Among the big winners: SS+K's "Fuller Spectrum of News" campaign for MSNBC.com nabbed the inaugural Integrated Webby, 42 Entertainment's Nine Inch Nails ARG, which won in both the People's Voice category and the Branded Content category, AKQA's effort for Coca-Cola, the "Happiness Factory: Now Hiring" site for Best Use of Animation/Motion Graphics, RED Interactive's RED Universe site in the Self Promotion category and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' "Get the Glass" site in Food and Beverage. Little Minx's Exquisite Corpse project took a TV/Video Webby for Best Sound Design.
42 and Norway shop MediaFront led the way with most wins, with FarFar, New Zealand's HyperFactory, Ogilvy Hong Kong, Shift Control Media and Tribal DDB all scoring multiple awards in the Interactive Advertising section of the awards.
"I can remember when advertising was really followed in pop culture in the '80s, with shows people watched in prime time," says Webby executive director David-Michel Davis. "I think the advertising is getting that way again—not just the ad community likes it. That's what's great about the web, you're seeing a lot of that bleed into the websites, it's really fun."
People's Voice, the user-generated portion of the awards, elected winners including HBO's "Voyeur" project from BBDO, New York and Big Spaceship, BMW's "Relearn to Drive" campaign by GSD&M Idea City, Poke, London's everlasting site for mobile provider Orange (pictured below) and Sony Bravia's web components from Fallon, London.
Davies says he was impressed by the growth in the mobile category, pointing to sites like Zagat.mobi, a winner in the Listings and Updates section. "I think the mobile stuff was really interesting this year; if you think back a year or two ago there were a bunch of mobile sites that companies marketed, but they didn't really work for most people. I think in the last couple of years the devices have gotten a lot better and regular people are starting to use this stuff. Now all these companies are starting to make good stuff."
Along with honoring websites and other interweb ventures, the Webbys also salute individuals who push the envelope of how web culture can be utilized. Stephen Colbert was named the Webbys overall Person of the Year, filmmaker Michel Gondry is Film and Video Person of the Year, songwriter and producer Will.i.am is Artist of the Year and comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim nabbed Best Actor honors.
Approaching nearly 70 categories, the Webbys are judged by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Prominent judges coming from advertising backgrounds include R/GA's Bob Greenberg, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Alex Bogusky, AKQA's Rei Inamoto and others. View all the winners at the Webbys site; use the Webby Winner's Guide for a more seamless browsing trip.