Today I was asked a roundabout sort of question on the phone. What it boiled down to was, in essence, “what makes FMBE stand the test of time?” coupled with “why should we support it?”
The question frustrates me, as I privately feel everyone must know by now, but sometimes I do feel we take our many milestones for granted.
The answer – as we head into edition 14 – is, as ever, the client judges and our unique judging weeks that we host. This has given the awards a historic role, not just celebrating winners, not resting at simply championing the cause, but actually stimulating budget and inspiring award winning creative campaigns. We have, as a consequence, had some amazing wins. Sometimes our influence has been very direct, sometimes we have simply been a very useful catalyst. Every judging session at FMBE delivers some outstanding benefits to the industry, but here are 10 interesting examples chosen form both FM and BE award categories:
- Richard Murfitt, then head of brand at O2, came away from 2010 award judging saying that he had now ‘got to grips’ with the best in brand experience marketing and would ‘win an FMBE within 2 years’. 2 months later Richard moved to an internet start-up that no one had heard of, and 2 years later, as Global Marketing Director of Just Eat, he duly picked up gold for an amazing Just Eat stunt at a Corby bi-election, with a pizza chef in a jet pack for the Don’t Cook Party beating the Lib Dem candidate.
- In 2011, as Starbucks moved into machine sales to shoppers, the field sales team was conceived at FMBE award judging. Furthermore, 8 out of every 10 field marketing category judges will increase their field team headcount in the 12 months following judging and many of them later go on to enter their enlarged teams in our Team of the Year category. The category merits data driven teams, helping to celebrate call efficiency and effectiveness – benefitting data suppliers, analysts, agencies and consultancies and binding the investment to our industry for the long term.
- Tesco, and its retail advisory team at dunnhumby have both been involved with the judging fairly regularly through the years. In 2013, with Tesco’s massive sampling contract in the balance, FMBE award judging, and the accountable campaigns we get, inspired a mood for greater experiential investment for Tesco customers. In 2017 Tesco, together with agency N2O won an FMBE award with cat food brand Felix as a direct descendant of this renewed vigour and determination.
- In 2008-2010, when she was Brand Manager, Easter at Cadbury, Kate Knight, nowadays European Innovation Lead for Chocolate at Mondelez, came judging 3 years in succession, whilst already harnessing a considerable budget for a bold new project. The resulting Easter Egg Trails are one of the few examples of a brand experience turned national institution and has provided work for agencies through the years including Sense, Initials and RPM and stimulated valuable and enjoyable work for 1000s upon 1000s of brand ambassadors, helping to top up their income at a crucial time of the year. Crème Egg has, of course, become the dominant Easter brand and Mondelez has widened its experiential remit annually.
- In 2007, Hitachi Europe’s Hans Daems used FMBE Award judging experience to help his brand to connect its experience across the whole business globally and to include industry breakthrough CSR initiatives.
- Will Arnold-Baker, then MD of advertising giant Publicis, arrived at FMBE judging in 2009 whilst seeking best practice experiential agency partners for a new project of recruitment for The Army. 2 years later, the resulting campaign was a huge FMBE gold winner in ‘Immersive Event’ with agency Jack Morton deployed to create the event series.
- In 2011, a highly-talented young account manager at Sense, Carmen Byers won a special FMBE Rising Star award in which she was tasked to fully justify a budget spend for Belvoir Fruit Farms. Now head of marketing at Brompton Bicycle, Carmen instilled an experiential event ethos at Brompton and was an FMBE award judge in 2017. For their part, Belvoir has just appointed its first Field Marketing agency under the guidance of 2010 award judge, sales director Lawrence Moore.
- Warburton’s embrace of FMBE awards started in 2013 at award judging and say that being a part of the FMBE process helps keep their focus on maintaining their status as Britain’s best-loved shopping basket brand (Kantar Worldpanel).
- Awards shy Apple’s engagement with FMBE Awards has often been a head turner. One year – back in 2007 – the award judging for their Store in Store concept stimulated 3 new field contracts to manage customer retail experiences – helping to pave the way for new FMBE opportunities right across the industry then and ever since.
- FMBE award judging has received numerous testimonials from judges through the years including glowing feedback from some of the very best in sales and marketing seniors at P&G, Heineken, Britvic, Kellogg, Unilever, Diageo, EA Games, BT, Samsung, Sky, Reckitt Benckiser and Energizer. One benefit we are often credited with is that of helping clients to build on existing agency relationships and justify extending agency loyalty and spend: Jonathon Pearn came to our award judging soon after the considerable responsibility of leading the restructure and realignment of Kraft and Cadbury’s field teams after merger. In a detailed and unsolicited testimonial, he praised the quantity and quality of the entries and stated that the process gave him heightened confidence and ambitions for his own team and agency.
Should my 10 points above leave any room for doubt about the strength and depth of FMBE’s unique judging panel and process, the video testimonial from Jenni Hill, head of field sales for Molson Coors just might be the clincher!
Now let’s see what eye-popping award entries and outstanding judges we get this year!