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Mars NZ wins top 'Echo'

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The annual conference and expo of the Direct Marketing Association, held last month in Las Vegas, featured a slew of awards that threw into sharp focus the healthy world of direct marketing. Two honors in particular drew attention: the annual presentations of DMA's Echo Awards and its Marketer of the Year Award. The list of 80 Echo Award winners was dominated by international entries, including the top winner—the New Zealand pet food division of Mars Inc. Mars NZ won DMA's Diamond Echo Award, considered “best in show,” for the company's “Doggelgänger” campaign on behalf of Mars' Pedigree dog food line. Created by agency Colenso BBDO/Proximity, Auckland, New Zealand, the campaign promoted—with an amusing twist—adoption of homeless dogs as pets. The “Doggelgänger” theme, a play on the word “doppelgänger,” meaning two individuals who look identical, used human-to-canine facial recognition software to analyze a human user's facial features, matching the person to a potential canine adoptee that looked similar. Among the 80 Echo Awards presented, two special awards recognized b-to-b campaigns. One was the Echo Green Marketing Award, which went to Vestas Wind Systems, Aarhus, Denmark, for its “Energy Transparency” campaign. The agency was Vertic Inc., New York. The campaign encouraged the private sector to become active in addressing climate change and investing in renewable energy. Another b-to-b campaign, “Enterprise Customer Care” from Microsoft Corp., garnered the Personal Connections Echo. Created by agency Wunderman Seattle, the program's goal was to improve customer satisfaction through targeted, relevant and synchronized communications. While United Airlines and Macy's Department Stores were not on the list of Echo Award winners, they did manage to be named joint Marketers of the Year by DMA in recognition of their customer relationship management programs. United was tapped for its work in combining disparate customer databases following its merger with Continental Airlines. A marketing and CRM campaign on behalf of United's MileagePlus program reached out to members of frequent-flier programs at both airlines. Macy's, working with customer relationship company dunnhumby USA, was also recognized for using modeling and statistical techniques to segment key customer groups and test optimal ways to interact with them. The program used storewide mailings, category-focused mailings, emails and online display advertising. —C.H.
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