Ad Age Names BtoB Best Award Winners for 2015

A Look at the Finest Work Across All Media

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Branded app

Winner: Avon
Agency: SapientNitro
Campaign: "Avon Mobile Brochure 2.0"

With its colorful and lush photography and engagingly presented utility, Avon's branded app from SapientNitro was the clear standout in this year's entries. The short but entertaining and informative film clearly showcases for home-sales representatives how the app can make their jobs easier while staying true to the brand, which stands for beauty.

Runner-up: Marvin Windows
Agency: gyro
Campaign: "Control without compromise"

A window's just a window, right? Wrong. Marvin's app for commercial products promises to make clear for dealers the distinction between three of its sub-brands. It does so with a clean, simply presented demonstration complete with beauty shots of products that are definitely not just windows.

Honorable mention: Svitzer
Agency: Cross-Border Communications
Campaign: "Shipshape"

Worker safety is necessary but training can be terribly boring. The "Shipshape" game created by Cross-Border Communications is anything but and is miles ahead of training films of the past. This lively little app beckons users to learn safety in a way that's fun and keeps them from tuning out.

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Direct mail: Single

Winner: Case Construction
Agency: Slack and Co.
Campaign: "Tomahawk VIP invitation"

Case Construction made a big impact at ConExpo, the construction industry's largest event, by sending its target audience VIP invitations to a Kip Moore concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The direct-mail campaign, created by Slack and Co., included a high-quality custom wooden case containing a leather tomahawk, symbolizing Case's headquarters in Tomahawk, Wis.

Runner-up: Castrol
Agency: Stein IAS
Campaign: "BioTac MP"

To demonstrate how its BioTac MP marine grease is friendly to the environment, Castrol sent users a bean-growing kit in a Castrol can, complete with a printed insert that drove users to a website with a video showing the benefits of BioTac MP. The campaign, created by Stein IAS, was clever and relevant to the product.

Honorable mention: Wheatland Tube
Agency: The MX Group
Campaign: "Talking Pipes"

Wheatland Tubes, which manufactures mechanical tubing, sent users a box containing tubes with a friendly, personalized message ("Hi James, we want to work for you!"). Prospects could set up an appointment to talk to a live sales rep if interested. A fun and engaging effort.

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Direct mail: Multi

Winner: TD Ameritrade
Agency: gyro New York
Campaign: "Olympics mailer"

TD Ameritrade wanted to inspire its target audience of financial advisers, so its agency gyro New York created mailings featuring the stories of Olympic athletes, tied to the 2014 Winter Olympics. The accordion-style foldout mailings helped illustrate how small steps can result in big achievement.

Runner-up: Dow AgroSciences
Agency: Bader Rutter
Campaign: "Surveil Co-Pack Herbicide"

To illustrate how out of control weeds can get, Bader Rutter created postcards and emails with images of "weed beards" growing on farmers' faces. It supplemented the mailing with a shaving kit and an invitation to learn more about Dow AgroSciences' Surveil Co-Pack soybean herbicide product and how it helps control weeds. Also included was an etch-a-sketch "weed-beard" kit.

Honorable mention: Canada Post
Agency: McMillan
Campaign: "Bounce Me"

Canada Post was experiencing a decline in the use of direct mail, so it sent marketers in Canada a direct-mail piece containing a bouncing ball, with an invitation to create a video with the ball and post it online. The winning video got a donation to a charity of choice. McMillan created a unique way to highlight the effectiveness of direct mail as part of an integrated campaign.

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Winner: Time Warner Cable Media
Agency: Kernel (in-house)
Campaign: "Tier 3 Automotive"

This persuasive campaign from Time Warner Cable Media to auto dealers puts forward a series of compelling reasons to buy its service, using fun, clever, graphics; a personalized letter; a fact-packed sheet on women buyers and what they watch; and fast-paced video that demonstrates how TWCM's multiple screens can help dealers move cars off the lot.

Runner-up: Ariba Inc.
Agency: York & Chapel
Campaign: "Adventures in E-commerce"

The cleverness of this campaign is in creating characters that potential users can relate to, such as Arlene, Marsha and Sam—composites of potential product users. The drawings and profiles lure the reader in and the clearly designed and readable before-and-after scenarios offer a strong call to action for Ariba.

No honorable mention

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Integrated campaign more than $200K

Winner: GE
Agency: BBDO New York
Campaign: "Childlike Imagination"

In a whimsical 60-second TV spot, BBDO makes industrial equipment such as jet engines, hospital machines and locomotives come to life through the eyes of a child whose mom works for GE. To get its employees engaged, GE created an online video of employees' kids talking about their parents' work—all showing the human, imaginative element of GE's b-to-b business.

