Blank paper and Burger King win big

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Blank paper and Burger King win big


Screen captures of videos introducing Lebanese media outlet An Nahar’s “Blank Edition” campaign, left, and Burger King’s “Whopper Detour,” right. Each won 2019 AD Stars’ Grand Prix of the Year for Public Service Advertising and Product & Service divisions, respectively. [AD STARS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE]

BUSAN - A blank newspaper in Lebanon and Burger King’s trolling campaign that took advantage of McDonald’s drive-throughs were announced on Sunday as the Grand Prix of the Year winners of the 2019 AD Stars, Korea’s only advertising festival.

The two were selected among 20,645 entrees from more than 60 countries, for the Public Service Advertising and Product & Service divisions, respectively.

“The Blank Edition” was released last October when Lebanon had been without a government for six months due to political infighting resulting in a deadlock. To represent the lack of responsibility over the situation, Lebanon’s second largest newspaper An Nahar printed an empty newspaper, with zero photos, articles or advertisements. Lebanese people were also called upon to write messages to politicians on the blank edition and upload them on their social media.

The campaign received $5 million worth of media saturation effect and was covered in more than 100 international publications.

Months later in January 2019, Lebanon finally announced a new government.

“To be perfectly honest, a blank newspaper or magazine is not new. But we decided to give the Grand Prix to the Blank Edition because of the context in which it was used,” said Ted Lim, chief creative officer (CCO) at Dentsu Asia Pacific who was one of the five executive jurors at 2019 AD Stars.

“The government could have closed down the newspaper or even worse put the entire editorial panel in jail. The fact that it created so much buzz, talk value and repercussions around the world put a lot of pressure on the government to do something about the situation.”

Burger King’s Whopper Detour campaign won the Grand Prix in the product & services division. In order to promote its new mobile app on a low budget, the burger chain aimed to redirect customers at its rival McDonald’s, by making available a one-penny mobile coupon for a Whopper that unlocked at McDonald’s 14,000 restaurants.

In less than 48 hours of launch, the Burger King app hit No. 1 in app stores from 686 on Apple and 464 on Android, beating Instagram and YouTube. After the promotion, Burger King also saw the highest number of store visits in four years.

Executive jurors explained both work were “challengers” in that they were not seeking love and support from everybody but had a provocative tone behind their purpose.

“We used to do advertising that was just [about asking people] to love a brand - nowadays, it’s impossible to just have lovers. We have haters as well so it’s important to have a point of view,” said Joanna Monteiro, CCO for FCB Brazil. “The more brave you are, the more brave [it will make] all of us to get involved with that work.”

Other executive jurors included Robin Fitzgerald, BBDO Atlanta CCO, Melvin M. Mangada, TBWA Santiago CCO Maganda , and Jureeporn Thaidumrong, CCO at GREYnJ United.

Both Grand Prix of the Year winners were awarded $10,000 as prize money at a Saturday ceremony held in Busan. A total of 399 awards were given from Grand Prix to bronze this year.

The country that had the highest number of prize winners this year was Thailand, followed by Australia. From Korea, 35 entrees took away awards.

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