK’s biggest dance radio station Kiss – rebranding the station in pink and running hourly Barbie playlists on-air.
  • And in retail, real-life takeovers on the high street turned glass shopping center elevators into Barbie boxes.

By creating a pop culture phenomenon, brands including Google, Not on the High Street, and Unilever then started marketing their own spontaneous Barbie-fied moments around the movie’s release – further amplifying the cultural impact of the campaign at no cost to Warner Bros. Barbie had the highest UK launch week awareness of ANY Warner Bros. release in its 100-year history. The Barbie movie went on to become Warner Bros.’ biggest UK box office release EVER, even exceeding the performance of British institutions like the Harry Potter franchise.

Élections Québec needed to address the continuing decline in voter turnout, especially among young voters.  With Cossette, they introduced the communication platform – “Let’s reverse the trend. Let’s all vote.” While many young adults are disengaged from the traditional political system, they are highly involved in sharing their opinions and beliefs on social platforms. Social media became the backbone of the campaign with intriguing, humorous messages from ‘non’ influences, so the young people become advocates for voting through their massive sharing.

People started talking about the campaign—a lot. There was unprecedented media coverage for a Quebec election and never-before-seen engagement on our social platforms. The majority of 18-35-year-olds admitted the campaign influenced them to vote. Overall voter turnout showed that the decline stopped. As Radio Canada commented, “Creativity and daring for the good of democracy.” 


This is the greatest number of GOLD winners we have ever named! These remarkable winners, with their inspirational and effective initiatives, are the at the heart of moving marketing forward. The Internationalist will profile each of these cases in the coming months.

  • AB InBev – Stella & The Bear; Submitted by Starcom USA
  • Air Canada – Vibes from Down South; Submitted by Cossette Media Canada
  • ALDI – Nur Nur Natur; Submitted by PHD Germany
  • ALDI – Expensive? Nope, ALDI! Submitted by PHD Germany
  • Ally Financial – The Milestone Initiative; Submitted by EssenceMediacom USA
  • Alpine – AI Checking; Submitted by Havas Play France
  • Audible – Audible Breakthrough; Submitted by Wavemaker USA
  • Avianca – Using Machine Learning for Real-Time Bidding Optimization; Submitted by Globant Create
  • Canadian Tire – Show Me the Money; Submitted by Touché! Canada
  • Carrefour – Crafting Customer-Centric Connections, One Data-Driven Campaign at a Time; Submitted by Arena Media Spain
  • ClimatePartner – GreenGRP; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • CUPRA – Data-Driven Dealerships; Submitted by PHD Germany
  • Dacia – Hacking The Outrage: How to Sell Cars Online (Fast); Submitted by OMD Germany
  • Domino’s – Modeling Media Playbook for Growth; Submitted by Havas Media Network India
  • Dove (Unilever) – #TurnYourBack; Submitted by Mindshare USA
  • eBay – Twiggy; Submitted by EssenceMediacom USA
  • F/A/Q Health Foundation – UpdateHIV – A campaign to rebrand HIV; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Foundation to Combat Antisemitism – #StandUptoJewishHate; Submitted by Mindshare USA and Wunderman Thompson
  • Gran Centenario Tequila – Passion You Can Taste: Gran Centenario at the World Cup; Submitted by Havas Media Network USA
  • Hiki – #AutisticOutLoud; Submitted by Mindshare USA
  • Hinz&Kunzt / Hamburger Kunsthalle – The Homeless Gallery; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Hogwarts Legacy (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) – Hogwarts Legacy; Submitted by PHD UK
  • HORNBACH – SquareMedia m2; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS German
  • HSBC – VIBA; Submitted by PHD International
  • JBL – JBL Peaks on Peaks “Shred The Runway” Submitted by Havas Media Network USA
  • Knorr (Unilever) – Eat More Veggies Feat. Sing my Recipe; Submitted by PHD Germany
  • Long COVID Europe – Long COVID Mode; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany | Saint Elmo´s Germany
  • McDonald’s – Let’s Play McDelivery; Submitted by OMD Germany
  • McDonald’s – Shirin David x McDonald’s: We’re Lovin’ It; Submitted by OMD Germany x Scholz & Friends
  • McDonald’s – Turning Happy Meal into Family Soul Food; Submitted by Starcom Taiwan
  • McDonald’s – Grimace’s Birthday Gets Out of Hand; Submitted by Starcom USA
  • Motatos – Inflation-Targeting; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Novo Nordisk – Thick Skin; Submitted by Wavemaker USA
  • Old El Paso (General Mills) – Mess Free Hero; Submitted by Mindshare USA
  • Orange – Phone2Gold; Submitted by Havas Play France
  • Pampers (Procter & Gamble) – Pampers Blowout Barrier; Submitted by Carat USA
  • Pedigree – Adoptable Playlist; Submitted by EssenceMediacom USA
  • PENNY – Penny From The Block; Submitted by OMD Germany
  • Ring – More German Goes Not; Submitted by OMD Germany x Grabarz & Partner
  • Scotiabank – Hockey Jersey; Submitted by PHD Canada
  • Sico – Honoring Quebec; Submitted by PHD Montreal
  • Tyson Foods – Impact Index; Submitted by Mindshare USA
  • Uber One – Good as Gold; Submitted by EssenceMediacom
  • WWF Germany – Bee Radio; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • ZDF – The Swarm is Coming; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany


