CHE Proximity steals the show at Mumbrella Awards

CHE Proximity has won three categories at the 2018 Mumbrella Awards, including major awards for Full Service Agency of the Year and Media Agency of the Year.

Led by Chris Howatson, the agency also picked up Media Campaign of the Year for its work on Velocity Frequent Flyer’s ‘Billion Point Giveaway’ while the client walked away with the award for Marketing Team of the Year.

CHE Proximity was the big winner at this year’s Mumbrella awards

Last year’s Agency of the Year, The Monkeys, put in another strong performance to take home Creative Agency of the Year, while it’s work for Berlei, ‘Womankind’, won the Mumbrella Award for Insight. The agency also defended its TV Ad of the Year title, this time winning with ‘Long Way’ for NRMA.

It was a strong night for Tourism Australia as well. Its cut-through ‘Dundee Tourism Campaign’ won Ad Campaign of the Year and scored a Highly Commended in the Mumbrella Award for Bravery, while its campaign ‘Aussie News Today’ won Social Idea of the Year.

Other dual winners for the night included The Works, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Nine and Alley, the latter taking out its first ever nods at the Mumbrella Awards, including Specialist Agency of the Year.

Another notable achievement was Red Agency defending its crown to take home PR Agency of the Year for a second year running.

Junkee Media’s Punkee won Media Brand of the Year.

Comedian Alice Fraser hosted the night

Over the coming weeks and months, Mumbrella will be showcasing the winners of the 2018 Mumbrella Awards with special written features. These will include the agencies’ and brands’ entries to ensure transparency. 

Full list of Mumbrella Award Winner 2018

Under-30 Achiever of the Year:
WINNER: Stuart Marsh, Editor, 9Finance
HC: Michael Laps, Co-Founder, Yoghurt Digital

In a hard fought category, Marsh managed to stand out against some outstanding talent. The jury said: “Stuart is a one-man media disruptor. He is an impressive example of the impact one person can have on a big business – one of the bigger media businesses in Australia, in this case. We need more people like Stuart that are disrupting the traditional model and delivering growth.” The jury were particularly impressed by how well he had integrated into such a large media company, making a positive impact on those around him and still managing to push through ideas that would generate bigger audiences and wider revenue opportunities.

Best Use of User Experience, sponsored by CarsGuide:
WINNER: The Paradox of Choice – P&O Cruises with Swissworx & Sapient.Razorfish
HC: DogCheck – The Works Sydney with Born Group for Masterpet

The jury said: “This was the best of a good bunch. They demonstrated solid growth figures and had great energy, showing passion for their achievements. Great work done by a young, internal team. The most impressive point was that they had managed to increase the amount of sales made through the P&O website considerably year-on-year despite significant competition from travel agents and booking websites, which means their UX design really works.” The jury added: “It’s clear that they’ve done a tremendous job overhauling the whole site experience and user journey, really putting the customers path to purchase first in all their thinking. This is evident when you look at the strong improvement in all the financial numbers.”

Mumbrella Award for Innovation, sponsored by SMH:
HC: Palau Pledge – Host/Havas with Red Agency for Palau Legacy Project

The jury said, “ is a disruptive platform that helps clients source talent, creators, producers and much more to develop content faster, cheaper and easier than current processes without compromising on quality or engagement opportunity. Taryn’s idea is seriously impressive.” The jury also noted she had, “Developed and built her business quickly and continually improved the platform in line with what the market needed. The whole business displayed tremendous effort, energy and passion to drive what was a great business model forward in an industry that is getting more and more competitive.”

Mumbrella Award for Data-Driven Marketing sponsored by Datalicious:
WINNER: Alley for Youfoodz

The jury said, “Alley was the standout winner for a few reasons: There was a very clear demonstration of ROI, a sophisticated method of data analytics leading to an improved customer experience and, in-turn, outstanding revenue growth for their client. Alley worked collaboratively with the team from YouFoodz, providing deep, real-time sales insights shaping all aspects of their marketing campaign and driving huge results. Alley’s unique and comprehensive analytical approach stood out from the competition and was both impressive statistically as well as creatively. This group is king of the trade – rich data and analysis driving an amazing client outcome.”

Best Use of Real-Time Marketing:
WINNER: The Wentworth Rat – The Works Sydney with Mindshare for Foxtel
HC: Making the List – CHE Proximity with Yell Design for LEGO Australia

The jury were very impressed with the detail and execution of the work. They said, “The amount of thought, complexity and sheer effort that went into ‘The Wentworth Rat’ was remarkable. To top it off it was pretty much done for the love of it. Any real-time campaign that generates almost a year and a half worth of engagement and comments from viewers has achieved something pretty impressive in this day and age. Overall, this was a testament to the ingenuity of agencies and how they are maximising new marketing avenues to the (real-time) advantage of their clients. It displayed an innovative use of messenger apps, breaking new ground to solve a typical challenge for TV programming.”

