The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2019 winners

Wendy’s, John Lewis & Partners, Nike, Sony, and Skoda are among the many brands who took home the coveted Drum gong at The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2019 on November 27.

The black-tie event saw hundreds of social media gurus flock to The Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London to find out who’s pushing boundaries and cleverly using social as part of the overall marketing mix.

VMLY&R and fast-food chain Wendy’s snapped up the Grand Prix and Most Innovative Use of Social for Keeping Fortnite Fresh, respectively.

Gaming, the most lucrative entertainment medium, has become a global phenomenon with the widespread success of titles like Fortnite. It was a perfect opportunity, then, to target an audience with many brand advertising efforts.

However, we do live in an age of ad blockers, who are actively avoiding advertising by paying for premium ad-free services. The audience are hard to reach and it’s even harder to change their mind.

VMLY&R and Wendy’s decided that rather than interrupting entertainment with advertising, they wanted to make advertising the audience’s entertainment. Wendy’s playing Fortnite on Twitch acted as the Trojan horse for its key messaging, getting past the filter of what gamers see and hear by combining advertising and entertainment.

Bogdana Butnar, juror and experience strategy lead, Karamarama said: “Wendy’s and VMLY&R impressed through sheer courage and commitment to the impeccable delivery of their creative idea. Their choice of channels, the genuine understanding of the environments and people they were addressing and the fact that all ideas stayed true to the brand made for a perfect, award-winning combination.”

Another big win of the evening comes from the Chair’s Award. This year, Steve Hatch, vice president for northern Europe, Facebook lead the judging panel. Taking home this award is Manning Gottlieb OMD​ for John Lewis and Partners (JLP).

To reflect the importance of employees to JLP, in September 2018 the company embarked upon a rebrand and changed from ‘John Lewis’ to ‘John Lewis & Partners’. To communicate this shift, social media key in giving its partners a way to engage directly with customers.

Partners from fashion stylists to home designers were featured and celebrated in many paid social campaigns resulting in a positive business impact, delivering a unique and authentic brand voice with a proven increase in sales results.

On his winner, Hatch said: “Not only did John Lewis and Partners create connections between the business and its customers, it created connections between its people and it’s customers. It is a company that’s famed for putting its people first, the fact that they work in partnership. Not only did they work in partnership with its partners, but its consumers as well.

“They made an unprecedented step, empowered its teams, its people to go and create the work, the connections and build the buzz, that excitement and that deeper connection with its customers.”

Awarded both Most Effective Use of Video and Best Use of Live Video is Havas Media Group for NOS.

The biggest issue for media company, NOS was the bad perception Portuguese had of their broadband service. Although this changed with the introduction of the new 1GB technology, the people were not aware.

By bringing the Portuguese together with their love of music, this campaign included a cultural favourite, ‘’A minha casinha’’, that celebrates home, wherever that is.

Havas and NOS called upon 11 Portuguese artists, asking each to create their own cover of the song using the 1GB network.

Seven duet videos were produced with the artists and promoted on Facebook, Instagram stories and display. This was followed by each artist playing their song live for the first time, without streaming fails.

The judges said: “Havas displayed effective use of tech to allow artistic collaboration and clear use of launch phases with great incorporation on culture.”


Full list of winners

Grand Prix/ Most Innovative Use of Social

VMLY&R for Wendys


Chair’s Award

Manning Gottlieb OMD​ for John Lewis and Partners


Best Socially Responsible Initiative

Havas Media Group for Movimiento Superaçao


Social Buzz Rising Star

Ben Jeffries, Influencer


Community Manager of the Year

Annalisa Wilson, Things Unlimited


In-House Client Team of the Year

Innocent Drinks


Social Media Agency or Team of the Year



Most Effective Use of Twitter

Engine Creative and Content for HBO


Best Use of Facebook

Merkle EMEA for Superdrug


Best Use of Snapchat

Manning Gottlieb OMD for Sony Pictures UK


Most Effective Use of Group or Community

Ogilvy for ŠKODA UK


Most Effective Use of Imagery

Fifty Digital for IAAF – International Association of Athletics Federations


Most Effective Use of Video/ Best Use of Live Video

Havas Media Group for NOS


Largest ROI from a Social Media Campaign or Strategy

Ginga for Burger King


Low Budget

Twentysix for Yorkshire Tea


Best Use of Social Media Advertising

Lida for Christie’s


Best Social Media Customer Service Strategy/Campaign

Things Unlimited for Danone


Best FMCG/Consumer Goods Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Elvis for Mondelez


Best Travel/Leisure/Sports Social Media Strategy/Campaign

AnalogFolk for Nike


Best Public Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Great State for The Royal Marines


Best Retail/E-Commerce Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Ogilvy for Boots UK


Best Charity or Not For Profit Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home


Best Financial Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign



Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Barclaycard for Barclaycard Business


Best Automotive or Transport Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Rokkan for Cadillac


Best Integrated Campaign

Elvis for Mondelez


Best User-Generated Content

Manning Gottlieb OMD for John Lewis & Partners


Best Social Stunt

O2 UK Telefonica UK Limited for O2 (Telefonica UK)


Best Viral Campaign

Engine Creative & Content for HBO


Best Social Event

Hey Honey, Dept Agency B.V. & GoSpooky for JBL


Most Effective Use of a Chatbot

Cubaka & Manning Gottlieb OMD for Virgin Trains


This article was originally published in The Drum.


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