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Effective Content Strategy Report

Lessons from the 2018

WARC Awards

Four themes 3 Chapter three: Content must scale up to reach

Executive summary 4 its full potential 26
Winners’ take-outs 6 Put your money where your content is 27
Judging panel 7 The Live Love Laugh Foundation: Ask Again 29
Maxis: 4G Films 30
Nippon Pylox: If you can dream it, you can Pylox it 31
Chapter one: Analysis of campaign trends 9
Case study countries 10
Online video plays a leading role in content strategy 11 Chapter four: Content that creates a point of difference 32
Low budgets are the norm for content campaigns 12 Show, don’t tell 33
Emotion, storytelling and humour prove popular 13 Connect: Slow Trends 35
Content focuses on a brand-building role 14 Saudi Telecom Company: Unveil Saudi 36
Content campaigns tend to be more long term 15 Orange: The Hammam Fighter 37
Soft and hard metrics 16

Chapter five: Content that engages new audiences 38

Chapter two: Humour as an effective content strategy 17 People-first content engages new audiences 39
Make ‘em laugh 18 Hinge: Escape the Dating Apocalypse 41
Coca-Cola: Hijacking the African Cup 20 i-can: Fair Sex Fair Say 42
Content empowers brands 21 Emirates NBD: Dear Younger Me… 43
EGBank: The Chronicles of Oufa 23
Whiskas: Kitten Kollege 24
Antarctica: Web Series 25
Four themes

Humour as an effective
Content must scale up to
Content that creates a
Content that engages
content strategy reach its full potential point of difference new audiences

Emotion and humour were the In a survey by WARC asking entrants Telcos, particularly those in the Nearly half – 44% – of entrants into
creative strategies of nearly a third into the Effective Content Strategy MENA region, where countries such this category surveyed by WARC
– 32% – of shortlisted papers in the category whether their clients as the UAE and Saudi Arabia boast cited new customer acquisition
Effective Content Strategy category will be investing in more branded some of the highest smartphone as a key objective of their content
at this year’s WARC Awards. The content in the future, 89% agreed penetration in the world, are marketing. And many winning
Grand Prix winner, Coca-Cola’s that they would. Given that brands increasingly dependent on content campaigns successfully reached
Hijacking the African Cup, showed are committing more to the benefits marketing to help differentiate in a new audiences. Dating app Hinge
how emotion and humour could of content, budgets need to grow highly commoditised sector. There repositioned itself as a relationship
successfully engage audiences. to ensure that it can be consistent are lessons here for marketers in app through an animated film,
“Creating emotion is what brands over time and deliver on marketing sectors such as financial services inviting people to Escape the Dating
have to do today,” writes BETC Paris’s objectives. As judge Nick Kendall where differentiation remains one of Apocalypse and doubled its user
Lennie Stern who judged this year’s writes on page 28: “Scaling, and the biggest challenges. According to base. Meanwhile, Emirates NBD’s
Effective Content Strategy. “Make scaling hard behind proven success, Dan Shepherd, page 33: “Showing Dear Younger Me increased youth
them laugh and you’ll encourage is the new business practice. Now is better than telling to get into acquisitions through branded
them to share new cultural content is growing up and finding consumers’ hand and hearts. In a sea content that engaged emotionally
references.” A more emotional ‘the power of ideas’. So let’s make of sameness, littered by the debris of with Egypt’s under-25s.
or humorous approach could be sure we have ‘the power of media’ to countless boastful claims, content
found in many of this year’s winners, drive them.” makes impressive waves and ripples
including Whiskas’ Kitten Kollege and that last.”
Malaysian telco Maxis’ 4G Films.

3 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Executive summary

Content is starting to take a more central role This report looks at all entries to
the Effective Content Strategy
in communications strategies that recognise its category of the 2018 WARC Awards,
a global case study competition
strengths and its power to connect designed to reward next-generation
effectiveness. It considers features
of the entries and analyses drivers of
WARC has analysed the entries Connect: achieved great results
into this category to identify
common themes among successful The Effective Content Strategy
content marketing strategies. The category aims to reward branded
charts on pages 10-16 have content strategies that can
been generated by the metadata demonstrate a business outcome.
around all the entries, as well as It’s clear that many organisations
from a survey that was sent out as are now following the ‘hero, hub,
part of the entry process. Thanks to hygiene’ model of content pioneered
This Effective Content Strategy this data and the contribution of an by YouTube. First, making a grand
Report features some of the eminent judging panel (page 7), statement with a ‘hero’ piece of
world’s most effective content chaired by John Dokes, Global content – usually an online video or
marketing strategies. It draws Chief Marketing Officer and General a TV ad. Then, supporting that with
on the winners of the Effective Manager, AccuWeather New York, we ‘hub’ content – the more everyday,
Content Strategy category at have identified four themes around regular content that is drip-fed
this year’s WARC Awards which Effective Content Strategy which to specific audiences. Finally,
is designed to reward branded are: Humour as an effective content underpinning the whole effort
editorial-style content that can strategy, Content must scale up with ‘hygiene’ content – always-
demonstrate a business outcome. to reach its full potential, Content on material that is optimised to
that creates a point of difference audiences’ intentions and interest.
Coca-Cola: integrated into the vernacular and Content that engages new Evidence of this could be seen in this
in Egypt audiences. year’s Grand Prix winner, Coca-Cola’s

4 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Executive summary

football team. Coke also instigated a blocks in encouraging advertisers

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is Will your client be investing
jersey swap, where any non-Egyptian to experiment with new content
easy and 10 is hard, how hard in more branded content in
football jersey could be swapped formats and try something that
was it for you to dissuade your the future?
with a (Coke-branded) Egypt jersey. perhaps doesn’t look like advertising
client of old advertising ‘rules’? 100%

There were countless other parts to of old, there is a palpable enthusiasm 89%

22% this campaign which made it a Grand for content: 89% of entrants claimed
Prix winner but essentially Coke got that their clients will be investing in 75%

the nation singing to its tune and more branded content in the future.
wearing a jersey adorned with its
logo. Chris Wall, Head of Creative, More investment 50%

50% Ogilvy Public Relations, who was on And it is time for more investment
the jury, commented: “It feels bigger in content, according to Nick
than a content campaign to me. They Kendall, who judged this category 25%

25% did a catchy song which everyone for a second year in 2018. Citing
22% loved, the video performed well and examples such as Connect’s Slow 11%
it caught everyone’s attention. And Trends (page 35) from Lebanon 0%
0% people were wearing the shirts at and Live Love Laugh’s Ask Again No
matches. That’s the dream.” (page 29) from India, he writes on Yes
Difficult (7+ out of 10)
Moderate (4-6 out of 10) page 28: “Maybe content should Don’t know

Easy (1-3 out of 10) Undeniable enthusiasm stop being the poor cousin and grow
In a survey that was distributed up to become the central player in a Our thanks to John Dokes, Nick
Hijacking the African Cup (page as part of the entry form to all brand repertoire.” He praises many Kendall and all the other judges
20). This also demonstrated how entrants into the 2018 WARC of this year’s winners for achieving (pages 7-8) who took time to
a well thought out content marketing Awards, we asked how hard it was great results on comparatively understand and debate what makes
strategy can supersede advertising for practitioners to dissuade their tiny budgets, and speculates that a successful content strategy.
and integrate into a country’s clients of old advertising ‘rules’. investing in these good ideas to
vernacular. The song at the heart Twenty-two percent described it as take them to the next level would be The 2019 WARC Awards will open
of the campaign became a national ‘difficult’, 56% said it was ‘moderately the most practical way of achieving for entries on 1 November. Please
earworm and featured all the names difficult’, while just 22% described it effectiveness and avoiding what he contact for
of the new players in Egypt’s national as ‘easy’. Yet, despite the stumbling describes as ‘digital landfill’. more details.

