What a night…
On March 26, the first-ever Influencer Marketing Awards (IMAs) went out with a bang, as over 270 representatives from leading brands, agencies and tech platforms flowed through the doors of Sheraton Grand London Park Lane to celebrate the excellence of the industry’s growth and reward those who are striving to push the industry forward. As a global awards ceremony with no borders, the quality and variety of entries impressed the esteemed judges.
This year was the first IMAs and it didn’t disappoint. A night of delicious dining, dancing, networking and all-round celebrations left everyone feeling inspired. Quick-witted, charming and straight-talking comedian Kerry Godliman hosted the evening, bringing plenty of fun and laughter to the table. A welcome speech from Matthew Wood, founder of the Influencer Marketing Awards, kicked the evening off.
As the lights went down, the trophies came out. Only when deserved, a Bronze, Silver and the all-important Gold were rewarded for each of the 24 categories.
With the full breakdown of the 2019 winners now revealed and available to view in the Book of the Night, here are some of the highlights.
Competing for titles such as Best Travel Campaign, Best Telecoms, and Best Best Beauty Campaign, the Vertical Awards kicked off the proceedings in a flurry.
The Best Food & Drink Campaign was up first. Five entries were shortlisted for but Pegasus scooped the award for their work with Holland and Barrett on the Wonder of Manuka Campaign that reached millions and was a shining example of how influencers can spark change and educate new audiences. Campaigns that mixed integration and creativity with long-term influencer partnerships is a theme that continued throughout the evening and is evidence of the kind of partnerships the industry has been seeing this year.
Pegasus returned once more to the stage to win Best Health Campaign for their work on the Benenox Sleep Campaign. Extensive research and industry insights played a vital role in this efficient campaign, which undertook a clear multi-pronged approach to help build brand recognition and credibility among consumers.
When it came round to Best Travel Campaign, it was a surprise win for Eindhoven365: AnOther City Trip 2018. Eindhoven365 tapped into the world of influencers to reach new audiences for the first time to reinvent influencer marketing for urban explorers. By challenging the idea of influencer marketing as we know it, the team created ambassadors by heart and not by contract. This refreshing, fun and interesting campaign took risks but exceeded goals by allowing creativity to excel.
Meanwhile, MSL UK scooped Best Family & Parenting Campaign for their work with Renault on the #BehindCarDoors campaign. Renault teamed up with MSL UK to find a way to drive greater relevance with Renault Scénic’s target audience – families. Embarking on a year-long commitment was indeed brave and managing to sustain quality engagement throughout the year was no mean feat.
A surprise win for Best Home & Garden Campaign came from Liquid-Plumr / Will it Clog. Drain openers are not often sought-after home products but that didn’t get in the way of Liquid-Plumr putting together a campaign with Reach Agency to showcase the product and inspire consumers, whilst influencers were able to have a more meaningful impact on someone’s life in Pulse Advertising campaign “ELI’s DREAM” for Deutsche Telekom, which won Best Telecoms Campaign.
The awards continued with Best Sport & Fitness Campaign, with ŠKODA – #ThisIsOurTime claiming gold. On a mission to redress the gender disparity in sports by shining a light on women’s cycling and champion gender parity at all levels, Ogilvy and ŠKODA UK teamed up with The Telegraph and four elite cycling ambassadors to bring the gender gap into sharper public focus with their #ThisIsOurTime campaign.
The next award of the night was Best Fashion & Style Campaign, where Whalar took to the stage for their work with NET-A-PORTER x JW Anderson. By putting storytelling at the heart of this never-before-done groundbreaking campaign, five creators captured the inspiration and artistry of JW Anderson’s exclusive capsule collection exquisitely.
Then, the most competitive of the vertical awards was the hotly contested Best Beauty Campaign. Six deserved companies made it on the shortlist but Boots UK – Boots Beauty Festival collected their first trophy of the night. The influencer content reached 3.2 million across social channels alone, with an average engagement rate of 4.8% across the target audience. In fact, it was so successful, Boots are planning to turn this into an annual event.
It was time to move on to the Technology Awards, identifying just three leaders within the space. First up in the technology awards was Best Influencer Discovery Tool. Gold went to Traackr, which has the industry’s most comprehensive influencer database. Traackr’s discovery engine provides access to millions of profiles from nano-influencers to global celebrities across 43 countries and 19 languages, which are searchable by content, key metrics, and influencer follower demographics.
