Anheuser-Busch InBev and Cisco Systems earned top honors last Thursday at the 12th annual IHAF Awards, a celebration of creative excellence and team performance for in-house agencies.
The awards were bestowed by the In-House Agency Forum during its annual conference November 9-12. This year’s gathering was live-streamed with some 400 industry people tuning in to a variety of sessions, networking events and awards presentations.
AB InBev’s Budweiser Kiss Bottles won Best of Show for IHAF’s In-House Creativity Awards competition, edging out other gold-winning entries from Bloomberg, The Coca-Cola Company, Deloitte, Facebook and others across 38 print and digital categories.
The unique package design debuted in China for Valentine’s Day 2019 with each bottle featuring an illustration of an individual poised for a kiss. Pairing bottles in various combinations side by side results in assorted combinations of lovers. The in-house agency at AB InBev conceived the idea as a way to circumvent China’s routine censorship of the LGBTQ community, complemented by the message “All Love Is Love.”
Christian Rohlfing, Global Director of Operations for AB InBev’s in-house agency, attributed the win to “an incredibly strong insight fueled by data and social listening … and the agility to use our packaging for such a beautiful design and message.”
The campaign resulted in a 70 percent earned media rate, two billion impressions and $3.2 million in ad value—and, positive reactions from Chinese consumers.
In addition to recognizing creative excellence, the IHAF Awards recognize outstanding team performance with Cisco’s corporate creative team, The Hatch, besting dozens of nominees to be named 2020 In-House Agency of the Year. The runners-up included the in-house agencies at Capital One and Whirlpool Corporation.
According to IHAF, The Hatch was the standout this year because of the business impact, client partnerships and creative expertise the team demonstrated. The 77-person operation delivered more than 1,300 projects in 2019, ranging from globally integrated launches to web designs to app icon development. They also conceived and executed an integrated brand campaign which drew over 10.3 million unique visitors to Cisco.com.
In accepting the award Cisco senior director Patti Cocciolo, said, “At The Hatch, we’re so proud of what we do. This award not only recognizes that, but how we do it.”
The awards completion drew over 800 submissions this year.