  • Abbott – Smart Lunch Box: Making a Healthy Diet Easier and Happier; Submitted by Spark Foundry Taiwan
  • Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight) – The Mad Science Lab; Submitted by Wavemaker USA
  • Ben & Jerry’s (Unilever) – NIce Cream, Nice Stream! Submitted by PHD Germany
  • Bridgestone – Highway Illusion; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Middle East
  • Canadian Tire – Motomaster: Getting You There for Moments that Matter; Submitted by Touché! Canada
  • Castrol – Castrol’s 360 Walmart Garage; Submitted by Mindshare USA
  • Growney – THE RISE; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Kia Netherlands – Kia Outdoor Legends – A Gen Z Gaming Experience; Submitted by Havas Play Netherlands
  • McDonald’s – Happy Ramadan; Submitted by OMD Germany x Scholz & Friends
  • McDonald’s – Redefining Love; Submitted by Starcom USA
  • Mercedes Benz – The Chameleon Stunt; Submitted by OMD Germany x Edgar Ambient Media
  • NIKON – Golden Billboard; Submitted by MEDIAPLUS Germany
  • Philips Healthy Living Labs & Levis – Cross-Brand Exploration; Submitted by OMD China
  • REWE – Data Beats Flyers: Local Offers on the Big Screen; Submitted by OMD Germany x AdAlliance
  • Shea Moisture – We Are Hair; Submitted by PHD Canada
  • Vital Farms – Vital Farms Put an Egg on It Campaign; Submitted by dentsu X USA
  • Volkswagen – AUTOPIA; Submitted by PHD Germany


Many winners will be automatically entered into The Internationalist’s Marketing Makes a World of Difference™ program given their purpose-driven themes and results. Others will be part of The Internationalist’s Earth Day celebration of adverising, which showcases those brands that are changing consumer behavior regarding the planet.


The goal of The Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media is to honor great case studies that bring results, while highlighting the significant shifts occurring in the industry as marketers grapple with tech innovation and purposeful strategies. More than 400 cases were submitted from 27 different locations worldwide. Winners represent the top 15% of all entry scores. Award designations of bronze, silver, gold are often very close on a point-scoring basic, and generally the scope of the project or the type of results play an additional role in determining the ranking.

Several trends emerged from this year’s winners:

  • There’s greater innovation around music, eSports, virtual simulation, gaming, and artificial reality—perhaps as we continue to spend time with screens or work from home.
  • As Purposeful marketing matters more, the Awards underscore a recognition of greater responsibility around both sustainability and social issues.
  • There’s huge growth in the effects of data on personalized targeting and the need for artificial intelligence to help ensure that messages are not only relevant but occur in the right moment.
  • Notions of “media” (and what may considered media) are changing…. As are the costs associated with media. Some case studies underscore how they have spent little or literally nothing on media. 


This is the sixteenth year of the competition, which attracts case studies from all over the world. Entries compete against each other as examples of innovative strategies, solutions, and results.

These awards are different. Unlike many competitions that cite the best in a single category, The Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media enable all entries to be judged as examples of worldwide best practices; winners are those with the highest point scores based on five considerations. Moreover, judging is anonymous through online forms and by marketers who are part of The Internationalist community or ANA members.