5 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Winners’ take-outs

Aside from the ROI, you have to be in tune with the response
to your content – who it is resonating with and not resonating
with. Comments are ever-present on the internet; it’s just
about listening. It’s important to see content as the beginning
How do we continuously of a dialogue rather than a one-way statement.

improve our understanding We need to continually test pre and post campaigns
that leverage branded content to determine the
of content's commercial effect? effects it is having on the marketing mix.

Start off organically; observe consumers’ interactions and

sentiment so you can adapt and maximise the content to
capture the interest of larger target audiences.

Original content that people would want to watch so much that

they actually don’t mind it coming from a brand. In a world of ad
blockers, shorter attention spans and infinite content to consume,
advertising is becoming less and less popular among people with
every passing second. Branded content is supposed to be the antidote
How do you define to that. Branded content is all about a brand being successfully
present within people's attention spans without them minding.
branded content?
Stories people want to hear that come in any format.

Content brought to life by a brand that is entertaining,

engaging and informative, that consumers are happy
and willing to watch and share with their friends.

6 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Judging panel

John Dokes Lionel Benbassat Michael Davidson

Chair of judges Managing Director, Associate Partner & Head
Global Chief Marketing Fred & Farid of Strategy, Venables Bell
Officer and General & Partners
Manager, AccuWeather
New York

Aliya Hasan Jennifer Usdan McBride Nick Kendall

Head of Strategy, Director of Digital & Founding Partner,
Vizeum Australia Innovation, J. Walter Broken, Electric Glue
Thompson New York and The Garage Soho

Lindsay Landy James Larman Namita Mediratta

Planning Partner, Executive Strategy Global CMI Director,
Ogilvy Director, Drum Content, Unilever

7 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Judging panel

Bronwen Morgan Mylene Ong Daniel Shepherd

Head of Content, Head of Strategy, Director, Digital
Flamingo Colenso BBDO Planning, PHD UAE

Lennie Stern Dean Taylor My Troedssen

Head of Creative and Director of Creative Planner, Forsman
Entertainment Strategies, Strategy, Momentum & Bodenfors
BETC Paris

Chris Wall
Head of Creative,
Ogilvy Public Relations Please contact
Interested in judging Effective Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor,
Case Studies, WARC
Content Strategy in 2019?

8 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter one:
Analysis of campaign trends
Case study countries

Where did the shortlisted case studies come from?

Lebanon 5%

Canada 5%
United Kingdom 14% United Arab Emirates 5%

India 9%

Thailand 5%
United States 5% Tunisia 5%

Egypt 19%
Malaysia 9%

Saudi Arabia 5%

Singapore 5%

Brazil 5%

Global 5%

10 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Online video plays a leading role in content strategy

Lead media (selected media)


62% Online video continues to be a key component

60% of content strategy, accounting for 20% of non-
shortlisted campaigns and nearly a quarter –
50% 24% – of shortlisted ones.
Social media, on the other hand, was the lead
40% media in 14% of non-shortlisted campaigns but
only 10% of shortlisted papers.
No shortlisted campaigns used television, radio
20% and audio, virtual and augmented reality or word
of mouth, advocacy as their lead media.

10% 11%
6% 6% 6%

0% 0% 0% 0%
Content Online Social Television Radio & Virtual & Word of
marketing video media audio augmented mouth,
reality advocacy

Non-shortlisted Shortlisted

11 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Low budgets are the norm for content campaigns

Media budgets

“One of the joys of content is its ability to

60% achieve good things on small budgets,” writes
Effective Content Strategy judge Nick Kendall
50% on page 28. He adds: “Most of the papers in
2018 seemed to arrive at their current content
40% approach out of crisis: ‘budgets were low’,
‘competitors dwarfed us’, ‘times were desperate’,
30% ‘we needed a different approach’, etc.” This was
26% borne out by the data which revealed that more
than two thirds of the shortlisted work – 67% –
had a budget of up to $500k.
10% Only one winning paper – Antarctica’s Web
6% 5% 5% 5%
3% 3%
5% Series (page 25), which saw the Brazilian beer
0% 0% 0% 0%
0% brand investing in a multimedia content play that
No budget Up to 500k 500k - 1 million 1 - 3 million 3 - 5 million 5 - 10 million 10 - 20 million Over 20 million blurred fiction and reality – had a budget of more
than $20 million.

Non-shortlisted Shortlisted

12 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Emotion, storytelling and humour prove popular

Creative strategy
Winning campaigns took an emotional
approach – sometimes with humour – and
20% used storytelling techniques to connect with
audiences. Whiskas’s Kitten Kollege (page 24)
and EGBank’s The Chronicles of Oufa (page
16% 16%
23) used all three creative strategies. As BETC
Paris’s Lennie Stern from the jury points out on
12% page 19: “The advertising process is often
11% 11% 11%
about trying to do something that everybody will
9% 9%
like. Integrating humour in advertising is about
7% 7% looking for something people will definitely love.”
Yet, as she cautions: “What lies between like and
4% 4%
love is risk.”
Meanwhile, campaigns such as Hinge’s Escape
Emotion Informative, Storytelling Humour User-generated Celebrity Music
0% The Dating Apocalypse (page 41) used
educational content, emotion-heavy storytelling to make a serious
Non-shortlisted Shortlisted

13 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Content focuses on a brand-building role

Objectives of the campaign/activity

Strengthen the
brand / its appeal Content marketing is primarily used to
New customer acquisition 44%
strengthen the brand / its appeal. In the survey
of WARC Awards entrants, 78% of respondents
Market share gain 44% in the Effective Content Strategy cited it as an
Sales volume gain 44%
On equal pegging in second place, with 44%,
Increase profit / reduce were new customer acquisition, market share
operational cost
gain and sales volume gain. This could be seen
Sales value gain 33% in successful papers such as i-can’s Fair Sex
Customer retention /
Fair Say (page 42) that used social media to
increase purchase loyalty change the male narrative on contraceptive
Drive web traffic / choices in India.
social media engagement

Other 11%

Behavioural change / 11%

not-for-profit campaign

Reduce price sensitivity 11%

Development of 11%
the category
Market share defence / 11%
arrest decline
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%

14 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Content campaigns tend to be more long term


Papers entered into the Effective Content

Content 11% 44% 44% Strategy category were more likely to be longer-
term campaigns (12 months or more) than
papers in the other three categories. This could
Social 40% 50% 10% be seen in campaigns such as Saudi Telecom
Company’s Unveil Saudi that won a Gold as well
Innovation 42% 42% 17%
as the Long-Term Idea Special Award (page
Purpose 10% 50% 40%
At the other end of the spectrum, 11% of Content
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
campaigns had very short timescales (six
months or fewer). As Nick Kendall points out on
page 28, “If only these ideas were approached
Very short (< 6 months) Short (< 12 months) Long (> 12 months)
as more than a ‘one off’, given more central
importance and funded with more budget…I
can only hope that many of these ideas will be
supported again next year, and built upon, rather
than discarded as more digital landfill – the
equivalent of single-use plastics!”

15 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Soft and hard metrics

Soft metrics – Social media, awareness and PR value rank high


Social media and PR value are the highest-
ranking soft metrics among shortlisted
27% 30% campaigns, with 29% and 18% respectively. This
18% 20%
was in evidence in many papers, including the
Grand Prix winner from Coke in Egypt, Hijacking
8% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4%
8% 10% the African Cup (page 20), where the strategy
0% 0%
of leading multiple conversations to address a
Social media,
Awareness Brand health /
equity measures
Web traffic Consumer
PR value Brand-specific
number of different targets paid dividends in
terms of PR and social media engagement.

