Top Creative Award Winners

Top Creative Award Winners

What are we talking about in this article?


Each year, several award shows recognize the creative talents of marketing agencies across the world.

Advertising is much more than companies promoting their products. It’s the perfect medium for brands to express their values and get people thinking about the bigger issues facing society. 

Here at COR, we’ve compiled a rundown of our 20 favorite advertising award winners, from several different awarding bodies. Read on to see which brands and agencies made the cut.

Why do agencies want to win awards?

Aside from the pride and chance to see their name in lights, why do agencies care so much about winning awards? 

  1. It helps them stand out from the crowd. There are millions of creative agencies across the world, all competing for clients. With awards, agencies can show off their talents and win more businesses.
  2. It advances careers. Winning one of these coveted marketing awards looks amazing on any resumé.
  3. It’s free PR. Forget digital marketing and posting on social media, winning an award gets you noticed. 

Our 5 favorite award winners from the Clio Awards

#1 – Burger King – Moldy Whooper 

Entrant: INGO Stockholm/David Miami/Publicis

Award: Grand Award

Category: Social Video

Fast food giant, Burger King, captivated consumers’ attention with the groundbreaking “Moldy Whopper” ad. The campaign displayed some rather grotesque images of a moldy burger contradicted by a very positive message. Burger King will be removing all artificial additives and ingredients from its menu. The campaign was so successful, it saw sales increase by 14%. The spot also amassed an impressive 8.4 billion impressions. 

#2 – Sandy Hook Promise – Back to School Essentials 

Entrant: BBDO New York

Award: Gold Award

Category: Film – Scripted

As the kids headed back to school, the Sandy Hook Promise released a campaign with a tragic ending. Sandy Hook is of course the name of an elementary where a gunman opened fire in 2012, murdering 27 people. The advert aims to raise awareness for the problem of school shootings. The video opens with several children talking about how excited they are to go back to school after the summer recess. It then abruptly ends with a child in tears, hiding from a gunman, messaging their mom. The film ends on a cliffhanger, with audiences left to make up their own minds about what happens next.

#3 – Unilever’s Good Humor – A New Jingle For A New Era

Entrant: Edelman

Award: Gold

Category: Music

Good Humor speaks out against ingrained racial traditions that still persist to this day. The advertisement starts by explaining the traditional ice cream van jingle, “Turkey in the Straw”, has a troubled past. The jingle, which dates back to the 19th century, has racist connotations that few people know about in the modern day. Good Humor’s campaign is a video of Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA explaining this, and announcing the release of a new, inclusive jingle. The spot continues by pleading to all ice cream van drivers to stop playing “Turkey in the Straw” and instead use RZA’s new jingle – for free. This campaign proves Unilever’s commitment to bring about positive societal change.

#4 – The Royal Australian Mint – Donation Dollar 

Entrant: Saatchi & Saatchi 

Award: Gold

Category: Medium Innovation

Creative Director: Lee Sunter

This time, the campaign is not from a commercial brand, but a governmental one: the Royal Australian Mint. As the body responsible for coin production in Australia, the video highlights that changing consumer trends and new, digital payment methods are bad news for a certain sector of society. As most Australians pay electronically and carry fewer coins, homeless people, who relied on loose change, are suddenly worse off. So, the Royal Australian Mint released a campaign to announce the “donation dollar”, a coin specifically minted to be donated to homeless people. This advertisement demonstrates that even public sector brands can have an identity, voice and purpose.

#5 – Asomedias – The Voice of Vera 

Entrant: Sancho BBDO

Award: Silver

Category: Radio

In the era of fake news and Twitter politics, Vera is a welcome technological solution to this new and widespread problem. Developed in Colombia, the software works on an algorithm that trawls news feeds for unverified information. It then passes the information on to some of the country’s most prestigious journalists for analysis. The campaign announces a huge uptake for the new technology amongst Colombia’s radio stations. The marketing campaign reached over 28 million people across the country.

Our 5 favorite award winners from the LIA Awards

#1 – Huawei – StorySign

Entrant: FCB Inferno, London

Award: Grand 

Category: Branded Entertainment

Creative Director: Martin McAllister

This moving campaign, by tech giant Huawei, highlights the struggle deaf children face when learning to read and write. The StorySign is a groundbreaking app that uses AI to help deaf children and their parents learn sign language. The phone’s camera scans the words on a page and “translates” them to sign language on the screen. The inspiring advert has reached 1.5 billion people around the world.