Best Use of Face-to-Face/Interaction Marketing Through Events, sponsored by EEAA:
WINNER: Down to Test – Banjo Advertising for NSW STI Programs Unit, NSW Health

The jury all agreed that Down to the Test was the clear winner. They said, “A big health issue amongst the audience that required deep insight. Simple execution, highly targeted with real social impact. To get such clarity on a difficult topic was impressive and showed a strong value proposition and good understanding of the target market. It was a great execution that broke down all the barriers and created a behavioural shift that delivered strong results.” The jury also said it was a brave entry that included thorough data-led research to identify the target segment and the challenges in engaging them with an approach that was breathtakingly simple but based on a really deep understanding of the audience and environment. “By far the best face-to-face campaign.”

Content Marketing Strategy of the Year, sponsored by E!:
WINNER: Born This Way – Edge for Nulon
HC: War On Waste – ABC for War On Waste

The jury noted that selling automotive products in a crowded market is particularly tough in the current climate. Despite this, they said the campaign was “Built on a clear understanding of the audience and job to be done. Edge were able to do beautiful work in a category not known for great content. It delivered commercial success that was not expected for the brand. Edge displayed incredible use of storytelling to build a community and drive purchasing. The high results on low budget proved that with the right idea and solid execution, content marketing can deliver results for a wide range of brands across industries. This is how to do content marketing.”

Marketing Technology Company of the Year:
WINNER: Sinorbis
HC: Performance Horizon

The jury said, “Even though relatively early in its business journey, Sinorbis has taken a huge challenge for marketers wanting to connect with China and has broken through the red tape and technology issues. The result is that it has delivered an easy to use platform and service. Sinorbis stood out in an impressive field for its uniqueness, ability to solve challenging problems and seriously impressive early results. First to market, innovative solution and one that could be easily commercialised. It is providing a great service to Australian businesses and continued growth should be expected.”

Promo or Experiential Agency of the Year:
WINNER: Traffik Group

The jury were impressed by the culture that Traffik Group had created. They said, “Culture was particularly impressive while the agency also showed solid work and momentum. This applied to a wide breadth of work which illustrates a great flow in the way the business is run and the team works together. Traffik Group should be congratulated for its innovation and its efforts to move experiential forward in the industry and entice more brands to push a larger portion of their marketing budget into the sector. The winner in a closely fought category where there was little between the leading group of agencies vying for the award.

Specialist Agency of the Year:

The jury were particularly impressed by Alley’s focus on their area of expertise. They said, “Alley’s specific focus on its specialisation is particularly noteworthy. They have truly embraced the nature of their category. Alley is a proper specialist that is building towards the future without losing focus on what it does best. Unbelievably impressive! We want to give them all our money in a few years time because they will be as huge as they promise and it will all be built off genuine success.” The jury added, “These guys have their ‘groove’ and are a true illustration of how successful a specialist agency can be.”

Emerging Agency of the Year sponsored by DVM Law:
HC: Usual Suspects Creative

The jury said of Versa, “They are ambitiously unambitious – they know what they do well and that’s all they want to do. These guys are not just first to market, they know their vision and where they are headed. Nothing they have done is a fluke or by chance. The agency is ahead of the curve, has identified the opportunity brilliantly and is highly effective.” The jury added, “Professional, inventive, productive, continuous and with ongoing revenue. They have well and truly emerged!”

Production Company of the Year:
WINNER: Visual Domain
HC: Jungle Entertainment

Visual Domain triumphed in an extremely tight category. The jury said, “​Visual Domain have created an​ incredible new business model and innovation​-​led strategy that is truly different. With a commitment to quality ​production values ​at any price point, Visual Domain delivers consistent ​video ​content on a massive scale​, becoming a driving force in many client success stories. The judges were very impressed with the positive company culture and enormous business growth in just a few years​, particularly as culture often becomes a casualty of a sharp upturn in business. Visual Domain didn’t fall into that trap and as a result have been able to sustain its growth in a healthy manner while increasing revenue.”

Pro Bono Campaign of the Year:
WINNER: Bachelors & Bachelorettes – AIRBAG with Leo Burnett Melbourne for Australian Marriage Equality
HC: The Bottom 100 – Host/Havas with Red Agency & FINCH for The Fund for Peace

The judges said, “A great example of pro-bono support for a genuinely grass-roots campaign. To get Australians to donate their own money to keep an ad playing on TV is quite remarkable. Bringing joy and love into such a negative campaign and humanising an important vote was extremely powerful. Also, celebrating love on a show that is rather frivolous, is genius.” The judges commended the clarity and character of the campaign as well as the risk taken in order to attain a significantly greater result, saying, “It well and truly paid off in a big way.”

