The Hong Kong 4As announced the winners of the 2019 Hong Kong Effie Awards Wednesday evening in a ceremony at the Kerry Hotel.
The Grand Effie went to 'The Algorithm Agent' for Standard Chartered Bank by TBWA, iProspect, Carat and Google.
That same campaign won a gold, alongside two different McDonald's campaigns:
|Restaurants / Fast Food||McDonald’s x Chef Nic My Taste of Hong Kong||McDonald’s – Signature Collection||MHK Restaurants Limited||
Lead Agency: DDB Group Hong Kong
Media Partner: OMD Hong Kong
|Data-Driven||Anticipating Hungry Moments||McDelivery||MHK Restaurants Limited||Lead Agency: OMD Hong Kong|
|Data-Driven||The Algorithm Agent||Simply Cash Credit Card||Standard Chartered Bank||
Lead Agency 1: TBWA Hong Kong
Lead Agency 2: iProspect Hong Kong
Media Partner 1: Carat Hong Kong
Media Partner 2: Google Hong Kong
In addition there were two silver, eight bronze and 14 merit awards.
The ceremony was preceeded by a conference featuring speakers from Ketchum, Publicis, Chinese University of Hong Kong, ViuTV, Think Again Growth, Microsoft, Manulife and Google.
In one panel discussion, members of the jury discussed the year's crop of entries. "I think we stack up [against other markets] in the sense of having sharper and sharper strategies," said Mike Wong, professor of practice in the school of journalism and communication at Chinese Hong Kong University (and a longtime Hong Kong adman). "People really think hard these days. ... One thing I can put on a little bit harsher face is, i'm still waiting to be surprised in terms of ideas, which I think is what this market should push for."
Wong drew a comparison to the UK, which although a relatively small market, is still considered a center of creativity and excels at a global level, suggesting that there's no reason Hong Kong can't aspire to the same creative excellence.
Simeon Mellalieu, partner at Ketchum, praised the "fabulous" strength of the entries overall, which made the competition "a joy" to judge.
"We saw a number of cases where technology and algorithms were being used to personalise content at just the right time to influence consideration, intent and purchase decisions. As a collective panel of judges, we all recognise that we're going to see a lot of more of this contextual, programmatic advertising in the future. But, however fanciful or however high-tech the technology actually becomes, that alone is not enough to win judges' favour. The best cases paired consumer or industry tension points with a genuine product challenge plus technological advancement."
Many of the entries skewed toward young targets, and the millennial cohort was the one most frequently identified, Mellaliue observed. No doubt that is a valid choice in many cases, but it also raises questions, he said. We asked Mellalieu to elaborate in an interview after the panel.
In addition, Mellalieu expressed concern over another aspect of choosing target audiences. "I tend to be very sceptical when we're targeting 'everybody'. Surely we're diminishing our effectiveness if we're trying to target everybody from 8 to 80. Is that not a misappropriation of budget if we're going that scattershot in what we're doing?"
Finally, the judges preferred seeing a singular creative idea applied consistently across all channels, rather than little bits of a creative idea parceled out in different channels, Mellalieu said.