Nikki Wicks
Dec 9, 2014

Cleverest buoy: Optus campaign wins top Warc Innovation prize

'Clever buoy', the shark-detector campaign for Australian mobile provider Optus, won the Grand Prix at the 2014 Warc Prizes for Innovation overnight in London. Work from Asia-Pacific also won three out of five Gold awards.

Optus: Clever buoy shark detector
Optus: Clever buoy shark detector

Developed by Optus and M&C Saatchi Sydney, the 'Clever bouy' detects sharks and sends real-time alerts to lifeguards. The Warc prize adds to a number of awards for the campaign, including an Innovation award and a bronze in the digital category at Spikes Asia 2014.

By helping to improve safety in Australia’s waters, Optus became a cultural hit, and the campaign reached more than 19 million people on social media, earning media coverage and demonstrating the value of the client's network.

The campaign also won one of five gold Warc awards.


The gold winners with Asia-Pacific ties were:

  • 'Kan Khajura Station', an entertainment channel from Hindustan Unilever accessible via mobile and based around missed calls, which took the Channel Innovation Award. The campaign had previously picked up the Grand Prix at the 2014 Warc Asia Strategy awards.
  • 'Lifebuoy', the Unilever soap brand, also picked up a gold for its ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ campaign which set out to save lives and increase sales in India, focusing on the children of a single Indian village.
  • 'Game of phones', an entertaining mobile game for Virgin Mobile Australia by Starcom MediaVest Group.

A total of 17 entries, from a shortlist of 28, won gold, silver and bronze awards. The winners represent seven different markets: Australia, Brazil, India, Peru, Romania, the UAE and the UK.

Commenting at the awards announcement, Nigel Jones, global chief strategy officer at FCB Global, pointed to "utility" as a theme that emerged from this year's entries. "Most of the winning case studies have utility built into them," he said. "Utility is a big part of innovation today. When I came into the industry it was more about insight."

Daniele Fiandaca, former head of innovation at Cheil Worldwide, said that the advertising industry had failed to keep up with innovation in other sectors. "There is a risk that people see tech as innovation," she said. "But innovation doesn't have to involve tech. Quite a few entries on the shortlist did not use technology."

Here is the full list of winners:


Optus: Clever buoy 
M&C Saatchi Sydney / Optus / Australia
(Also winner of the Product or Service Innovation Award)


Kan Khajura Station: From the 'dark' to connectivity
Lowe & Partners and PHD India / Unilever India / India
(Also winner of the Channel Innovation Award

The University of Engineering and Technology Admissions: Potable water generator
MediaConnection BPN and FCB MAYO / The University of Engineering and Technology / Peru
(Also winner of the Technology-led Innovation Award

Lifebuoy: Help a child reach 5
Lowe Lintas + Partners / Unilever / Brazil, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia

SmartLife: SAPNA – how 17,793 nails changed the future of generations to come

FP7/DXB (Part of McCann Worldgroup) / SmartLife / United Arab Emirates

Virgin Mobile Australia: Game of Phones

Starcom MediaVest Group / Virgin Mobile Australia / Australia


Audi: Instant valuation billboard

ALMAP BBDO / Audi / Brazil

Depaul UK: Don't raise money, make money

Publicis London / Depaul International / United Kingdom
(Also winner of the Category Innovation Award

Mercedes A Class: #YouDrive

AMVBBDO / Mercedes-Benz / United Kingdom

Ponle Corazón: Searching for hearts
MediaConnection BPN and FCB MAYO / Peruana de Cáncer / Peru

The University of Engineering and Technology Admissions: 1200 trees-like purifying billboard

MediaConnection BPN and FCB MAYO / The University of Engineering and Technology / Peru


Antarctica: Beer ticket
ALMAP BBDO / AmBev / Brazil

Coca-Cola: Two Worlds. One Song.

FP7/DXB (Part of McCann Worldgroup) / Coca-Cola Middle East / Middle East

Colgate Equity: Grinners are winners

George Patterson Young & Rubicam Sydney and VML / Colgate / Australia

Mercedes-Benz: Sound with power

AMVBBDO / Mercedes-Benz / United Kingdom

SmartLife: Adopt-a-labourer's hello education

FP7/DXB (Part of McCann Worldgroup) / SmartLife / United Arab Emirates

Vodafone: Ghita the social shepherd
BVMcCann Erickson Romania / Vodafone Romania / Romania



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