Ad Campaign of the Year sponsored by Marquee:
WINNER: Dundee Tourism Campaign – Tourism Australia with Droga5 & UM
HC: Putting the ‘Roid in Android – BMF for Sportsbet

The judges were amazed – they said, “How the hell did you keep that quiet? A clever and simple idea. The campaign demonstrates true bravery and is a paradigm shift in spend commitment and media strategy. Tourism Australia embraced creative from the inside out and celebrated and acknowledged the needs of local and international audiences. This campaign was daring and brave, it was ‘all-in’. While the execution was carefully crafted, it could have gone very wrong but the results speak for themselves. Tourism Australia, Droga5 and UM backed themselves and created a campaign with huge talkability that had massive cut-through. Seriously impressive.”

Media Campaign of the Year, sponsored by SMH:

WINNER: The Billion Point Giveaway – CHE Proximity with Goodoil Films for Velocity Frequent Flyer

The judges said, “Complex yet simple, built on a smashing insight and masterfully executed in all channels. The campaign was well thought out, showing judges the team had the skills to use data to make real-time campaign adjustments that positively impacted results. Smart, connected, modern and thorough from start to finish.” The judges also called it, “A meticulously executed campaign that brought together a great insight, strong creative and a first-class media campaign. Smart use of data and targeting.”

TV Ad of the Year sponsored by YouGov Galaxy:
WINNER: Long Way – The Monkeys for NRMA

Mumbrella Award for Insight:
WINNER: Womankind – The Monkeys for Berlei
HC: Reimagine Mealtime – Alley for Youfoodz

The judges were impressed by the depth of insight and clear learnings. They said, “The thinking was clear and single minded. It was based on a category with truths that had previously not been discussed in advertising even though they should have been. The campaign execution brought the insight to life on all touch points seamlessly and proved to be informative, effective, and relatable, amounting to a big win for Berlei.

Mumbrella Award for Bravery sponsored by UnLtd:
WINNER: Stop the Horror – Cummins&Partners Sydney & History Will Be Kind with Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Arc Edit, Odd Studios, Be Colour, Sam Petty, Fin Designs & Effects for Go Gentle Australia
HC: Dundee Tourism Campaign – Tourism Australia with Droga5 & UM


The judges said, “This Campaign not only took on a hard topic but took great care to do it with dignity and treat the people affected with respect. The entry pushed every juror out of their comfort zone – if that’s not bravery we don’t know what is. It also tackled an incredibly challenging topic in a completely unique way. Stop the horror was hands down the bravest campaign seen in a while. To tell the truth about such a difficult issue and affect the outcome of such an important legislation was phenomenal. There was not a dry eye in the jury room.”

Mumbrella Award for Collaboration:
WINNER: Until We All Belong – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne with Airbnb
HC: Vector Lights – Colenso BBDO with Auckland Council, Vector, NZTA, Assembly, Franklin Rd, Mandy VFX, Content Boutique for Auckland Council in Collaboration with NZTA and Vector

The jury was impressed by the tenacity of the collaboration and the big results with such a short turnaround for an amazing cause. They said, “Until We All Belong was a fantastic example of clients and agencies coming together to get behind something that was more than just great advertising for their business. As conductors of this complex orchestra, Airbnb and Clemenger BBDO managed to put ego and old rivalries aside and work together with a diaspora of clients and agencies to deliver a fantastic result, both for the brands involved and against the high order issue of marriage equality in Australia.” The jury noted it was a, “…superb campaign. Timely, thoughtful and well executed, with an impressive level of collaboration demonstrated between the agency, client and additional brands. It became more of a movement than a campaign.”

Sales Team of the Year sponsored by The Source:
HC: NOVA Entertainment

The Sales Team of the Year was a tough fought category with close scoring, but Nine camp up trumps with an almost perfect score. The jury said, “Nine transformed their business into an all-media business. Transformation of the Nine sales offering has been nothing short of remarkable – a dynamic, innovative approach that is purpose built for the future. It’s already producing outstanding results.” The jury also noted, “Nine’s Sales Team were professional, articulate, well presented, and their presentation was comprehensive. It was a smooth and impressive demonstration of what they were capable of. We were definitely buying what they were selling!”

Social Idea of the Year:
WINNER: Aussie News Today – Tourism Australia with Clemenger BBDO, One Green Bean & UM for Tourism Australia
HC: Coolest Suit on the Planet – TBWA Sydney with Eleven for M.J. Bale

The jury noted that for a heavily entered category with a long short-list, the results were particularly close. They said, “Tourism Australia showed clear evidence of driving key metrics that led to leads for tourism operators. Its Aussie News Today campaign was born out of a clear insight and executed carefully and deliberately which resulted in driving significant clicks to bookable products. Most importantly, Tourism Australia has managed to build equity in a campaign they can roll out for years to come at a much lower cost. A brilliant idea now that will pay off far into the future.”

