Finding the good stuff to celebrate in 2020 might seem a tough challenge - like 2020 itself. It’s been a difficult year for our entire industry, and beyond. It’s been one of the most - if not the most - challenging years we’ve ever faced as a business. But there’s also a whole lot to be thankful for.
The way our team has rallied together to help each other, our clients, and the wider industry cope with the fallout that Covid-19 has brought upon us has been outstanding. In most markets, we’ve bounced back to be just as busy (or more) as we were this time last year.
We’re also fortunate that, despite the current circumstances, we’ve been able to produce some of the work we’re most proud of in 2020. So as the year comes to a close, here are some of the moments we can celebrate.
Our work: social innovations, brand building, entertainment and more
We’ve been true to our name - 2020 has indeed been social. Experimenting on emerging platforms, making best in class work on the most established, and using social media for good; we’ve done it all. These are just a snapshot of the work that’s come from our 15 offices around the world.
One of our standout campaigns of 2020 has to be #GlobalPrideCrossing. A virtual Pride event held in the game Animal Crossing kept the spirit of community alive for LGBTQIA+ people everywhere, at a time when IRL Pride parades weren’t possible, and resulted in more than 1 million minutes watched across Twitch, Facebook and YouTube.
Our UK team gave unknowing streamers their six seconds of fame on Twitch for UberEats and created a Snapchat AR lens that educated the world on social distancing as the pandemic broke. We took on TikTok, and won global audiences: both #PlayWithPringles challenge and Socialize’s Saudi Arabia-focused brand building work with Bugles achieved 1 billion+ views.
We’ve also been working with clients to entertain and unite audiences under difficult circumstances. One of our biggest campaigns was this feel-good social moment: check out how our Italy team helped Barilla and Roger Federer win the hearts of tennis and pasta fans the world over below.
During lockdown we helped Audi bring the joy of the open road into the homes of Australians (and everyone else round the world!) with a 4-hour long, ‘slow TV’ drive through the great Australian outdoors, racking up 595k minutes viewed. We even made an Amazon Prime documentary for Lavazza in Italy.
Our socially-led approach has helped our clients participate in culture in a relevant and effective way. We promoted Zalando’s #FreeToBe positioning in multiple markets. In France we ran an interactive ‘social out of home’ campaign which saw influencers join the fight to (literally) break down fashion stereotypes in the French market. In Spain, we closed the year out by helping Google launch two new products from the Google Home family, with a content campaign where the products helped talent to achieve their goals using the Google Assistant.
We created the #FourRingsChallenge in Germany, encouraging Audi’s community to use their downtime creatively by building Audi’s famous four rings at home in their own unique way, and had a lot of fun creating its Giphy Garage.
We worked with dating app Bumble in the US to bring a breath of fresh air to followers’ feeds with powerful mantras and affirmations that align with its mission and values and we partnered with Sam’s Club to celebrate the craft that each product buyer brings to their job every day. In Canada, we partnered with Truss Beverages to launch 13 new Cannabis beverages at height of the pandemic, using a community focused approach, and exceeded our launch goals after just a month.
We connected Japanese traditional cultures of “folding” and “layering” into athlete’s emotions for Asics, creating an emotional short film that portrays all athlete’s hopes. And our China team worked with partners from different creative disciplines to demonstrate the power of Acer’s ConceptD devices in their ‘Creativity Decoded’ campaign, generating 40 million video views and 1.5 million ad clicks.
New trophies in the cabinet
Earlier this year I shared an update reflecting on the first half of 2020 - the amazing work we’ve created, and the awards we’ve won as a result. Since then, we’ve received more recognition from the industry - thanks to the hard work of our teams around the world.
At this year’s Shorty Social Good Awards, our team in Sydney took home a Gold in the Multi-Platform Campaign category for their work with DiDi, while the Singapore team’s #GobalPrideCrossing campaign was a winner in the Games category, won a Silver in the Pro Bono section, and was recognised as a finalist in the 'Best in LGBTQ+'.
The Animal Crossing-based activation was also named Advertising Campaign of the Year by PinkNews (a UK-based LGBTQIA+ publication) at its annual PinkNews Awards - both the nomination and results were largely driven by public vote; and also won a silver in the Effective Use of Tech category at this year's extremely prestigious WARC Media Awards.
In Milan, the team scooped an incredible 21 prizes at this year's ADCI Awards - including Best of YouTube for their campaign, 'The Rooftop Match', with Barilla and Roger Federer; along with a Silver award at Festival of Media for their Sensitive Rooms activation for Ikea. ‘The Rooftop Match’ campaign also won a bronze at this year's Eurobest Awards.
Our team in Paris also picked up a Silver in the Creativity category at the Digital Innovation Awards for their #NoBuildChallenge; a Gold in the Grand Prix du Brand Content Awards for their Zalando #FreeToBe; and a Silver and two Bronze awards at the Grand Prix Strategies du Digital. In Munich, the We Are Social Sport team and Peak Performance landed a Silver at the German Prize for Online Communication Awards.
And finally, in London, our junior creative team, Scarlet Pughe and Chloë Gray were included among Campaign magazine's 20 Cream winners - an annual competition to discover breakthrough creative talent in advertising; and Account Director Rich Burgess was named as one of Campaign's Faces to Watch in 2020.
Educating and Inspiring
We’ve been working to keep the industry informed during a tumultuous and indeed, unprecedented year. We launched Do The Right Thing to help brands communicate in the wake of the pandemic, and Creating in a Crisis to better understand how the influencer landscape was changing. Our Unprecedented? webinar series assessed how much longevity changing behaviours were likely to have after lockdown.
From future gazing to the practical 101s, our webinars and online workshops from all over the world (all of which were completely free to attend) saw more than 4,000 people come through our digital doors. Our Black Perspectives IG Live series saw us put Black voices front and centre and celebrate being Black in the industry.
We also continued to publish our annual flagship reports. Both have gone from strength to strength; Global Digital Report is a bible for the marketing world and pulls in millions of views and downloads every year. Meanwhile, 1,000 people tuned in to hear more about the trends we think will impact the industry next year in our Think Forward webinar.
Looking forward to 2021
None of this would be possible without the brilliant teams we have all over the world. I’m so proud to be part of an agency with such talented forward thinkers, setting the standard for socially-led creative work the world over. As we leave 2020 behind us and, hopefully, the strange, challenging times that we’ve all faced, I’m confident that We Are Social has a very bright future ahead.
Nathan McDonald is Co-Founder and Group CEO of We Are Social.
Want to be part of our team? Check out our current vacancies here.