#2 – IKEA – ThisAbles

Entrant: McCann TLV, Tel Aviv

Award: Grand LIA

Category: Design

Creative Director: Carmen Bistrian

Swedish homeware brand, Ikea, was at the center of attention last year for their feel-good “ThisAbles” campaign. The spot opens by talking about how people with special needs struggle to use ordinary, day-to-day furniture. Ikea states that rather than designing expensive furniture, it’s releasing a series of small add-ons. These ‘‘hacks’, as it calls them, improve the usability of its pieces and can even be 3D printed from anywhere in the world. 

#3 The New York Times – The Truth Is Worth It: Fearlessness

Entrant: Wave Studios, New York

Award: Grand LIA

Category: Music & Sound

Creative Director: Laurie Howell / Toby Treyer-Evans

This gripping campaign by skillfully represents how dangerous the journalism profession can be. It depicts the work of a journalist investigating ISIS and describes the lengths they go to uncover the truth and report it back to the people. The campaign is an ode to trusted, quality journalism. 

#4 – Volvo Cars – The E.V.A initiative 

Entrant: Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg

Award: Grand LIA

Category: The New

Creative Director: Laurie Howell / Toby Treyer-Evans

Car manufacturer Volvo put a new spin on gender equality. Their campaign highlights women are more likely to be injured in an accident, as collision test dummies are traditionally modeled on male bodies. Volvo has used data from 43,000 collisions to create a female simulation called Eva to test the impact on women. The campaign proved controversial and ushered in a debate about gender equality and road safety. Other carmakers are also expected to adopt the technology.

#5 – March for Our Lives – Generation Lockdown

Entrant: McCann New York, New York

Award: Grand LIA

Category: Public Service and Social Awareness

Creative Director: Karsten Jurkschat / Alex Little

March for Our Lives (MFOL) openly criticizes polticians’ response to school shootings. Children across the US have to practice regular lockdown drills. The campaign takes the angle that politicians have failed school children by making them responsible for their own safety. They’re the ones who have to learn how to defend themselves from gunmen, while gun ownership laws remain unchanged. MFOL insists the S. 42 Background Check Expansion Act is a better solution as this tackles the cause of the problem. This law would make it impossible for anyone with a criminal background to buy a firearm. 

Our 5 favorite award winners from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

#1 – Nike – You Can’t Stop Us

Entrant: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland

Award: Grand Prix

Nike’s inspirational campaign shines a light on how top-league athletes have been negatively impacted by lockdowns around the world. With sports facilities closed to curb the spread of Covid-19, athletes have had to adapt to continue training. The clever split-screen film is a montage of sporting scenes, with each one cleverly linking to the next. Marketers agree, this campaign’s creative excellence set the benchmark for sports brands.

#2 – Burger King – BK Stevenage Challenge 

Entrant: David Madrid/David Miami

Award: Grand Prix 

Category: Brand Experience and ActivationCreative Excellence in Brand Experience

Creative Director: Fred Bosch / David Madrid

Another entry from Burger King. This time the brand tapped into the gaming community with the #StevenageChallenge. Stevenage is a poor-performing soccer team from the 4th division of the English league. Burger King decided to “sponsor” the team on EA Sports, placing their logos on the team’s shirt. This attracted thousands of users, who started playing the team and bringing in some of the world’s biggest names. For each goal scored, Burger King awarded players with free burgers. The hashtag #StevenageChallenge soon went viral and Stevenage made it to the top of the virtual league. 

#3 – Mastercard – True Name 

Entrant: McCann New York 

Award: Grand Prix

Category: Brand Experience and Activation – Culture & Context

Creative Director: Evan Benedetto 

A deserving winner, Mastercard’s touching film sheds light on the discrimination suffered by transgender people. The campaign opens with several trans people talking about the abuse they’ve faced when using a credit card or ID document in their birth name. In the campaign, Mastercard cleverly highlights this injustice and announces that it’ll allow trans people to use their real names on credit cards. The ad’s impact was so far-reaching that other major banks also adopted the policy. Mastercard’s campaign truly demonstrates that advertising and branding really can be a force for good.