Non-shortlisted Shortlisted In nearly a third of both shortlisted and non-

shortlisted campaigns, market penetration/
customer gain and sales were the most popular
Hard metrics – Selected hard metrics show that customer gain and sales dominate hard metrics. This could be seen in winning
campaigns such as Hinge’s (page 41) and
50% Emirates NBD’s (page 43), which successfully
recruited new customers.

While market share and efficiency gain were
popular metrics among non-shortlisted
18% 20% campaigns, they accounted for only a small
10% proportion of shortlisted papers.

Market penetration / Sales Market share Efficiency gain
customer gain

Non-shortlisted Shortlisted

16 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter two:
Humour as an effective content strategy
Make ‘em laugh

The most shared content is always that people rely on emotion rather
Lennie Stern from BETC Paris argues than information when it comes to
in some way evocative. Whether
that achieving the right balance between a campaign makes us cry with making a choice between brands. It is
laughter or sadness, it makes us feel the right balance between emotional
emotional clues and informative content something to connect with the brand clues and informative content which
purpose. That’s obvious, right? Even leads to effectiveness.
leads to effectiveness.
if it might seem pretty basic, it sums
up what should stand at the heart of Old equation, new
all communication. technical requirements
Today, the question is less about
Emotion comes first in which kind of emotion trigger is the
the ‘skip this ad’ age most effective one and more about
Creating emotion is what brands have how to use them in the most relevant
to do today. It has always been true, way. What is at stake is finding the
but it is unquestionably crucial in our right tonality and addressing the
current age of ‘skip this ad’. This era right target in the right moment on
is one where we are all struggling for the right channel. This is actually
a few nano-seconds of attention. At the biggest challenge brands and
Lennie Stern is Head of
the heart of any piece of advertising, advertisers have to address.
Creative and Entertainment
regardless of the channel or platform, This year, the WARC Awards’
Strategies, BETC Paris
there should be relevance, emotion, Effective Content Strategy winners
and compelling creative execution. celebrated emotion as an effective
Audience attention needs to be strategy in an integrated approach.
captured in a meaningful way for ads Which means most of the rewarded
to be effective. Emotion triggers a works in the category used this
strong memory. Emotion speaks to ‘emotional’ leverage in the best
guts before speaking to brain, and way possible. Not only to create fun
is actually the secret ingredient for and entertaining content about a
memorable content. There’s no need brand or a product, but also to build
to prove it again: many studies show communities, drive engagement

18 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Make ‘em laugh

and create conversion perspectives

through those entertaining pieces
of content.
It’s also true that they successfully
used humour and feel-good emotions.

The whaaaat?! factor

I dare anyone to say they felt nothing
watching Coca-Cola’s winning entry
(page 20), Whiskas’ Kitten Kollege
(page 24) campaign or EGBank’s
The Chronicles of Oufa (page 23).
Yes, they made me go “whaaaat?!” Coca-Cola: "used humour Whiskas: "using existing cultural EGBank: "piggybacked its way into
but not only that. They also got the and feel-good emotions" references to shape new ones" 'helping the youth' emotional advertising"
most precious thing on earth: my
attention. The appeal of having a The advertising process is often straying into the territory of being Content’s virtuous circle
funny commercial is really attractive. about trying to do something that too offensive. In all art, subtlety and This is the perfect virtuous circle
Content that tickles our funny bone everybody will like. Integrating understanding your audience is we have to feed every day through
often triggers an association in our humour in advertising is about key to whether or not your content the lens of brand and content.
neurons that a certain brand makes looking for something people will will leave a cultural mark on your This is what Coca-Cola or Whiskas
us feel good. definitely love. What lies between like consumers. managed to achieve: using existing
EGBank’s The Chronicles of Oufa and love is risk. But this is actually how culture gets cultural references to shape new
campaign achieved exactly the shaped. A large part of our collective ones. They turned their content
right balance of emotional response How humour is risky culture spirit is made of these rare into pop-culture phenomena.
and brand recognition. So right, in Humour is what we have to pieces of content that make us To be honest, humour is the best
fact, that it has piggybacked its way encourage every single day. Yet laugh, react and connect. This is tool to achieve this outstanding
into ‘helping the youth’ emotional comedy is not easy because it’s so actually what people are expecting goal. It is what we call entertainment,
advertising with only a negligible incredibly subjective. Advertisers from brands and content. Make them the foundation of advertising, and
commercial investment. Sneaky run the risk of being overshadowed laugh and you’ll encourage them to the future of brand communication
heartbreakers! by the joke, or – even worse – of share new cultural references. too.

19 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Coca-Cola: Hijacking the African Cup
Earning brand love by reigniting football fervour

Objectives mention it in its communication. It

GRAND PRIX AND BEST During the African Cup of Nations, created an online music video set in a
MULTIPLATFORM SPECIAL AWARD Coke wanted to reignite passion ping-pong hall, where a group of men
for the national team and build its sang a catchy song featuring the new
Agency: FP7/CAIRO association with football. team line-up to help fans acquaint
(part of McCann World Group) themselves with the new players.
Advertiser: Coca-Cola Insight
(The Coca-Cola Company) Egyptian football had been Results
Market: Egypt experiencing a crisis after the
government had officially banned
live audiences from attending $150,000 Takeaways
Soft drink brand Coca-Cola matches following the Port Said earned media
reawakened Egypt’s passion stadium massacre. The national Building communication
for its national football team. team’s spirits dropped and fans around an event that you
drifted towards international 10% don’t officially sponsor
leagues, not even knowing the increase in football association presents many challenges.
names of Egypt’s players. Find ways to engage
meaningfully with the
Strategy 5pts event’s audience instead.
The campaign began with a docu- increase in brand love
Leading multiple
What is interesting beyond drama that launched on social media,
conversations and
the content is the nationwide featuring football personalities
addressing a range of
movement they created. This is encouraging fans to give Coca- VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
targets in a variety of
about more than the content, Cola their non-Egyptian jerseys to
tonalities can be more
music video and web documentary have them replaced with Egyptian
effective than adhering to a
they did. They owned the ones. All non-Egyptian jerseys
single-minded message.
movement they created. were recycled into duvets and
Lennie Stern – Head of Creative donated to the underprivileged in
and Entertainment Strategies, the outskirts of Cairo. Not being the
BETC Paris Cup’s sponsor, Coke was unable to

20 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Content empowers brands

Remember the days when all for Coca-Cola Egypt. With decades
Be the interesting content, don’t interrupt it, of experience in the local market,
advertisers were fixated on the
advises FP7 Cairo’s Naila Fattouh that this year ‘single-minded message’? That Coke had done its share of single-
was when all we had were just a few minded communication and had
took the Effective Content Strategy Grand Prix seconds to tell our audiences one become one of the most loved
unique thing about our brand. Those brands in the country. Moreover,
for Coca-Cola’s Hijacking the African Cup. much like elsewhere in the world,
were the days when the strategists
among us flaunted their talents Coke invested heavily in Egypt’s
of zoning in on that one message greatest passion, football, helping
that mattered most. We’d put this position the brand as an authority
message on a pedestal and often on the sport. Coke knew the ins and
give it divine authority, calling it a outs of Egyptian football and owned
‘truth’ or ‘essence’. it like a pro. Coke was there with its
Well, those days are gone. Not consumer, the Egyptian fan, when
because that no longer works, Egypt’s national team was in its glory
because it does and always will. days winning the African Cup of
It’s because now we no longer Nations three times in a row. Coke
have to stick to just one message. was there when Egypt beat Italy in
Naila Fattouh is Head of
By changing our mindset to being the Confederation’s Cup and tied
Strategic Planning at FP7 Cairo
content-first, we have freed with Brazil. Coke was in the stadium,
ourselves from the handcuffs of the on the street, in the cheering
30-second TV spot. Content allows parades, painting the nation red after
us to have multiple conversations our team’s colour.
with multiple targets in multiple But Coke was also there when
tonalities, all of them serving one loyal fans died in a horrific massacre
main objective. in Port Said stadium during a local
league match (a politically charged
Through thick and thin incident that followed Egypt’s 2011
That’s what we learned from revolution). Coke was there when the
working on the football campaign fans and team alike were suddenly

