LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Despite the decline of traditional media and the scaling down of budgets, an epic two-minute TV commercial was the big winner at last night's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising awards, the U.K. ad industry's prestigious effectiveness prizes.
The Grand Prix-winning campaign for Hovis bread, by Cossette Group's Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, was a 122-second TV commercial that was awarded for growing sales by 14%, earning a payback of $5 for every $1 spent, and generating $145 million in additional profit for Hovis' parent company, Premier Foods.
The spot is 122 seconds long, because it encapsulates the last 122 years of British history, in the form of a small boy running home from the bakery with a loaf of Hovis bread under his arm. In the street he passes by suffragette rallies, the troops marching off for World War I, the blitz, the swinging 60s, and the strikes of the 1970s. The tagline is "As good today as it's always been."
The Hovis campaign's success bucked the trend at the awards, where most of the gold-winning campaigns were based less on advertising than on solid business ideas, often in the form of new products, that added value for the consumer in a tough economy.
The Waitrose supermarket chain was a winner for its "essential Waitrose" campaign, which promoted the introduction of a value range in what is otherwise the U.K.'s most upmarket supermarket. Following the economic crisis in 2008, Waitrose introduced 1,200 own-label products under a new brand called "essential Waitrose." Thanks to that line, which quickly reached 16% of revenue, the retailer ended 2009 as Britain's fastest-growing supermarket. Waitrose succeeded in introducing value without sacrificing its quality image, backed by a print campaign, again by Miles Calcraft.
Another supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, won gold for its "Feed your family for a fiver" campaign, led by TV chef Jamie Oliver. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO communicated Sainsbury's strategy to survive the recession using TV, print, online, and free tips cards in supermarkets. Over two years, the idea delivered $865 million in direct sales with a payback of $5.55 for every $1 spent.
Telecoms company O2 won one of the seven gold trophies for its sponsorship of the dome entertainment complex in London. Working with ad agency Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest, part of Chime Communications, O2 transformed the Millennium Dome –- an expensive government-built white elephant on the banks of the Thames River -- from a laughing stock to a national treasure.
The dome is now the most-popular music venue in the world, and has become a blueprint for effective sponsorship. O2 has extended its live-music sponsorship to other venues in the U.K. and Germany. O2 customers are given priority treatment in buying tickets and using facilities at the venue, while the project's success has delivered effectively for the O2 brand.
Another gold went to a Cadbury campaign by Fallon to promote the return of Wispa, a chocolate bar that was discontinued in 2003 because of poor sales. Following a Facebook campaign for Wispa's return, Cadbury brought the bar back first as a limited edition and then as a full-scale mainstream product. On a small budget, Fallon harnessed Wispa's online fan base by creating the "For the love of Wispa" campaign, which asked fans to pledge their time, talent or belongings in exchange for chocolate, and then turned the results into a TV ad. Wispa became Britain's top-selling chocolate bar, with a payback of $3.32 on every $1 invested.