#4 – World WildLife Fund – Eurythenes Plasticus 

Entrant: BBDO Dusseldorf

Award: Grand Prix

Category: Brand Experience & Activation – Excellence in Brand Experience

The non-profit World Wildlife Fund (WWF) hit the headlines with this thought-provoking story. Using controversy to highlight the problem, it named a newly discovered marine species after the plastic that was found in its stomach. The crustacean, that was found living in the deep seas, is thought to have had no previous contact with human life. The marketing campaign caused uproar on social media, and led to a petition campaigning to end marine contamination.

#5 – Diesel – Enjoy Before Returning

Entrant: Publicis Italy

Award: Gold Lion

Category: Brand Experience & Activation – Consumer

Fashion giant Diesel’s creative response to a common problem received praise from across the creative industry. According to Diesel, one in 10 shoppers buy an item of clothing, wear it once and then return it. Industry experts say this costs retailers millions in lost income, with 40% of all clothes bought online, returned each year. Certain major retailers have even banned some customers for making too many returns. Yet Diesel took this phenomenon and made it the focus of its messaging: it challenged consumers to enjoy before returning. By seemingly inviting people to return the clothes, Diesel tackled the problem head on. 

Our 5 favorite award winners from The One Show awards

#1 – San Francisco Symphony 

Entrant: Collins San Francisco 

Award: Gold

Category: Branding / Identity System

Marketing agency Collins put a contemporary spin on branding a 124-year-old symphony. Collins designed a new font and logo for the SFS’s branded content. According to the website, the new font reflects a “new, dynamic direction” that will facilitate “enrichment and engagement among all our audiences”. 

#2 – Michelob, Microsoft, NBA – Michelob Ultra Courtside 

Entrant: FCB New York

Award: Gold

Category: Innovation and Transformation

As Covid-19 swept the globe and restricted freedoms, major NBA players came out to say they weren’t prepared to play without the fans. So, in a collaboration with Michelob Ultra, Microsoft and NBA, FCB’s creative work highlights the success of the virtual fan board. This pandemic innovation allowed fans to take a seat virtually at each game. The interactive campaign was so successful it was talked about in over 32 countries, and saw Michelob Ultra’s sales increase by 32%. 

#3 – Sick Beats

Entrant: Area 23, An FCB Health Network Company / New York + Claire’s Place

Award: Gold

Category: Experiential & Immersive

This spot is about an innovative new treatment for children with cystic fibrosis. Sufferers have to use a machine and wear an “airway clearance vest”, an uncomfortable and expensive piece of medical equipment. Using soundwave technology, Sick Beats is the world’s first music-powered cystic fibrosis treatment. It allows children to listen to music as they receive treatment, improving the lives of cystic fibrosis sufferers. 

# 4 – Miller Lite – Farewell, Work Holiday Parties

Entrant: DDB / Chicago 

Award: Merit

Category: Branded Entertainment, Craft / Art Direction

Acclaimed for its art direction, Miller Lite’s festive ad captured attention across the world. With office parties canceled due to the pandemic, the campaign depicts a party scene, with a twist. Covid-19 restrictions made it difficult to safely film an office gathering, so they made a series of wax models. The creative work was displayed in the LA County Museum, and users could even interact with the piece online. The experiential campaign soon became a talking point, with many amazed how a beer ad could make it into a prestigious museum. 

#5 – Apple – Shot on iPhone 

Entrant: TBWA\Media Arts Lab / Los Angeles

Award: Gold

Category: Use of Vertical Camera

Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign is a captivating and gripping ad that’s both simple and complex. Demonstrating the power of the iPhone’s vertical camera, the campaign shows scenes of Hollywood-esque films shot through the phone’s lens. The film includes several fictitious blockbusters, including a western and a golden-era thriller. And to add the cinematic effect, the spot even ends with closing credits.


Communicating purpose and values is as much a part of advertising as promoting a product. From innovative solutions for those with special needs, to stopping the spread of fake news, our favorite creative awards winners all have a point to make. Which brands and agencies will make our pick next time?