21 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Content empowers brands

defeated in willpower and on the field, the traditional advertising we had

inexplicably losing the next three been doing for years and instead
African Cup of Nations tournaments. focusing on creating different pieces
Coke stood by its fans as they of content that would help us hijack
watched their all-star team fail one the event. Our campaign consisted
too many times and eventually retire. of an emotional docu-drama, a
comedic music video, a CSR initiative
Leading the conversation and a nation-wide activation, each
So in 2017, when Egypt was focusing on a different insight,
approaching the African Cup of creating a new debate.
Nations hesitantly and insecurely, Our diverse content helped us Coca-Cola: "took real issues on and created solutions"
with a new team line-up, Coke engage not only with people of
needed to rise to the occasion. How different interests but also with for audiences. Marketers today preferring to wear foreign ones. We
could a brand with the scale of Coca- the same audiences several times struggle with getting consumers to were also the only ones to raise the
Cola possibly choose one single over, making the brand extremely slow down while scrolling, to give us concern that Egyptians didn’t even
message to communicate during this agile. Regardless of the topic being a mere second of attention. However, know their new team line-up and took
critical time for the country? Would discussed, Coke was there with its content empowers brands to take it upon ourselves to make the entire
we talk about the new team? Would relevant content. Our content-led on bigger topics that actually matter country memorise their names.
we talk about the dwindled passion strategy helped us move from topic to consumers, surprisingly enabling We took real issues on and created
and sense of pride for our team? to topic without constraint, smoothly brands to get much more than a few solutions through our campaign.
Would we encourage people to wear and easily becoming part of the seconds of undivided attention. Accordingly, we no longer had to
the red jersey once again and cheer? national dialogue. depend on forceful advertising
We couldn’t possibly choose just More importantly, content helped Identifying the tension points interrupting the interesting content:
one… so we didn’t! Amidst an entire us grab our audiences’ attention. In This is exactly what happened with we were the interesting content.
market of brands communicating an era where consumers’ attention our campaign. Through its content The success of the campaign
the same occasion, Coke needed cannot be taken for granted, brands strategy, Coke managed to tap into proved that using content correctly
to lead the conversation. That need to work harder to become sensitive tension points among allowed a big brand like Coca-Cola to
meant discussing everything with interesting. And as fun as advertising the nation at large. We discussed own a big occasion and everything
everyone. To do so, we needed to get can be, it often falls short of the harsh reality of our fans not around it, the jersey, the team line-up,
out of our comfort zone, forgetting becoming the real topic of interest wearing the national jersey anymore, the national pride and the fun of it all.

22 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
EGBank: The Chronicles of Oufa
Increasing new account sign-ups by targeting an ignored demographic

Objectives life of university student Oufa as he

GOLD Of the 90% unbanked Egyptian struggled with not being considered
population, more than 70% are and being taken for granted. Each
Agency: FP7/CAIRO youth, the main drivers of massive episode highlighted an unspoken
(part of McCann World Group) spending, lending and financial insight about this generation, only
Advertiser: EGBank potential for the future. EGBank set to reveal that EGBank would be the
Market: Egypt out to become the bank for them, first to take Oufa and his friends
but was faced with the target’s seriously by helping them open their
negative perception of banks, seen first account.
Small Egyptian bank EGBank raised as ‘deceitful’ and ‘confusing’.
awareness and increased new Results Takeaways
account sign-ups by siding with Insight
the country’s overlooked youth. Egypt is still very much a patriarchal While advertising sells a
society and the youth’s place in $700,000 product to those who need
the country is that of second-class earned media it most, content has the
citizens: they live with their parents ability to intrigue those who
until they get married, yet they are feel they don't need it at all.
considered too old for mothering and 73% Whereas advertising sells
too young for real responsibility and increase in top-of-mind awareness more to users, content can
decision-making authority. The bank recruit non-users.
decided to target two audiences: the
youth who hated banks and the rest 100% Human stories backed up
by a true, unspoken insight
This campaign provided of the population, who needed to YOY increase in number of accounts
on the audience, can help
insights on why there are better, know that EGBank was now only for
brands be allowed to enter
more structured choices and the youth.
the targets’ world, and even
how those can really connect VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
represent them.
with the community. Strategy
John Dokes – Global Chief Marketing The Chronicles of Oufa launched on
Officer and General Manager, TV and social media with a series
AccuWeather Network of 13 episodes documenting the

23 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Whiskas: Kitten Kollege
Earning a place online by revisiting the brand’s core purpose

Objectives content was hosted on a YouTube

BRONZE Whiskas, the global reference in cat channel and a partnership with
care, was struggling to stand out American comedy channel College
Lead agency: AMV BBDO online as it had always prioritised TV Humor ensured videos were funny,
Contributing agencies: and lacked a digital presence. The digitally native and mobile first.
MediaCom, Google brand set out to find its distinctive Users who viewed two or more
Advertiser: Whiskas (Mars Petcare) voice within online cat content. videos were re-targeted with related
Market: United Kingdom product ads, served through Google
Insight Display Network. The next phase of
Whiskas found that, when it comes development is a series around the
to cats, the internet is full of funny Kat Institute of Technology, home to Takeaways
content, but lacking engaging and the best Kitten Kollege graduates.
educational content. To be true to Branded content is new
its essence, the brand wanted to Results territory, therefore,
become the online reference in cat the best solutions are
care. To build awareness at point bespoke. Going back to a
of market entry, Whiskas chose to 39m brand’s core mission can
develop its communication around impressions help find the right insight to
kittens. guide the execution.

Strategy One episode Data alone is not enough:

it’s human sensibility
It identified the most common care reached 25% of all cat
that transforms numbers
I liked it from a content creation queries around kittens and found owners in the UK
into insights, and insights
point of view: they clearly started that most of them coincided with the
into ideas.
with the data, using lots of Google key moments of a kitten’s first year.
search data. It’s really robust. They Online series Kitten Kollege tackled 13
then built a nice platform out of it, the most popular queries with markets saw roll-out
which grew in its second year. humorous and educational videos
Dan Shepherd – Director, which would help new pet owners
Digital Planning, PHD UAE through The Year of Kittenhood. The VIEW FULL CASE STUDY

24 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Antarctica: Web Series
Gaining back relevance by boldly modernising the brand approach

Objectives A retargeting strategy ensured

SILVER Antarctica had started suffering people followed the series and
from Brazil’s macro-economic a variety of formats allowed for
Lead agency: AlmapBBDO troubles, with people turning to content amplification. Blurring the
Contributing agencies: either value or premium beers. Its line between fiction and reality, the
Blinks, B/Ferraz preference decline was due to a loss main character was given his own
Advertiser: Antarctica (AB InBev) in relevance, so it decided to adopt profiles on social media. Fans could
Market: Brazil a more modern communications interact with characters through
strategy. a Messenger chatbot and a song Takeaways
produced exclusively for the series
Beer brand Antarctica regained Insight was launched on Spotify. Modernise your brand’s
relevance in Brazil by adopting Brazil was undergoing recession and advertising approach.
a more modern communication an identity crisis, with corruption Results Leveraging new platforms
approach through a web and scandal in many sectors of while keeping the brand’s
series tackling topics close society. Brazilians began expressing unique tonality and
to its target’s hearts. themselves on social networks, 13.9% personality will lend it
discussing issues of character and increase in ad awareness greater relevance without
virtue. the risk of losing its identity.