Runner-up: Adobe
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: "Click, Baby. Click"

This hilarious 60-second TV spot for Adobe Marketing Cloud shows just how badly marketing data can be misinterpreted—from overblown sales reports to a run on timber—all because a baby is frantically clicking the buy button for encyclopedias on a tablet. The smart campaign—which asks the question, "Do you know what your marketing is doing?"—launched with a big splash at Advertising Week in New York.

Honorable mention: Dell
Agency: Y&R New York
Campaign: "Beginnings"

In this reflective campaign including TV, online and print, Dell recognizes the humble beginnings from which innovative businesses such as Skype, Shutterfly and got their start, from one-room apartments to basements and garages, and Dell's role in helping these businesses become successful. Y&R's feel-good TV spot ends with a look back at Dell's start in a college dorm room.

Integrated campaigns less than 200K

Winner: Cisco
Agency: gyro SF
Campaign: "The Internet of Everything"

To introduce Cisco's Network Convergence System to service providers, gyro SF created a dynamic campaign around Cisco's launch event, featuring visually arresting online ads, a launch video, humorous YouTube videos and colorful billboards. The campaign, which combines images of technology with those of real people, shows how an enhanced network can power trillions of transactions, while providing human connections.

Runner-up: Danfoss
Agency: Cross-Border Communications
Campaign: "Innovation Transferred"

Danforth uses compelling 3-D images and clever copy in this campaign to showcase its Micro Plate heat exchangers. Agency Cross-Border Communications created visuals of faces, footprints, buildings and other images emerging from plates of metal pins—demonstrating innovation in heat transfer technology.

Honorable mention: Sage
Agency: Doremus SF
Campaign: "Work From Here"

Sage shows how business users can work from anywhere—a park bench, a cab, the beach, even the zoo—using its mobile business apps. In creating the upbeat campaign, Doremus SF used everyday scenes and people in its TV, online and radio ads to communicate that no matter where you go, you can "work from here."

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Winner: IBM
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Singapore
Campaign: "60 years in Singapore"

What better way for a company to demonstrate its forward thinking than by creating a time machine into the future? IBM's delightful microsite traces its 60-year history in Singapore by looking forward to what life will be like there up until 2072.

Runner-up: Oakley
Agency: Piston
Campaign: "Be the Shaun"

Will the real Shaun White stand up? To get sales associates jazzed about a line of glasses endorsed by the snowboarder and skateboarder, Oakley created a fun microsite allowing them to do their best imitation of the Flying Tomato by uploading photos and video and collecting points.

Honorable mention: OwnerIQ
Agency: in-house
Campaign: "#TBT Digital Yearbook"

For an in-store marketing company that's all about back-to-school, what could be a more clever and targeted creative approach than posting actual grade school pictures of "Familiar faces?" It definitely draws you in and is targeted at the right audience with the message.

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Winner: Juniper Networks
Agency: John McNeil Studio
Campaign: "Deception Force"

Data security is hardly a sexy subject, but John McNeil Studio turned it into an exciting mobile game with "Deception Force," convincingly styled on a first-person shooter video game. Users learn about Juniper Networks while "saving" the world from data theft—and sharing their results on Facebook.

Agency: gyro
Campaign: "Get in Front of Your Customer"

Gyro's campaign uses digital and mobile to show auto dealers how they can reinsert themselves into the car-buying process even when prospects bypass them with digital and mobile. It engagingly showcases a handy mobile app for dealers to do business better and demonstrates its point by portraying a dealer literally sitting at a buyer's kitchen table while the buyer is researching cars on a tablet.

No honorable mention

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Winner: IBM
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

The developers IBM wanted to reach weren't interested in seeing ads about super computer Watson and its ability to combine complex ideas. But when Ogilvy took a food truck to SXSWi and wooed developers with algorithmically created recipes, thousands flocked to eat Watson's exotic dishes and learn more.

Runner-up: Singapore Economic Development Board
Agency: The Secret Little Agency
Campaign: "The Coffee Connector"

A clever coffee machine deployed at a conference acted as a LinkedIn-like lead generator by introducing potential networkers over coffee; the beverage was dispensed two cups at a time, with personalized coffee sleeves and a message to the business execs that the coffee was brought to them by Singapore, a great place to do business.

Honorable Mention: GE
Agency: BBDO
Campaign: "Brilliant Machines Rock"

To bring to life GE's "Brilliant Machines" campaign to engage consumers in the story of the industrial internet—no easy task—BBDO created a dramatically different kind of brilliant machine in the form of a rock band made up of robots that performed a real rock concert in New York City.

