Burger King's 'The McWhopper Proposal' wins the 2017 Grand Effie

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Unilever and Pepsi tie for most effective marketer; IPG is named most effective holding company for first time.

Burger King’s "The McWhopper Proposal" took home the top award of the night—the Grand Effie trophy—at the 49th annual North American Effie Worldwide awards gala, held at Cipriani in New York on Thursday.

The 2015 Burger King campaign began as a peace offering to the brand’s largest competitor—McDonald’s. Set against Peace Day (September 21), the brand worked with Y&R New Zealand, David The Agency, ABPR, Code and Theory and Turner Duckworth on an open letter in the New York Times inviting its rival to team up to create the McWhopper, a "burger built for world peace." If McDonald’s could set aside its differences, Burger King would open a pop-up shop to sell the burgers. The chain went as far as designing the shop, the packaging for the burger and staff uniforms.

Although the offer was declined, Burger King said the campaign was an "overwhelming success," "selling a truckload of Burgers" and promoted World Peace on the side.

"This year’s Grand Effie winner proved once again that when agencies and clients exhibit shared courage to support a bold, insightful idea, the results can indeed be both creatively outstanding and indisputably effective—even against the greatest odds," said Vineet Mehra, EVP and CMO of Ancestry, and member of the 2017 Grand Effie Jury and Effie Worldwide’s Board of Directors, in a statement.

"The McWhopper Proposal" won over six other finalists, including "Be the Guy" from Be the Match and space150; "How Seventh Generation turned the environment into a personal matter for millennial moms" by Seven Generation and 72andSunny; "Breathless Choir" from Phillips and Ogilvy & Mather; "Field Trip to Mars" from Lockheed Martin and McCann New York; "Even An Asshole Can Save a Life" from Donate Life America and The Martin Agency and "The Co-Worker Collection" Office Depot OfficeMax and McCann New York.

Unilever and PepsiCo tied for first place as the most effective marketers for 2017, followed by Mars and IBM. For the first time, the Interpublic Group became the most effective holding company. WPP and Omnicom came in second and third place, respectively. Ogilvy & Mather was named the most effective agency network for the second year in a row; McCann New York jumped 12 spots from 2016 to be named the most effective agency office; Droga5 was named the most effective independent agency and IBM, Extra Gum, JetBlue and Pepsi were named the most effective brands. The Effie Award winners will be factored into the 2018 Global Effie Index.

The Grand Effie winner was decided by 11 members of the Grand Effie jury only hours before the award ceremony on Thursday. Along with Mehra, jurors included: Martin Cass, CEO of Assembly and MDC Media Partners; Brent Choi, Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson NY and Canada; Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer at FCB Global; Christopher Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa; Scott Hagedorn, CEO of  Hearts & Science; Pam Hamlin, global CEO at Arnold Worldwide; Ann Mukherjee, global CMO at SC Johnson; Elizabeth Rutledge, EVP of global advertising and brand management at American Express; Rodney Williams, CMO and EVP of brands at Moët Hennessy USA; Karina Wilsher, partner and global COO of Anomaly. Fernando Machado, head of brand marketing at Burger King was also on the Grand Effie jury.