Strategy 7.5% Rethink the role of TV: it can

be an advertising medium
The brand launched a web series increase in ‘for someone like me’
leading the audience to
which went beyond the superficial
your online content through
It was a very well done beer universe to address thought-
campaign, and in an engaging provoking issues. Antarctica’s 204% teasers and trailers.
format. It strikes a nice balance traditional TVC was dethroned increase in organic Google Blur the line between fiction
between the need for ultra-short and efforts were focused on social searches for Antarctica and reality by giving your
content and the demand for media channels to align with modern audience the chance to
more brand engagement. media consumption habits. TV and interact with the content and
Namita Mediratta – Global CMI cinemas only hosted trailers, acting VIEW FULL CASE STUDY the characters starring in it.
Director, Content, Unilever as advertising for the web series.

25 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter three:
Content must scale up to reach
its full potential
Put your money where your content is

Now that content has tapped into I have judged the WARC Awards’
Effective Content Strategy category
the power of ideas, Nick Kendall says twice now. The first year, I must
confess, I was disappointed by the
proper investment needs to support it to general quality of entries. There
ensure it can be consistent over time. were some great prize winners in
2017: Knorr’s Love at First Taste was
a big enough idea to last and last.
The MS bicycle idea left an indelible
image in my mind. KFC’s cheesy
lines were… well, gloriously cheesy. Source: Admap/Data2Decisions
I can still remember these cases
and still recommend them as ‘good these awards is the one offered by
reads’. They were exceptional but the Content Marketing Association
they were also, I fear, exception. itself. “Content is about sustained
So at WARC’s celebratory event attention, gaining your audience’s
reviewing the learnings I was, I am trust by drawing them into your
afraid, a bit of a humbug. Using brand’s community for a desirable
Nick Kendall is Founding
the famous chart (top right) as my amount of time.” Whether that makes
Partner of Broken, Electric
only slide, I ranted and reminded things clearer for you I will leave you
Glue and The Garage Soho
everyone of the proven importance to decide. What is clear for me is that
of creativity in securing an ROI. it tries to define the ‘content’ side of
I suggested that, all too often, it ‘content ideas’. Maybe what matters
seems papers are obsessed by ‘what more is the definition of an idea.
the pipes can do’ and not The Idea The definition of how and where an
itself. Maybe this is not surprising idea appears will keep on changing,
as it is an early discipline and we but the definition of an idea (and
therefore focus more on the ‘content’ the power of greatness to be the fly
part of our ‘content ideas’. Indeed, wheel of success) will not. “An idea
the definition of a ‘content idea’ for captures the audience’s interest,

27 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Put your money where your content is

influences their emotional response, often much less. Given the quality
and inspires them to action.” of many of the ideas in this year’s
In this year’s awards, I am pleased awards, I wonder if the time is right
to say, I saw lots of great ideas. My for a shift in perspective? Maybe
favourite (other than Coke’s Grand content should stop being the poor
Prix on page 20) was Slow Trends cousin and grow up to become the
(page 35) by Lebanese brand central player in a brand repertoire.
Connect. It got me thinking again. Many of the ideas here are capable
Slow Trends had no budget. The idea of that.
itself created its own audience – The Coke Grand Prix is an example
proof again of the capacity of ideas of one idea spawning many, STC’s The Live Love Laugh Foundation: "a deep thought that will take time to become a
to power their own media. But what Unveil Saudi (page 36) is a cultural norm"
would have happened if the power campaign that can become a long-
of media (and a budget) had been term positioning, while EGBank’s The them to the next level. Maybe more time – to become a cultural norm.
applied to the idea? One of the joys Chronicles of Oufa (page 23) could organisations need to develop Kitten Kollege (page 24) could be
of content is its ability to achieve run and run. If only these ideas were ‘dynamic’ or ‘performance-related’ the Open University of the ‘Caternet’
good things on small budgets. approached as more than a ‘one budgeting practices; with budgets if given long-term budget support.
Most of the papers in 2018 seemed off’, given more central importance being allocated as an idea takes Dear Younger Me (page 43) could
to arrive at their current content and funded with more budget! The hold. In the absence of this method, become a compelling series (a kind of
approach out of crisis: ‘budgets problem, I would guess, is one of old I can only hope that many of these Desert Island Discs) if given time to
were low’, ‘competitors dwarfed us’, practices behind new forms and, in ideas will be supported again next grow. Consistency – lest we forget at
‘times were desperate’, ‘we needed a this case, the old practice is setting year, and built upon, rather than our peril – is the baseline for brands.
different approach’, etc. budgets and fixing them at the start discarded as more digital landfill – True broadcast fame – lest we also
of a year. the equivalent of single-use plastics! forget – is the life blood of success.
A shift in perspective As a result, even though these Imagine what Nippon’s (page 31), Scaling, and scaling hard behind
It is noticeable that, of the 13 cases prove themselves to be or Maxis’ (page 30) campaigns proven success, is the new business
winners, nine enjoyed a budget effective at small budget levels, would look like with more investment. practice. Now content is growing up
of less than $500k. Two thirds of there seems to be no ‘new best Certainly Live Love Laugh’s Ask and finding ‘the power of ideas’. So
shortlisted papers claimed their practice’ of putting more money Again (page 29) is a deep thought let’s make sure we have ‘the power of
budget was $500k or less, and most behind the success in order to take that will take time – and should take media’ to drive them.

28 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation: Ask Again
Raising awareness of depression by showing the difference a simple question can make

Objectives skills to identify signs of depression.

SILVER In India, depression is the single On Facebook, it created a guide in 12
biggest cause of suicide, yet it languages on how to help a friend in
Agency: McCann Worldgroup isn’t acknowledged as a serious need, and it associated with online
Advertiser: The Live condition. The Live Love Laugh shopping portal Myntra to send
Love Laugh Foundation Foundation aimed to increase mental health literature with every
Market: India awareness of depression, drive visits order. All communication directed
to its online information centre and to the Foundation’s website, which
help normalise the subject. featured an interactive section to
Indian mental health charity Live help people better understand their
Love Laugh Foundation raised Insight state of mind as well as short reads Takeaways
awareness of depression and Research shows that the first step on topics related to mental health.
increased visits to its website by towards getting better is opening up, Awareness and education
creating a safer environment for but sufferers can find this impossible Results should always go hand in
sufferers of depression to open up. if they don’t feel that someone is hand when dealing with
willing to listen. sensitive topics. It is never
20m enough to communicate the
Strategy impressions need for more awareness
The Foundation urged people to of a problem: this has
‘Ask Again’ whenever they felt to be paired with useful
that someone had not answered 1,696% information and tools to
truthfully to the standard greeting increase in website visits overcome the issue.
It speaks to both parties – ‘How are you?’ A film showing the
the potentially depressed one need to ask again was launched on
and the one asking. It makes social media, while OOH and print 22
you wonder: ‘Could you live with featured real stories of people who new centres of treatment built
yourself if something was wrong fought depression. Partnering with
and you didn’t ask again?’ the Indian Medical Association, the
Mylene Ong – Head of Strategy, Foundation started a programme to VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
Colenso BBDO equip general physicians with the

29 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Maxis: 4G Films
Improving brand metrics and earning trust by showing the brand’s human value

Objectives Results
SILVER Looking to build trust, telco Maxis
decided to invest in emotive
Lead agencies: Ensemble brand-building, strengthening its 7pts
Worldwide, Initiative Malaysia relationship with consumers. increase in ‘network superiority’
Contributing agency: Mojo Films
Advertiser: Maxis (Maxis Berhad) Insight
Market: Malaysia Malaysians find it hard to 6pts
differentiate between telcos, and increase in ‘brand I trust’
choose on the basis of practical
Malaysian telco Maxis gained factors such as data, speed, and Takeaways
consumers’ trust through online price. However, they have to like and 14%
films depicting how its reliable trust a brand before they believe its increase in ‘willingness to pay more’ In categories where
network could strengthen superiority claims. differentiation is hard
human connections. and brands focus on
Strategy VIEW FULL CASE STUDY communicating product
The telco launched Maxis 4G Films, benefits, concentrate on
a series of online shorts inspired building an emotional bond
by powerful human connections. with your audience instead.
Stories of friendship, family,
Create real, relatable
promises, love and forgiveness all
content and people will
set the stage to show how a great
naturally identify with it and
internet connection can strengthen
share it organically.
It was smart that they moved human ones. Each film was timed to
away from a single-equity strategy coincide with spikes in ad viewing
and took an emotional road that and searching linked to festive
sums up all the functional features seasons, and shorter 30-second
the other telcos claim. versions were broadcast on TV
Mylene Ong – Head of Strategy, to drive conversations and online
Colenso BBDO searches.

