OMMA's Agency of the Year 2010: Best Use of Social Media: HUGE

When Pepsi opted not to advertise in the Super Bowl in 2010 as opposed to years past, its absence ended up garnering more attention than its presence ever could have. There was also, in the absence, a large shadow. Or a HUGE shadow. Because, however coy Pepsi's team wanted to be about the lack of running Super Bowl spots not being a media push, it coincided with the launch of the Pepsi Refresh project, funneling $20 million toward it as a prize for an ongoing crowd-sourced award competition. And Brooklyn, NY-based HUGE led the effort online.

"Social allows a brand to form a very direct, genuine relationship with consumers," says Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE. "There's a degree of accessibility and openness that we can create that's not possible with other types of marketing."

In taking an approach of platform and relationship building over a long period of time versus campaigns that launch over a small window, HUGE maximizes awareness and creates more meaningful connections between brands and consumers, leveling what Shapiro calls the "oscillating engagement" of the campaign approach.

"If you look at a typical campaign, with banner ads or something, you'll have a spike of awareness when all the ads are running," he says, "then the money's spent, the ads are over and it all goes away until the next campaign."

If ever there were an example of the old-school tradition media model versus the social and digital one, then Pepsi Refresh is it.

Pepsi Refresh aimed to build consumer engagement and awareness over an entire year (and then some) as opposed to a Bowl spot that spikes hugely and is forgotten by Valentine's Day.

Resting on the approach of thinking in terms of platform building are the actual platform builders at HUGE, renowned for their elegant and smooth interfaces that mesh with the concept instead of being dragged along. By mixing interface experts with graphic designers, Huge creates sites and modules that look good.

After another year of growth and new business, HUGE has expanded internationally, opening offices in London, Stockholm and Singapore. It's now kind of a big deal.

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