Drum Awards Winners for Digital Advertising Revealed: See the Best Digital Ads of 2022

The best digital advertising campaigns, teams and talents of 2022 have been honored at the Drum Awards for Digital Advertising. We take a look at this year’s winners and find out how they wowed the judges.

Mental health organization Over The Bridge and its agency Rethink have won the Drum Awards Grand Prize for digital advertising with an ingenious AI campaign revealing the music we missed when Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse were also taken from us soon.

The Canada-based nonprofit, which supports musicians with their mental health, wowed judges with the ‘Lost Tapes of Club 27’ – new computer-generated recordings of the four legendary musicians released on streaming services to counter the romantic narrative around ‘the tortured artist’ and urge those facing difficulties to seek help before it is too late.

Continuing with the theme of music, this year’s Chair Award – selected by head of jury Jessica Leong, associate director of programmatic commerce at WarnerMedia – went to The7Stars and recipe box company Gousto, which is paired with Spotify to match listening habits with dinner recommendations.

The winners were crowned in a ceremony held in front of a live audience at Drum Labs in London and broadcast worldwide on Thursday 21 April. The event recognized the best digital marketing initiatives of the past year with winners ranging from world heavy-hitters to creative indies.

Outside of the campaign categories, the other big winners of the evening were UK-based RocketMill, which snagged the hotly contested Agency of the Year award after an exhaustive search, and Caroline Baselj, associate at Merkle’s strategy, which won the Rising Star award.

The competition was judged by a powerful panel of digital advertising leaders including HP, Coca-Cola, The New York Times and Havas Media Group. You can see a selection of the work that caught their eye below and the full list of winners on The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising website.

Using AI to Generate New Songs from Deceased Artists to Raise Mental Health Awareness

Grand Prize Winner and Best Use of Audio: The Lost Club 27 Tapes by Rethink

Fans of musical culture know only too well the 27 Club, the group of incredible musicians who died at the age of 27. Mental health organization Over The Bridge used AI to create unique songs for Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse to highlight work we may have missed.

The group’s research found that over 70% of musicians have experienced anxiety and panic attacks and suicide attempts. Among music industry workers, these sentiments are twice as high as in the general population – all the while the issue is romanticized with the immortalization of “tortured artists”.

Rethink trained a computer to analyze audio data from four artists – Hendrix, Winehouse, Morrison and Cobain – to identify specific patterns in their riffs, beats, lyrics and melodies. Google AI Magenta then generated all the new songs.

All four tracks raised awareness about mental illness through popular audio apps to a target audience. The campaign garnered 1.7 billion media impressions and noted an 830% increase in the number of musicians seeking help as a result of the campaign. It also saw 2 million album streams from over 160 countries in just one week.

Vice called the campaign a “sad reminder”.

Check out the credits here. And read more about the campaign here.

A fandom scavenger hunt spanning space, time and media

Best High Impact Campaign: Doctor Who: Stream by BBC Studios Creative

BBC’s jaw-dropping sci-fi drama Doctor Who needs marketing as bold as the series. Step into the in-house BBC Studios Creative team, who have blended the real world with digital experiences tailored specifically for fans.

Doctor Who: Flux was a six-hour mystery that aired clues into the media and the real world, bringing fans a unique way to experience the show’s narrative.

The campaign began when fans spotted a hidden message in the final panel of the Comic Con show’s trailer. Once cracked, this led to a secret website with a voicemail from the Doctor’s companion, Yaz. She explained that the Doctor had disappeared and enlisted fans for the hunt.

AR clues were hidden in paintings in art galleries, the Natural History Museum, the British Library and more. They were also hidden away on our own channels like Doctor Who magazine, the Doctor Who newsletter and even months earlier on Doctor Who’s Instagram. A final clue had to be discovered using Shazam. This then mirrored a plot point in the series where the Doctor Who social platforms “disappeared”.

The team behind the move said: “This idea cost nothing and created massive anticipation and excitement online and was picked up by the national and international press.”

Check out the credits here. And read more about the campaign here.

A Snap Lens rewarding users for playing with a new product

Best use of the game: Goldfish Focus Off Lens by Zulu Alpha Kilo

The game doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple idea, well executed can do the trick. Zulu Alpha Kilo created a Snap lens for teens aged 13-17 to introduce Campbell’s new Goldfish cracker to Canada.

Subverting the so-called search teenagers have for social attention, he created The Focus Face-Off Lens and challenged them to see if they could focus on something really slow. It was Kravin’ Ketchup Goldfish coming out of a Ketchup bottle. And they rose to the challenge.

If players could pay attention for more than nine seconds – the apparent attention span of a real goldfish – they unlocked a discount code. The game used eye-tracking technology to measure concentration. Players received a scorecard that also contained their username to encourage them to share with their friends. The campaign was promoted in the Snapchat carousel for four weeks and resulted in a nationwide takeover of Snap.

The average engagement time apparently doubled Snap’s average for a goal at 22.31 seconds.

Check out the credits here.

Pivoting an entire media business model using social media donations

Highest paid social campaign: Twitter Street

Big Issue sellers were losing £100,000 in donations every week in 2020, and as Christmas approached their most lucrative time was reduced by the lockdown. There was no one to sell the magazine to on the city streets, jeopardizing the vendors’ livelihoods.

Rapp, in collaboration with Virgin Media, created Twitter Street and mobilized 350,000 followers for donations. During the pandemic, it was important to maximize the Big Issue’s online presence instead of the streets. Eight days before Christmas, Virgin Media handed over its Twitter account to Big Issue vendors to help them reconnect customers.

He says customers have started buying online instead and moved to a more profitable subscription model.

Check out the credits here. And read more about the campaign here.

The beer can that teaches the guitar

Winner of Most Effective Use of Creativity: IPA Notes by Zulu Alpha Kilo

Zulu Alpha Kilo appears again in this list with a really cool campaign for Notes IPA. He introduced the first beer designed to teach you the guitar. This unique packaging precisely connects the digital and the physical in a newsworthy way.

The four packs of beer featured cans with distinct labels, each displaying a fundamental guitar chord: C, D, G, or E-minor. The box could be grabbed to learn chords and additionally a Snapchat code would unlock an augmented reality guitar lesson on phones.

An injection molded guitar pick has also been installed directly on the drawbar.

As a result of the campaign, Notes IPA sold twice as fast as an average SingleCut release and marked the brand’s most successful social media initiative.

Engagement rates on Snapchat for the AR lens were 500% higher than average, with cost per swipe $1 lower than benchmark ($0.48 vs. $1.50). The average time spent was more than double the benchmark (7.8 seconds versus 3 seconds).

Check out the credits here.

View all winners on the Tailored website. And if you want to watch the event unfold live, you can watch it here.

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