30 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Nippon Pylox: If you can dream it, you can Pylox it
Increasing sales through identifying and connecting with the most relevant communities

Objectives demonstrations on how to best

BRONZE Nippon Paint Malaysia (NPM) needed use the product for their specific
to increase sales and product passions.
Lead agency: Ensemble Worldwide awareness for its spray paint variant,
Contributing agencies: Nippon Pylox, but had to do so with a Results
Sashimi Social, AdParlor small budget.
Advertiser: Nippon Pylox
(Nippon Paint Malaysia) Insight 41%
Market: Malaysia Using Google Keyword Planner, increase in sales
NPM identified three distinct user
segments: motorcyclists, cosplayers Takeaways
Spray paint brand Nippon Paint and graffiti artists. $27,500
Malaysia increased sales of earned media Be resourceful with a small
its Nippon Pylox product by Strategy budget: use freely available
partnering with influencers Through social listening, influencers tools such as Google
from the three communities that were identified within these three 133% Keyword Planner and
used spray paint the most. segments and videos were created growth in organic searches Facebook Audience Insights
to represent each community. The for Nippon Pylox to identify your target
30-second films were based on real audience. This way you will
stories from each influencer and focus your media spend
highlighted their experiences using VIEW FULL CASE STUDY effectively by only targeting
Nippon Pylox. From those videos, precise segments.
an open dialogue started on NPM’s
They were obviously up Facebook page to understand the
against it with budget and that's communities’ specific wants and
often where the best creativity needs for spray paint. Some of their
lies; when people have to do requests were then brought to life
a lot with not very much. and NPM sponsored one major
Bronwen Morgan – event from each segment. At these
Head of Content, Flamingo events, influencers gave talks and

31 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter four:
Content that creates a point of difference
Show, don’t tell

The Middle East and North Africa (Orange) to local upstarts (Mobily,
Telcos in the MENA region are Zain, Connect, du), they battle
(MENA) region is an incredibly
increasingly relying on content to connect dynamic, diverse and disparate fiercely on a range of aspects: speed,
region. From the bright lights of coverage, pricing…
with new audiences. Here, PHD UAE’s the gleaming Dubai megapolis Yet, this year’s Effective Content
to the olive tree-lined hillsides of Strategy category has brought to
Dan Shepherd examines why content is a light a growing trend. The use of
Lebanon and the bustling souqs of
powerful way to differentiate in such Tunisia, the Arab world has multiple content is spreading in the category
personalities. And some. and Arab telcos are using it cleverly
a commoditised sector. As a result, a multitude of to forge deeper connections with
nationalities call it home. And the users. Orange, STC and Connect
need to stay connected is deeply have, in their own unique ways,
felt. It’s no surprise that the Middle moved from the traditional boastful,
Eastern telecom market has seen one-up-manship approach to,
rapid growth. That said, internet instead, showing, rather than telling,
speeds aren’t consistent across the power of their products. To great
markets. If Saudi Arabia and the effect to boot. What’s interesting is
UAE boast some of the highest that, here again, there is diversity in
Dan Shepherd is Director,
smartphone penetration in the world the approach, highlighting the ever-
Digital Planning, PHD UAE
and fastest connection speeds, increasing options available in the
large areas of North Africa and modern marketer’s content toolkit.
Lebanon struggle with deep-rooted
infrastructure and connectivity Actions, not words
challenges. Just consider these three cases:
There is also much diversity in Orange’s 32-bit Hammam Fighter
the competitive landscape and mobile game in Tunisia, STC’s
the region encapsulates the whole travelogue in Saudi Arabia and
sweep of telco operators. From Connect’s witty send-up of the
state-run legacy operators (STC, famously glacial internet speeds in
Etisalat), international powerhouses Lebanon. Three distinct examples

33 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Show, don’t tell

with a common thread, innovative showed. After getting its consumers’ was cinematic in scope but also
content approaches that put attention through wit, it capitalised represented the building blocks of
the internet experience into the on it by demonstrating what a a content platform (page 36) that
consumer’s hands and bring their seamless experience, free from the should endure for years to come.
promises to life, with actions and dreaded ‘wheel of death’ of slow, No mean feat. It too cracked an
not words. buffering internet speeds, feels like. illuminating cultural insight, that in a
Orange’s off-the-wall retro-gaming Flipping this idea completely vast, and often concealed kingdom,
approach (page 37), a Tunisian on its head, Connect, a Lebanese many Saudis are not aware of the
Street Fighter, would have seemed telco, actively highlighted the daily rich, geographically diverse nature
a bold, radical step too far for most frustration of pedestrian internet of their own country. To shed light Orange: “off-the-wall
marketers, were it not built on such speeds and the impact these have on this, it didn’t tell consumers it retro-gaming approach”
solid consumer, product and cultural on people’s online enjoyment. With had the best nationwide mobile
insights as it is. It first identified Slow Trends (page 35), it made fun coverage. It proved it. STC sent increasingly, becoming the message.
the growing gaming trend among of people who discovered internet a fleet of travel writers, cultural But in a region with such disparity in
its core audience, digging deep to trends like the Harlem Shake or the influencers and photographers to internet connectivity, infrastructure
understand the appeal of a retro Ice Bucket Challenge years after the remotest and most beautiful and access, it is hugely encouraging
slant. It then further uncovered they were big. This neat sleight of parts of the country to report back, to see three different telcos in
the genuinely hilarious and utterly hand showed Connect’s effortless travel-diary style, on reasons to different countries take three wildly
locally compelling insight of the grasp of the location of its millennial visit. All this was shot, edited and different, yet insightful, boldly-
not-to-be-trifled-with women of the audience’s funny bone while playing uploaded via a smartphone. A conceived and confidently-executed
hammams (local baths), renowned on their FOMO. It also allowed smartphone connected to STC’s approaches to content marketing.
for their vigorous scrubbing, rubbing the telco to avoid the perennial unparalleled internet coverage, of Different they may be, but they’re
and drying skills. Combining all these quality proof trap that electronics course. Category leadership is not bound together by one overarching
insights into a pleasing, culturally companies fall into when they try to claimed but shown. realisation: showing is better than
relevant and highly addictive game show the superior quality of their LCD telling to get into consumers’ hands
wasn’t the point in itself. Running screens on the inferior TV screens in Wildly different approaches and hearts. In a sea of sameness,
it only on its superfast 4G network people’s living rooms. Go figure. With more and more of our daily littered by the debris of countless
was. It simply wouldn’t work on its As the clear, state-owned market media consumption coming through boastful claims, content makes
main rivals’ comparatively slow leader, STC had the boldest ambition our pocket oracles, it shouldn’t come impressive waves and ripples
network. Orange didn’t tell, it and it delivered content that as a huge surprise that the medium is, that last.

