Sydney agency, Affinity was Australia’s most successful agency at the 2020 IPA Effectiveness Awards with two awards and was named also Best International.
As well as the Best International special prize, Affinity won one of only five Silvers for its Central Coast Have a Little Adventure campaign for Tourism Central Coast. It is the only Australian agency to win an award and a special honour in each of the past three editions of the biannual awards (and to date, the only Australian agency to win Gold at the IPAs).
The agency beat a field of sixty-four from eight countries including campaigns for Britain’s NHS and Royal Navy, Audi, Formula 1, Heinz, Lloyd’s Bank, L’Oreal Paris, Samsung, Tesco, Volvo and the United Nations at the awards that recognise work proven to have achieved outstanding results. Agencies and clients must demonstrate the clear payback earned from their marketing and communications activity and investment.
Affinity’s campaign for the Central Coast shifted long-entrenched perceptions of the area from a downmarket ‘bogan’ destination with its new positioning to woo visitors from Sydney. Its novel data approach distinguished claimed from actual behaviour and a new insight was created to become the foundation of the brand platform and campaign which spanned digital, TV, PR and outdoor. By inspiring ‘little adventures’ across the Central Coast, tourism revenues grew 22.7% in 2017-19 (compared to a target of 5%), contributing A$240m of additional tourism revenue into the area over two years.
Luke Brown, chief executive officer of Affinity, stated, “The IPA Awards are the ultimate test of effectiveness with multiple levels of auditing and requiring demanding econometric modelling to prove results. You can’t fudge that. We are thrilled to be honoured again by the IPA and proud to continue our track record as the most successful agency in Australia in the world’s toughest effectiveness awards. In the end, it doesn’t matter how good an idea is or how brilliant the creative looks if it doesn’t deliver measurable outcomes.
“The Central Coast definitely had big hurdles to overcome. We adopted an evidence-based approach from the outset. With data at its core, we built a bullet-proof business case and identified a brand positioning that would go on to deliver the very real perception change we needed and incredible growth in tourism for the region.”
Awards judging panel member, Tesco group brand director, Michelle McEttrick applauded Affinity’s “excellent use of data to home in on the positioning, looking hard at stated versus observed behaviour” and “clear use of a single distinctive brand asset to drive difference”. She stated, “The fact that they sold an increase of A$17 million in tourism for the region during their market testing was really impressive and I loved the way they described that, which is ‘we earned as we learned’.”
Tourism Central Coast, Director, industry services and partnerships Russell Mills, added, “Working with Affinity, we learned very much that the small details matter, and can make the difference to produce huge impacts – the legacy of which will help the region for years to come.”
This latest win follows Affinity’s wins at the American Marketing Effectiveness Awards earlier this year in which it ranked 7th most effective agency globally, and follows September’s appointments of Will Nichols as chief strategy officer and co-founder, Angela Smith, to the new role of chief brand officer.