The Best Relationship Management Tool had three shortlisted but taking home the award was Takumi: Visa Cross Border Campaign. Takumi’s tool includes a ten-step verification process using a combination of both technology and human insight for influencers in the planning phase of an influencer marketing campaign, enabling Takumi to build a network of verified influencers for Visa.
Returning to the limelight was Traackr, securing the award for Best Campaign Planning & Management Tool. Traackr has continued to penetrate the market over the last year, significantly increasing the number of enterprises customers globally.
Approaching the half-way mark, it was over to the Campaign Awards, which saw five categories up for grabs.
Pfizer Vaccines UK & BCW scooped Best Use of Data for their work on the #24YouHaveThePower Campaign, which saw clever and thoughtful planning, and reliance on data help to successfully communicate to young adults that needed to be aware of the vaccination.
The next category was up for much debate amongst the judges. They had a tricky task coming to a conclusion, but the Most Effective Campaign for ROI winner went to Kairos Esports for KFC Gaming, UK Launch. With a high chance of failure, Kairos beat all the odds with strategic research contributing to the high score. Judges praised the “detailed, well-articulated entry” that showcased clear ROI in this tough category.
Moving on, the Renault #BehindCarDoors Campaign was crowned Most Effective Collaboration or Partnership earning judges’ backing for its creativity. Working closely with just two influencers during the brave year-long campaign, the socially optimised creative achieved 48% uplift in ad recall in addition to having attained 1.7 million influencer engagements so far.
Among the roster of winners in the Campaign Awards, Eindhoven365: AnOther City Trip 2018 won gold for Most Creative Influencer Marketing Campaign, followed by IMA congratulated for Best Brand Engagement Campaign for NIVEA’s #Prepare with NIVEA MEN digital campaign.
Coming to the final Campaign award, Best Integrated Influencer Marketing Campaign (multi-channel), it was perhaps a surprise to see Boots UK – Boots Beauty Festival taking home their second award of the night. In what the judges praised a “clear winner,” Ogilvy’s influencer-led integrated digital-first event – Boots Beauty Festival – outperformed all expectations.
Finally, the industry choice awards were announced to an eager audience, where the IMA judges collated the shortlist and the industry voted their final say on the winner.
For this much-anticipated award announcement, Tagger was a worthy winner of the Industry Choice of Technology or SaaS; having transformed the way traditional influencer marketing campaigns are run, with voters impressed with its “extensive database” of more than 2.5 million global influencers.
Meanwhile, the crowd was excited to hear the IMA Rising Star, a peer-voted award that recognises the successes of young individuals within influencer marketing who are excelling in their area of work. The Goat Agency’s Alex Burgess sealed the victory, following praise from his colleagues as he “goes beyond challenging traditional media buyers to new realms influencer marketing possibilities.” Alex is clearly a dedicated, pioneering manager working hard to drive the entire industry forward, leaving no doubt of him being crowned Rising Star.
With the awards coming to an end, the last wave of the night came with the Agency Awards, identifying just three categories.
Up first was Best Talent Agency, with Viral Talent taking home the trophy as the only specialist kidfluencer and family creator agency in the space. This year’s gold winner for Best Large Influencer Marketing Agency went to Viral Nation, with judges praising the impressive client retention rate of 92% and the current revenue growth rate of 400%.
The final award of the night and arguably the most coveted was for Best Boutique Influencer Marketing, which saw Reach Agency strike gold. The independent, creative influencer agency prides itself on keeping creativity and authenticity at the heart of its strategy.
Last but certainly not least was the Grand Prix, awarded by the judges to the ‘best of the best’, the ‘crème de la crème’ of the influencer marketing space. Throughout the judging process, judges were told to keep in mind the campaign that stood out to them for its exceptional execution and forward thinking activities. This year, MSL UK and Renault’s brave ‘#BehindCarDoors’ campaign claimed the coveted title, with one judge expressing that “running a year-long marketing campaign to change consumers’ perspective is probably one of the most genius ideas I’ve seen executed.”
On behalf of the Influencer Marketing Awards, Talking Influence and the Influencer Marketing Show, a huge thank you to all our event sponsors who helped make the ceremony possible. And finally, a huge congratulations to all the esteemed and deserved winners.
To learn why the winners won, and how to claim gold next year, download the official Book of the Night.
Enjoyed the Influencer Marketing Awards?
If you enjoyed the Influencer Marketing Awards, you’ll most likely want to be at the Influencer Marketing Show in October, which will see the IMA winners and industry elite gather to listen to two days of insightful discussions from expert speakers, network with the best and take actionable insights back to the office.