Emirates’ ‘global first’ takes big annual gong at DSA awards

Starcom recently snatched fourth quarter victory at the Yahoo!Xtra Digital Strategy Awards, and its Emirates Luxury campaign was deemed good enough to beat out the the other three quarterly contenders—MEC with its Caltex with Techron campaign, joint team Gladeye and Zed Digital with the House of Travel mixandmatcher and Spark PHDIQ with its Unilever Sunsilk Co-creations campaign—for the overall 2010 title. 

“We were very impressed with the high calibre of work that the four entries delivered,” says Yahoo!Xtra’s general manager and DSA judge Laura Maxwell-Hansen. “However, Emirates chose a distinctive digital strategy that allowed them to achieve strong increases in brand awareness, favourability and purchase intent and the judges felt it stood out as the overall winner.”

Launched in early 2010, the awards were established to emphasise the key role media strategy plays in the success of digital campaigns. Campaigns can have run on any site and external judges were engaged for each quarter and the finals judging.

“What stood out about the Emirates campaign was that rather than try and pull consumers into the Emirates corporate website, Starcom’s digital strategy took the messages and stories to travel audiences, and introduced them to the Emirates world of travel,” says DSA judge Helen Baxter, managing director of Mohawk Media. “This gave the brand credibility in a neutral setting and allowed them to reach an engaged and interested travel audience. Whilst all their competitors were focused on price benefits, Emirates chose to focus on their unique selling propositions and resisted short-term stunts to build their audience. In doing so, they attracted more than 36,000 unique browsers which was 22 percent above their objective.”

And the fact that the campaign used Yahoo!Xtra? Merely a coincidence, you filthy cynics.

A Colmar Brunton study showed the Emirates campaign achieved a 26 percent increase in spontaneous brand awareness, a 14 percent increase in brand favourability and nearly an 80 percent visitor return rate as a result of the engaging content.

“Despite the fact that the audience came with no incentive to win, or special deal, it was still able to organically grow on a significant level. It was a bold move, but one that paid off,” Baxter says.

It was also a global-first for Emirates and was featured as the spotlight campaign in their January worldwide newsletter.

Starcom has won free entry into the CAANZ Media Awards in the Best Use of Digital category, along with $10,000 worth of media from Yahoo!Xtra.

Entries for the 2011 Digital Strategy Awards are open now and more information can be found here.

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