34 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Connect: Slow Trends
Challenger telco grows sales and market share through empathetic humour

Objectives dancing the Harlem Shake and

GOLD AND SMART Lebanon suffers from the world’s a 50-year-old man taking the
SPENDER SPECIAL AWARD slowest internet connection. Ice Bucket Challenge with goats
Independent telco Connect was bleating in the background. The
Agency: TBWA\RAAD committed to making Lebanese videos were seeded on YouTube and
Advertiser: Connect people’s future better and offered then shared on Connect’s Facebook
Market: Lebanon wireless solutions at a lower page, where they were served to
price than the leading duopoly users through geo-targeting. As the
of government-owned telcos, Ice Bucket Challenge protagonist Takeaways
Independent Lebanese telco but had only a fraction of the big gained popularity, the telco featured
Connect achieved increases in players’ budget. him in satirical memes around the Content still needs cultural
market share and sales through latest news. context. Understanding a
humorous videos poking fun at Insight culture and deciphering the
the country’s slow internet. Connect found that the most popular Results trends within it remains the
content among its target audience best way to resonate among
was that which addressed their daily the desired target audience.
struggles. Across a variety of topics, 257% Small budgets are no
the audience’s coping mechanism increase in sales
excuse: brands can
remained the same: with limited
still create memorable
means to improve their reality, they
laughed at it. 254% campaigns that achieve
tangible impact at
I liked how they spread the videos growth in market share
unprecedented efficiencies.
organically and didn’t go out with Strategy
the brand first. It seeped into the To humorously and cynically Don’t advertise, entertain.
culture, people created memes exaggerate the perils of slow 1m Create what people really
featuring the characters from internet, Connect created two impressions want to watch: genuine,
the videos – the brand language videos showing viral trends from relatable content rather than
became part of culture. 2013 and 2014 arriving in Lebanon polished perfection.
Aliya Hasan – Head of Strategy, late due to the slow internet. VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
Vizeum Australia Unscripted films featured fishermen

35 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Saudi Telecom Company: Unveil Saudi
Proving network strength through never-before-seen content

Objectives for outdoor advertising, TVCs,

GOLD AND LONG-TERM IDEA Saudi Telecom Company (STC) faced and across social media assets
SPECIAL AWARD increasing competition over its claim highlighting the strength of the
to have the widest network coverage network and encouraging the
Agency: J. Walter Thompson in the Kingdom. Rather than compete audience to explore and share. A
Advertiser: Saudi on who could claim to have the collaboration with the Ministry of
Telecom Company widest coverage the loudest, STC Education resulted in an immersive
Market: Saudi Arabia decided to actually demonstrate VR experience in schools and
network strength to reassert universities, and the content was
leadership. also used by the Ministry of Tourism Takeaways
Leading telco operator Saudi to promote Saudi Arabia.
Telecom Company increased Insight It’s important to connect
perception of network strength Most of Saudi Arabia remains Results with your audience on a
through live broadcasting from the unexplored, even to Saudis. With human level. People still love
Kingdom’s most remote locations. Unveil Saudi, STC set out to prove to see interesting places and
its wider coverage by broadcasting 17% hear personal stories.
live from some of the Kingdom’s increase in perception
Platforms, as opposed to
most remote locations, uncovering of network strength
one-off campaigns, lead
the country’s hidden beauty in the
to long-term equity for the
320m brand, opening doors to
partnerships and fostering
Strategy media impressions
social media engagement.
With a team of local photographers
and leading influencers, the telco Continuously communicating
headed to these areas and captured $1.7m brand strengths can have
Rather than just telling people scenes that had never been shot PR value a diminishing effect: create
they had the best connection, before to then broadcast them content that tangibly
they genuinely showed it. live online using STC’s network. To demonstrates your claims.
Dan Shepherd – Director, maximise reach and amplify the VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
Digital Planning, PHD UAE campaign, STC used the content

36 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Orange: The Hammam Fighter
Proving network strength by mirroring a local reality

Objectives Hammam Fighter. The campaign

GOLD Youth, the main drivers of the telco ran exclusively on social media, with
sector, tend to buy more from a a teaser video tracing the story of
Lead agency: FP7/TUN brand when they spend time with it, the rivalry between the two Harzas
Contributing agencies: so Orange decided to show them the launched on Facebook and YouTube.
UM MENA, Banni Banni, Atelier216 speed of its 4G through an engaging Various opinion leaders endorsed
Advertiser: Orange product demonstration. the game across their channels,
Market: Tunisia and the Harzas became so popular
Insight that they participated to Tunisia’s
Young Tunisians were developing Comic-Con. Takeaways
Global telco Orange launched a fascination with retro games, and
its 4G services in Tunisia with especially Street Fighter, which Results Earn consumers’ love
a game that appealed to the featured characters from different and trust by showing
youth and earned the brand countries around the world, each understanding of local
a lift in health metrics. with their unique fighting style and 19% realities.
moves. Upon hearing that the game’s Tunisian youth became
Create content that lives
developers were planning to launch active players
beyond its original platform.
two new mysterious characters,
When the audience finds the
Orange imagined them to be Tunisian.
$1m+ content engaging, they share
it and take it into places you
Strategy earned media
could have not imagined.
The brand created its own version
I've never ever seen gamification of Street Fighter which, due to Product demonstrations
locally done. There’s a lot to learn. its complexity, could only work 39% don’t have to be technical
If we're thinking about how we can seamlessly on the fast Orange increase in ‘top of mind’ and dull: look for the insight
lead the way on industry trends, 4G network. The fiery characters behind an entertaining
this is clearly the kind of work competing against each other behaviour and find a place
that deserves an award. were Harzas, Turkish bath workers VIEW FULL CASE STUDY for your product within it.
Namita Mediratta – Global CMI famous for fighting to steal each
Director, Content, Unilever other’s clients, hence the name, The

37 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter five:
Content that engages new audiences
People-first content engages new audiences

We’ve all heard the catch phrases where way too much content is just
Vizeum Australia’s Aliya Hasan writes ‘stuff’ that’s bolted on to a larger
around content – being ‘king’,
that good content can become even more ‘omnipresent ‘, ‘marketing nirvana’ campaign, these brands put their
and everything else in between. best foot forward using a central
effective when it champions a consumer Content has typically tried to pull content strategy with a distinctive
itself apart from advertising but the purpose linked to their business goals
perspective as well as being clearly aligned of unlocking new audiences. They
line sometimes blurs. Brands get
to a brand or product truth. caught up in the desire for greater also identified a human experience-
exposure and see content as a led insight, strong enough to evoke
shortcut to engagement. an emotional response through the
That’s when the wheat needs to delivery of their idea.
separate itself from the chaff and
the need for good content comes Reframing romance
in. Good content isn’t disguised Among those brands that did this
advertising, it primarily stems from well was Hinge (page 41), which
the world of the consumer, not identified that the modern dating
the brand and, most importantly, experience was in fact creating
it doesn’t drive engagement anxiety and leading to shallow
Aliya Hasan is Head of
by default, it earns it through interactions that were more
Strategy at Vizeum Australia
craftsmanship and storytelling. ‘gamified’ than romantic.
The brand has a critical role to play Its purpose was to reframe the
in providing context and validity to category. It bucked the trend of
the content itself. Good content short, snackable content and instead
becomes even more effective when showcased the warm, personable
it is aligned and relevant to a brand or and caring relationships it could
product truth as well as championing help build (through its differentiated
a consumer perspective. offering). It took the conversation to
These are all ingredients this year’s new audiences who were seeking
Effective Content Strategy winners meaningful relationships. It opened
had in common. Amidst a landscape doors for those who might have been

39 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
People-first content engages new audiences

sceptical – perhaps even dismissive

– of dating apps for the very reason
that millions of others flock to them.

