How non-profit organizations are setting the bar for effective advertising

Advertising award season has arrived, honoring those smart marketing communication ideas, with next week The International Advertising Festival in Cannes, rewarding the most creative executions with a Lion. But also in Belgium, advertising award season is at full swing; last week (June 9th) the 28th edition of the Effie Awards were held in Brussels celebrating the most effective marketing communication ideas. We were there (actually our very own CEO, Kristof De Wulf, was there as part of the jury) and we’ll bring you an overview of the most effective ads from the Belgium advertising landscape.

From meaningful to effective advertising

There was a noteworthy recognition for charity in the award ceremony, with no less than three winning campaigns. WWF (Famous) won a Silver Effie with their creative Red de tijger (i.e. Save the tiger) campaign, in which they tried to fight the extinction of tigers by activating people on a personal level. The campaign was built around the notion that families on the verge of extinction save a family on the verge of extinction. People could log on to an online platform to discover how extinct their last name is and were motivated to help out another family on a verge of extinction by adopting a tiger. This didn’t only lead to an immense amount of traffic on their website but tripled the normal number of tiger adoptions, making this a very successful campaign.

MEDIALAAN (Flexus) also won a Silver Effie for their charity initiative, the Rode Neuzen Actie (i.e. Red Nose campaign). The campaign focused on raising awareness for psychological problems among children. The fundraising event, with its slogan ‘Want lachen helpt’ (i.e. Because laughing helps), led to a record breaking amount of donations with contributions from all angles of Flanders. Besides raising awareness on the cause it resulted in the launch of a permanent charity organization.

A third winner in the non-profit sector, which took a bronze Effie home, was the Red Cross Flanders (Duval Guillaume) with Helpt Helpen (i.e. Helps to help). Even though the charity organization is one of the world’s best known brands, they experience a problem of declining donations as people simply take them for granted. For its 150th birthday, the organization went for a complete rebranding, which profiles them as a more dynamic and energetic organization. Their campaign was focused on facilitating people to help others, which resulted in more money donations and an increased number of volunteers.

What all these winners have in common is that they all create personal relevance, smartly linking the brand in a meaningful way to people’s lives. Not only the conventional brands are creating smart campaigns but as the Effie award list demonstrates non-profits are clearly setting the bar when it comes to creating effective advertising communications.

Customer service is the new marketing

The winner of the Golden Effie this year was Telenet (TBWA), with the Helemaal mee tournee (i.e. Totally up to speed tour) campaign. Telenet, a provider of cable broadband services in Belgium, launched the campaign last year to have a better connection and feel with its customers. People could request for a Telenet technician to visit them and check if their entire telecom installation still worked properly and if anything could be improved. By choosing a more personal approach, Telenet really stands out in their sector and showed to have great impact.

A word from the jury
Our CEO Kristof De Wulf was one of this year’s jury members. He thought the Telenet campaign demonstrates effectiveness and does stand out because of its original character:

“Telenet has understood that customer service is the new marketing. Its ‘Helemaal mee tournee’ deserves the golden Effie award as it resulted in an impressive positive impact on Telenet brand associations, turned negative conversations about the brand into positive ones and generated incremental sales. An impressive aspect about the case is that Telenet lived up to the promises it made: the communication timing and volume were aligned optimally to the operational side of planning the home client visits; great job.”

Visit for more information on winners and nominees.

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