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Online campaign

Winner: Accenture
Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day
Campaign: "Accenture Digital"

TBWA\Chiat\Day shows the power of digital in a series of imaginative ads for Accenture Digital. Dandelions that light up with neon panels, moths flocking to a smartphone screen, and trees connected with futuristic bridges showcase the promise of technology. The ads drive users to a microsite where they can learn how Accenture helps businesses improve performance through digital strategy.

Runner-up: FM Global
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Campaign: "Resilience"

To deliver the theme of "resilience" for property-insurance company FM Global, Ogilvy & Mather create online videos, banner ads and a microsite featuring bold, energetic images from sporting events such as boxing, soccer and track. The high-impact campaign shows how companies can be resilient in the areas of risk management, loss protection and other property needs.

Honorable mention: Level 3
Agency: gyro SF
Campaign: "Own the Journey, Own the Cloud"

Gyro SF created visually impactful online banners, a landing page, an email nurture program and a white paper to show CIOs how they can "Own the Journey, Own the Cloud" using Level 3 network solutions. A multilayered blue horizontal streak—symbolizing the network—connects cityscapes to the clouds, providing a sense of movement and connectivity.

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Online video

Winner: GE
Agency: BBDO
Campaign: "World Firsts"

These gorgeous mini-documentaries brought to life the positive effect GE's technology has on people around the world, from Japan's "Jet Ski Doctor" bringing mobile ultrasound equipment to remote areas to underwater turbines using the moon to help power Scottish Islands.

Runner-up: O-I
Agency: Doremus
Campaign: "Glass Is Life"

A viewer could almost taste the cold Left Hand Brewery beer and smooth Jack Daniels pouring from the glass bottles. These videos conveyed to businesses how glass can truly enhance a consumer's experience.

Honorable mention: TD Ameritrade Institutional
Agency: gyro
Campaign: "Olympics"

This video celebrates the little things that make a big impact on lives, highlighting the childhood years of Olympic athletes as they grow into word-class competitors. The work is meant to inspire financial advisers as they branch out on their own or grow their businesses.

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Winner: Univision
Agency: DigitasLBi
Campaign: "Spanish Gets You More Univision" Truck

To call attention to its deep relationship with the growing U.S. Hispanic population, Univision took a fresh approach to outdoor advertising by parking a food truck outside the offices of key media buyers. The truck offered delicious traditional Spanish dishes via a Spanish-only menu annotated with phonetic pronunciations, driving home the campaign theme: "Spanish Gets You More."

Runner-up: Cisco
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: "Connected Billboard"

An internet-connected billboard placed on Route 101 near San Francisco International Airport was actually multiple billboards in one. Using speed sensors, it offered one of four messages based on how traffic was moving, with longer messages for slower-moving vehicles (e.g., "The Internet of Everything is changing this billboard based on your speed. So you see only what you have time to read. Sorry about the slow going").

Honorable mention: GE
Agency: BBDO
Campaign: "Chicago Garages Bus Shelters"

During Chicago Ideas Week, GE hosted "GE Garages," an interactive experience that let visitors get a hands-on understanding of the convergence of manufacturing and digital technology. A series of "takeovers" of bus shelters evoked backyard workshops, complete with real tools hung inside window panels, effectively blurring the line between outdoor and experiential.

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Print campaign more than $200K

Winner: O-I
Agency: Doremus
Campaign: "Glass Is Life"

In a world of paper, plastic and aluminum packaging, why would someone choose glass? In O-I's "Glass Is Life" testimonial campaign, satisfied customers of iconic brands, including Jack Daniel's and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, explain why glass is crucial to their business and their image.

Runner-up: CFM
Agency: Gravity, London
Campaign: "More to Believe In"

CFM's "More to Believe In" campaign combined arresting and clever visual imagery with smart copywriting to make the point that its newest jet engines were reliable, cost-effective and safe.

Honorable Mention: Zoetis's Hoof-tec
Agency: Bader Rutter
Campaign: "Tone Down the Metal"

You don't have to know much (or anything) about the amount of copper sulfate in hoof-bathing solutions for dairy cattle, but this ad campaign made it crystal clear, using striking visuals of '80s vintage rockers urging you to ease up on the metal.

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Print campaign less than $200K

Winner: MSA
Agency: Smith Brothers
Campaign: "The Fire Inside"

A blend of stark but beautiful photography of working firemen and powerful testimonials from them created a campaign for MSA's Fire Service division that would likely make anyone flipping through a magazine take notice.

Runner-up: Howden Agency: Stein IAS
Campaign: "Revolving Around You"

Using playful imagery and wordplay, Howden's campaign made it clear that not only were its industrial fans crucial to the client's business, but that the company's service was top notch.