Shifting perceptions
to create demand
i-can (page 42) ventured into the
very foundations of deep-seated
fears within the Indian female psyche
of what it means to be a dutiful wife.
More importantly, it put a mirror to
the men in a poignant way that was
simply impossible to ignore. Hinge: “showcased the warm, personable i-can: “put a mirror to the men in a poignant Emirates NBD: “managed to inspire and
It purposefully designed a way and caring relationships it could help build” way that was simply impossible to ignore” recruit a whole new generation”
to create a shift in perceptions
surrounding contraceptive use to to be preached to by previous blended with a people-first been previously unfamiliar. It can
create a demand for its product by generations? And who would have mentality. They also successfully often be more trusted and disarming
reminding users of the need they thought that a country like Egypt created a holistic content than traditional advertising. Effective
always had but weren’t confident would marginalise its young people? ecosystem and disseminated it in a content provides value back to its
enough to express. The content’s Not only did Emirates NBD listen, way that was conducive to discovery audience. It is at its most potent
influence extended not just to the it also acted. The bank showed rather than interruption. These when it serves a role beyond the
female users themselves but their empathy, which is atypical for the campaigns showed off content brand or the product. It thrives when
partners too. category. In turn, that managed strategically rather than tactically. it is entertaining, inspiring, informing,
to inspire and recruit a whole new They offer valuable lessons to those or simply finding its unique way to
Inspiring and recruiting youth generation. looking to start richer conversations make people feel something and
Emirates NBD (page 43) is also with people and creating a positive draw them in.
worth acknowledging. Who would Content done well, does well impact on their business outcomes. Put simply, content done well,
have thought that today’s youth – All three of these winning case Content can provide an accessible does well. It can truly be a powerful
which is so often dubbed ‘idealistic studies exemplify content with platform for new audiences to weapon in a marketer’s arsenal when
and entitled’ – would have wanted a clear and compelling purpose experience brands that might have wielded skilfully.

40 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Hinge: Escape the Dating Apocalypse
Repositioning of dating app doubles user base

Objectives animated film depicting a world

SILVER Dating app Hinge had set out to of zombie-like daters relentlessly
build a product and brand that would swiping in a bleak carnival. This dark
Lead agency: the STUDIO encourage relationships, but it universe was juxtaposed to Hinge’s
Contributing agency: Red Antler had fallen into the category’s trap world, featuring romantic and
Advertiser: Hinge (Justin McLeod of gamification, abundance and pastoral imagery as well as tropes
and various individual investors) objectification. Looking to go back to from iconic 80s love stories like Dirty
Market: United States the app’s original vision, Hinge aimed Dancing and Ghost.
to increase downloads and distance
itself from the mindless swiping that Results
Dating app Hinge doubled its user discourages real-world connections. Takeaways
base in the US by positioning itself
as a relationship app through Insight 15% Sometimes it’s not
an online animated video. Swiping apps are not successful increase in new members necessary to show how your
because they help users find product works to promote it:
relationships, they are successful memorable content can be a
because they maximise user 2x compelling reason for trial.
engagement (and therefore user base in six months
Daring to disrupt category
advertising revenue). The interface
norms can pay dividends
of swiping apps is designed to
if the strategy is rooted in
trigger the same neurobiological VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
solid insight and backed up
mechanisms as a slot machine
by research.
but, despite the countless
matches, among users looking for
It ticked all the things that relationships, only 18% have found
you need to do in order to be even one relationship, ever.
successful in the content space.
Michael Davidson – Associate Strategy
Partner & Head of Strategy, Hinge’s strategy was to go beyond
Venables Bell & Partners ‘games’ and it created an online

41 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
i-can: Fair Sex Fair Say
Contraceptive brand doubles sales of a controversial product by encouraging self-reflection

Objectives encouraged to pledge their support

BRONZE Leading contraceptive brand and were directed to i-can’s website,
i-can was hindered by government where they could access information
Agency: McCann Worldgroup regulations which banned about contraception. The film was
Advertiser: advertising for its i-pill on the basis launched on Twitter, engaging 400
i-can (Piramal Healthcare) of claims such as “it encourages influencers to drive conversations,
Market: India promiscuity among millions of while Facebook was used to spread
youngsters.” i-can needed to arrest the message further.
i-pill’s decline in market share,
Contraceptive brand i-can almost but it was operating in a sensitive Results
doubled sales of its i-pill through an category, where legislation was
online video sensitising men to the against it and talking about the
importance of using contraception. subject was taboo. Sales Takeaways
almost doubled
Insight after three months Addressing taboo topics
Research uncovered that the is tricky. Rather than
majority of Indian women felt encouraging rebellion, try
their husbands were generally 750% and create a safe space for
considerate and caring, but increase in website traffic dialogue and self-reflection.
asserted their will when it came to
Social media is an effective
contraception, stripping women of
decision-making power. 234% tool to achieve broad reach,
but when having to raise
It’s a topic you can’t talk increase in queries
awareness of an issue it
about or advertise, so the way Strategy to i-can’s helpline
is not enough on its own.
they tackled it was interesting The brand set out to make men
Make sure all social content
and the results they got were sensitive to the issue and created an
directs to an information hub
powerful. This is a platform online film showing women delivering VIEW FULL CASE STUDY
with educational material.
they could go forward with. some oft-used excuses for not using
Lindsay Landy – contraception in a man’s voice. At
Planning Partner, Ogilvy the end of the video, people were

42 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Emirates NBD: Dear Younger Me…
Earning customers through relevant content rather than ads

Objectives messages were also published in an

BRONZE With no bank in the market offering a exclusive collector’s edition book
fully-fledged banking solution for the for youth prospects. Mentoring
Agency: Momentum Egypt youth, in 2016 Emirates NBD launched workshops were held at universities
Advertiser: Emirates NBD a youth banking package, but a year and youth hotspots, while key bank
Market: Egypt on there were no signs of evident branches were transformed into
growth. Emirates set out to build an youth networking hubs. Egyptian
emotional connection with the youth. celebrities organically shared their
New to Egypt, bank Emirates own messages of inspiration and a
NBD increased youth customer Insight Snapchat branded content series Takeaways
acquisitions through branded With 53% of Egypt’s population showed young Egyptians making the
content that resonated under 25 years of age, the youth most of their lives with Emirates NBD. Rather than trying to sell your
with them emotionally. are the country’s future. However, product to an audience, show
due to Egypt’s ongoing political and Results them you understand them
economic instability, the youth’s and they will naturally be
confidence in the country’s future drawn to your brand. Relevant
was at an all-time low and Egyptian 1,876 and useful content will be
banks ignored them, seeing them as new customers in six months more effective than ads.
neither profitable nor of high value.
Occasions, such as
It felt like a breath of fresh Strategy 2,423% Ramadan, see brands
fighting for attention
air for a financial services Emirates NBD conducted a increase in monthly youth
through clichéd advertising.
brand to embrace the plight of behavioural psychology experiment, customer acquisitions
Sometimes it is more
a generation and think about asking Egyptians aged between 35
profitable to break away
how to use that pass-along of and 40 what advice they would give
wisdom to help people along the their younger selves. The messages 1,652% from conventional occasion
advertising and instead
path. That insight was strong. of encouragement were crafted increase in Facebook engagement
focus on what your audience
Michael Davidson – Associate into branded online documentaries
really wants.
Partner & Head of Strategy, featuring young influencers and
Venables Bell & Partners entrepreneurs from Egypt. The VIEW FULL CASE STUDY

43 Effective Content Strategy Report 2018 © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
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