Tourette Syndrome Foundation Campaign Earns Best of Show at 2013 Media Innovation Awards

It seems fitting that on the day Twitter made business headlines around the world for its successful public offering, a Twitter-based campaign won Best of Show at the 2013 Media Innovation Awards.

“Surrender Your Say,” created by Saatchi & Saatchi for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, took home the top honour during a gala dinner awards show at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto Thursday night.

Produced by Marketing, the Media Innovation Awards is Canada’s premier media planning and buying awards program, honouring the great and growing role that media plays in marketing, and the strategic and innovative ways media professionals enhance advertiser’s messages.

The “Surrender Your Say” campaign brilliantly and simply used Twitter to give people a small taste of what it felt like to have Tourette Syndrome. Anyone who signed up could experience the same lack of control and anxiety of those living with Tourette Syndrome by randomly and temporarily losing control of their Twitter accounts.

Thousands signed up and allowed the Foundation to tweet tic-like posts directly into their Twitter feeds for 24 hours. The campaign generated huge awareness, with nearly 9,000 participants who had tweets sent out to four million followers, generating 100 million impressions. The campaign was reported by CNN, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CBC, Huffington Post and CTV News.

“This was a campaign that I was jealous of and wished that I had been part of,” said Jake Norman, president and chief strategy officer of Mindshare Canada and jury co-chair.

“In a world that is increasingly complex with approaching infinite opportunity, the work was daring in its simplicity and brilliant in the way that it leveraged true channel understanding to perfectly deliver the marketing objective 140 characters at a time.”

Aside from Best of Show, the campaign won gold in Social Media and gold in Charities, Health Care and Safety and Public Awareness Messages.

In total, 32 golds were awarded. The night’s other big winner was The Movie Out Here by Grip Ltd. for Labatt, which enjoyed taking home an impressive four golds

“Across the board we saw some brilliant ideas and executions that paint a rosy picture of our industry,” added Norman. “Some of the work was impressive in its magnitude while other work was impressive for its daring simplicity.”

“When looking for winners, we used a filter of not just genuine innovation but also innovative approaches,” said MIAs co-chair Hope Bagozzi, director of national marketing for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. “We tried to distill the media execution from the creative execution and placed a great importance on the link between the business opportunity and how the media execution drove business results.”

In total, more than 440 entries were submitted to the 2013 MIAs. Other big winners on the night included:

  • “Budweiser Red Light” for Labatt Breweries and UM Canada won two golds and one silver.
  • James Ready and Leo Burnett won five medals in total; two golds for “James Ready 50% Awesomer Coasters” and one gold, one silver and one bronze for “James Ready Cover Photo Swap.”
  • The Missing Children Society of Canada and Grey Canada won four awards together: two golds for “Milk Carton 2.0” as well as a gold and a silver for “World’s Most Valuable Check-In.”
  • “The Undeading” by Agency59 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation won two golds and one silver.
  • Two golds went to Starcom MediaVest Group and Microsoft for “Restarting Canada’s Start Screens.”
  • “smart city Project” also won two golds, awarded to OMD and its client smart car Canada, (Mercedes-Benz).

In terms of noteworthy agency tallies, Leo Burnett won or shared 10 awards (three were won jointly with Jungle Media for IKEA work) including four golds, while OMD also won 10 medals in total, three of which were gold.