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Warc Media Awards: Effective Use of Partnerships & Sponsorships revealed

Mars-owned confectionary brand M&Ms, retailer John Lewis, tea brand Brooke Bond Red Label, and the US Army win Golds

The results of the Effective Use of Partnerships & Sponsorships category of Warc's Media Awards, a global competition recognising communications planning that has made a positive impact on business results, are announced.

The international 10-member jury chaired by Ron Amram, VP Media of Heineken USA, have awarded four Golds, two Silvers and one Bronze in the Best Use of Partnerships & Sponsorships category, honouring how collaborations with third parties, including native advertising and sponsorships, have helped brands meet business goals.

Mars-owned confectionery brand M&Ms celebrated its 75th anniversary by using digital partnerships to reinvent its iconic Candyman song, which helped it to engage millennials and reverse a sales decline. The campaign was through BBDO New York and MediaCom. Anna Watkins, partner, Mofilm, and Warc Media Awards judge commented: "The results were stellar. Even though a lot of the other sponsorships were beautifully executed, this also delivered innovation and results."

Manning Gottlieb OMD's partnership between Age UK and John Lewis that highlighted the social problem of older people being alone at Christmas was another gold winner. "This partnership was a genuine and authentic way to make people think about an issue that's not easy to talk about," said judge Kerry Hemmerich, EVP, Group Client Director, Spark SMG.

Hindustan Unilever-owned India Brooke Bond Red Label (BBRL) Tea used the power of popular culture and a partnership with Y-Films to highlight the social issue of discrimination against India's transgender community. The '6 Pack Brand' initiative impressed judges, winning it a gold in this category as well as in the Best Use of Data category. Brandon Keenen, Brand Partnerships, Europe, Buzzfeed, said: "This musical collaboration was risky in a conservative country but it was a great use of local content and was really impactful, achieving more for the transgender community than for the brand itself."

Also winning a gold was The US army through its partnership with the movie Independence Day: Resurgence. Through MRM//McCann, this campaign helped the army to increase its recruitment rate and change perceptions. Consultant Brian Goldstein, who was on the judging panel, said: "They identified a really unique way in and made people stop and look at them."

Two gaming led campaigns won silvers in this category: Under Armour's Game Changer campaign, through Optimum Sports and Droga5, where the sportswear brand powered up the Under Armour-sponsored basketball player Stephen Curry in the NBA 2K video game series. And Nissan Controller, through OMD Finland and TBWA Helsinki, which saw the car brand grow test drive requests through an innovative partnership with PlayStation, entertainment company Konami and UEFA Champions League.

P&G Prestige won a bronze for Smell My Neck, a campaign through Starcom US which used online video to show off the power of smell and increase sales in the fragrance category.

Special Awards in this category - Successful Sponsorship, Effective Native and Collaboration with an influencer - and in the other three Warc Media Awards categories, along with all the Grand Prix Awards will be presented at a free-to-attend London-based event on Thursday 9 February at MEC in London on 9 February, where guests will hear from winners and judges.

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