Media Brand of the Year:
WINNER: Punkee – Junkee Media
HC: Cricket Australia Digital

The judges said, “Punkee won because it had a deep understanding of its audience, what they want and how they want it. They also took a big risk with a social mobile approach – all content went to social channels to be read on mobiles – not the usual publisher strategy of website first, push out to channels. This meant Punkee innovated on the type of content it delivered and the design and form the content took. It is a completely new approach that holds lots of ideas for other brands and should be rewarded for its risk, ingenuity and sustained success.”

Industry Leader of the Year:
WINNER: Nick Garrett, CEO, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne & Sydney
HC: Robert Galluzzo, Founder, FINCH

The judges said, “Absolutely outstanding business transformation that has lifted the creative reputation of Australia around the world. Nick is unquestionably this year’s industry leader. He has turned a large Australian agency into a world force. You cannot help but be impressed by the achievements and legacy that Nick has carved during this career – making massive positive impact locally and more importantly on a global scale. Nick is raising the standard and meaning of creativity for Australia and the world and is a totally inspiring leader of ideas, not just people. The work he is doing now will change the reputation of Australian creativity for a long time to come.”

Mumbrella Award for Culture:
WINNER: The Works Sydney
HC: The Royals

In a particularly close race at the top, the judges were impressed by the solidarity of the culture at The Works. The jury said, “The Works were impressive in how they have been able to handle growth. Despite the loss of a major client, the agency has shown that a great culture can help you bounce back if you put in the effort to keep it intact. The list of their benefits is the envy of the entire industry and the attitude of their staff is a testament to their amazing collaborative culture and strong focus on creating amazing work.”

Marketing Team of the Year, sponsored by Performance Horizon:
WINNER: Velocity Frequent Flyer
HC: The Australian Ballet

The category was a close fought race between a number of worthy entrants, but Velocity Frequent Flyer had the legs across the range of criteria. The jury said, “The Velocity team have demonstrated the skills and capabilities that should be a model for modern marketing. Firstly, having commercial acumen and earning a seat at the top table. Secondly, leading digital transformation that is deep and permanent. Finally, delivering strategic and creative bravery in their execution that has a solid chance of delivering results.”

Independent Agency of the Year:
WINNER: The Royals

The judges commended The Royals on their ability to keep what they stood for despite significant growth. The said, “The Royals have achieved incredible growth and have kept their culture intact at the same time. This is The Royal’s year – outstanding culture, incredible work and a lot of happy clients. Managing significant growth by sticking to their values and philosophy can be extremely tricky in an industry that is shaped by the wins and loses of clients, but The Royals continue to create diverse and effective work across their entire portfolio to the same high standard they always have.

Full Service Agency of the Year:
WINNER: CHE Proximity

The judges were impressed by the breadth of CHE Proximity’s business offering. They said, “The agency had great case studies and really worked hard to ensure the culture remained intact despite the growth. It’s a culture that respects and supports staff. The agency completely demonstrated a modern full service agency offering whilst executing entertaining and engaging campaigns at scale. CHE Proximity were the clear winners for creativity and media execution in all channels: owned and paid. It’s growth and commitment to a full-service offering is unparalleled and will take a lot of work from the competition to catch up to.”

PR Agency of the Year:
WINNER: Red Agency
HC: Poem

PR Agency of the Year was one of the closest fought categories in this year’s awards. The judges commended Red Agency on consistent and impressive growth and results. They said, “This agency has reinvented itself by growing their own production services, rebranding themselves, and creating amazing initiatives that align with their values. The perfect example is the work they have done to raise awareness around endometriosis, because one of their staff members suffered from this condition. To top it all off, they have had phenomenal commercial success. An outstanding agency that consistently performs.”

Media Agency of the Year:
WINNER: CHE Proximity
HC: Havas Media Australia

The judges said, “CHE Proximity is pioneering the path in owned, earned and paid. The use of data to drive client results across the board from the agency was what set them apart. They seem to be straddling the old and new media agency models very successfully. Their integrated model will appeal to many clients and should drive growth well into the future. The agency truly displays a blend of the best of digital ideas and executions with a healthy dose of creativity and good old fashioned audience connections.”

Creative Agency of the Year, sponsored by Facebook:
WINNER: The Monkeys

The Monkeys have had another strong year after being sold to Accenture in mid-2017. They lay claim to an enviable client list that includes Qantas, NRMA, Meat & Livestock Australia and Holden, among others. The jury said, “Provocative ideas. The Monkeys are unifying brand promise and experience to improve business and technology. They are the standout creative agency in the industry. No other agency can top them for sustained business success, a strong creative culture and a showreel of excellent work across a range of Australia’s biggest and highest profile advertisers.”


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