Honorable mention: Britten Studios BannerSavers
Agency: Clockwork
Campaign: "Epic Storms"

How to prove, in a print ad, that the brackets that hold outdoor banners are storm worthy? By referencing some of the most epic storms in history on said banners—and pairing it with simple, straightforward copy.

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Print single ad

Winner: MSA
Agency: Smith Brothers
Campaign: "The Fire Inside (Lt. Enhelder)"

The image alone—of smokey and smudged Chicago Fire Dept. Lieutenant Paul Enhelder—is enough to stop a reader in his tracks. But the testimonial copy—"You can't run into burning buildings if you're always thinking about getting hurt"—really drives the point home for MSA's safety equipment.

Runner-up: O-I
Agency: Doremus
Campaign: "Glass Is Life" (Jack Daniels)

The point of the campaign is to make the connection between iconic brands and glass. The Jack Daniels ad succeeds particularly well because the viewer probably can't imagine Jack Daniels in anything other than its distinguishing glass bottle.

Honorable mention: Quantcast
Agency: Pluperfect
Campaign: "Psychic"

"Targeted digital advertising" is probably not the easiest concept to get across without a PowerPoint presentation, a series of charts and a lot of marketing jargon. The image of a fashionable young man overlayed with relevant stats drove the "Know Ahead. Act Before" tagline home quite clearly.

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Winner: Adobe
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: "The Super Bowl of Marketing"

Adobe hit marketers where it hurt, but in a loving way. With Goodby Silverstein & Partners, it created and distributed a video everywhere but TV. The video dramatized the fact that people are often don't watch ads during the Super Bowl. In a meta-twist, an Adobe social media war room targeted other war rooms during the game.

Runner-up: HP and Intel
Agency: RAPP for HP
Campaign: "#72hoursofyes"

HP hijacked its competitor's major customer event—EMC World in Las Vegas—with a Twitter campaign called #72hoursofyes. The premise was simple but effective: Attendees would tweet to HP and HP would say yes. From helicopters rides to pink gorilla suits, HP said yes, stealing a rivals thunder along the way.

Honorable Mention: GE
Agency: BBDO
Campaign: "Childlike Illustrations"

Capitalizing on the success of the "Childlike Imagination" TV spot, BBDO had GE employees ask children in their lives to describe what GE makes. Then, artists brought their answers to life through beautiful illustrations, which were posted to GE's owned and social websites.

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Tradeshow exhibits

Winner: Nissan
Agencies: George P. Johnson, Spinifex
Campaign: "Digital Landscape at NAIAS 2014"

This exhibit perfectly blended physical and digital design. An enormous cantilevered arch—"the halo"—appeared to hover without support, boldly proclaiming Nissan's presence. Once inside the booth, RFID technologies enabled via the attendees' own devices guided and educated them as they moved through the space.

Runner-Up: Cisco
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: "The IoE Machine"

The Internet of Everything is getting a lot of hype, and Cisco wanted to show its b-to-b customers how it will impact them. As part of its Cisco Live event in San Francisco, it displayed the Internet of Everything Machine, a 20-by-10-foot interactive installation that shows life in a connected city. It made the intangible tangible.

Honorable Mention: CASE Construction
Agency: Slack and Company
Campaign: "CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014"

Expos are usually filled with flashy, high-tech spaces, but CASE Construction used wood and natural tones to stand apart—a look inspired by the CASE Customer Center in the North Woods of Wisconsin. The result was a place for attendees to relax and recharge (literally).

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Winner: GE
Agency: BBDO
Campaign: "Childlike Imagination"

Using state-of-the-art special effects and digital animation, this ad brings a "childlike imagination" to life, illustrating a child's fanciful interpretation of what it's like having a parent who works as a scientist at GE. The spot works beautifully with GE's "Imagination at Work" theme.

Runner-up: Adobe Marketing Cloud
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Campaign: "Woo Woo"

Adobe presents the story of a creative shop that scrambles to create a presence on the latest, hottest social-media network--something called Woo Woo--which we soon learn is merely a flash-in-the-pan. With its dryly funny script and deft editing, the spot drives home the point of its tagline--"Do you know what your marketing is doing?"

Honorable mention: Accenture Digital
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day
Campaign: "Digital Dandelion"

This ad for Accenture Digital has a simple message—"Our approach to digital can help you find new ways to grow"—expressed in one gorgeous tableau: animated dandelions are shown spreading their "seeds," which are actually tablet computers with glowing screens.

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Correction: Time Warner Cable Media's "Tier 3 Automotive" email campaign was created by its in-house agency, Kernel. An earlier version of this article listed VP+C as the agency.

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