3 Standout Campaigns That Required Closer Media and Creative Collaborations

Agencies created IHOB and Westworld's SXSW activation using this new model

IHOB's award-winning stunt was the product of mixing creative and media strategies. IHOP

Clients are increasingly seeking more seamless ways to advertise to consumers, and therefore are asking their creative and media partners to work closer together on campaigns, if not consolidating all efforts with one agency or holding company.

“Over the past few years, the biggest change in collaboration we’re seeing in general [across all brands] is coming from clients,” said Droga5 chief marketing officer Colleen Leddy. “Clients are helping to unite the agencies, set the right expectations and push for the best across their entire team. Our IHOP clients, in particular, are sharp and brave and expect that from their creative ideas, media plans and teams. They understand that content and context must work together to truly create impact.”

Droga5, alongside IPG-owned media agency Initiative, collaborated on IHOP’s “IHOb” stunt last June. The effort saw Initiative earning a place on Adweek’s list of Best Media Plans of 2018, uncovering the need to make IHOP into more than a weekend breakfast destination. Initiative then issued a series of mysterious social media posts that led up to the debut of the restaurant chain’s Ultimate Steakburgers, as was unveiled by Droga5’s creative.

Leddy said Droga5 and Initiative have a “true” partnership in which they create campaigns and solutions for IHOP together. The partnership seems to be a success. The “IHOb” campaign garnered 1.2 million tweets and over 15,000 earned media stories, generating 28.6 billion impressions, in just 10 days. It also helped quadruple burger sales for IHOP in the three weeks following the launch.

Adweek’s 2018 Breathrough Agency of the Year Giant Spoon practices this integration on nearly every project it handles, as its services span brand strategy, media, creative, production, experiential, social and content.

The shop handled all of the work that went into making and promoting HBO’s giant, immersive activation, “SXSWestworld”—the flawless replica of the town inside HBO’s Westworld, and the most talked-about event of SXSW last year. Before Giant Spoon actually crafted the activation, it had to hype up the experience so SXSW attendees would actually visit. Its efforts earned it a spot on Adweek’s Best Media Plans last year.

In an earlier interview, Giant Spoon co-founder Marc Simons said “everything is strategy led” at the agency.

“We don’t run it down an assembly line where strategy first controls it, then passes it on to this other group,” Simons explained. “There’s a central team made up of strategy, creative, media, experiential that is linked to our projects. It’s not just a media-led project or creative-led project. All that thinking is central to each piece.”

Meanwhile, WPP’s Team Energy recently created its first work for BP after winning the global account last May. The campaign, “Possibilities Everywhere,” comes from a single team comprised of creatives, strategists and media executives across agencies VMLY&R, Ogilvy, Mindshare, Grey, Essence, SocialLabs and Landor.

It is also BP’s first corporate campaign in 10 years—or since it released a series of apology ads for the disastrous oil spill it was responsible for in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with an integrated team from across WPP and partners to deliver a campaign to reflect BP’s strategy of advancing the world’s transition to a lower carbon future,” said Duncan Blake, director of brand, BP. “It was one of the most complex/challenging briefs I have led and I’m delighted with the results.”

This story first appeared in the Feb. 4, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.