January 08, 2024 4 min read

On November 10th, 2023, the CMA held and celebrated the best in marketing and advertising at the 2023 CMA Awards. The annual event, held at the Westin Harbour Castle, was once again packed with marketers dressed to impress from across the country. Below, you’ll find five awards, three for individual achievements and two for campaigns, to inspire your journey to become a marketer.

Best of the Best - BMO/FCB: BMO Gamer's Branch

What was the campaign about?

BMO and FCB launched the NXT LVL campaign in 2022 to get gamers under 35 to overcome their fears about discussing their personal finances. Once gamers started talking, the next step was to get them banking and investing in their future. BMO won because they developed a first-of-its-kind campaign creating a place for gamers to handle their finances confidently and anonymously on streaming platforms like Twitch. Gamers could open accounts, apply for a student line-of-credit, credit card, or learn about loans, investing, mortgages and more. Since gaming never sleeps, BMO partnered with Discord to handle after hours inquiries to keep empowering levelling up gamers’ financial knowledge. By offering anonymous banking to gamers, BMO saw a 13% surge in digital account openings, hundreds of hours of engagement, and addressed countless financial questions transforming gaming platforms into virtual banking hubs.

What can students learn?

What you can learn from BMO's NXT LVL award-winning campaign is that if you know where to look and how to engage the target in an environment where they’re comfortable, no one is out of reach.  

Achievement in Marketing - Ashley Faccenda

Ashley Faccenda clinched the AIM award for being a powerhouse of ambition andrelentless dedication to her professional growth. From leading Canadian tissue brands to spearheading groundbreaking marketing initiatives, Ashley's commitment extends beyond the boardroom, with active involvement in industry support and community engagement, making her a marketer to emulate in the years to come.

What can students learn?

You can learn from Ashley’s relentless pursuit to set herself apart. Push yourself as far as you can to achieve your goals and once you do, set new ones.

Marketer of the Year - Eva Salem

Eva Salem, Senior VP of Marketing at Canadian Tire, stole the show and snagged Marketer of the Year with her dynamic leadership. The Triangle Rewards program flourished with her at the helm, as loyalty increased, especially among younger members. Eva propelled the company to a purpose-led model, boosting sales while boldly championing change by redirecting funds from Hockey Canada to support women's hockey and gender equity initiatives instead. As an agent of change, Eva actively supports women in sports, mentors’ talent, and advocates for excellence in Canadian advertising.  
What can students learn?

You can learn from Eva’s dedication to excellence as she pushes for positive change and equality for all regardless of gender.

Top Cause - Dentsu Creative

top cause

Dentsu Canada’s F*cking Old campaign for Jems, won top cause, as they brought awareness to a segment often overlooked when it comes to sex - seniors. Since a digital campaign wouldn’t work, and seniors most likely had children of their own, their grandkids became the bridge to reach them. 

The key insight was the unique bond similar to a friendship between a grandparent and a grandchild which connected their worlds. The friend dynamic leads to the idea that friends tend to share more than family. Therefore, grandchildren of a certain age, could push their grandparents to practice safe sex.  

The message was simple, if you’re f*cking old, then make sure you’re f*cking safe. The creative idea was F*cking Old. A candy brand designed to start conversations about safe sex.” Inside the candy box was cheeky copy, a pamphlet, and four flavours of candy each representing a theme for safe sex conversations. Unwrapping the candy revealed a conversation starter to educate seniors about safe sex. 

F*cking old

• Totalled 300+ articles in the first week with more than 151M earned media impressions
• Generated an earned media value of $20M for Jems
• Generated a 400% increase in online sales

What can students learn?

You can learn from Dentsu Canada’s creative approach to the F*cking Old campaign. When you’re trying to stand out no demographic should ever be overlooked forgotten or ignored. 

Lifetime Achievement - Zak Mroueh

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Zak Mroueh the founder of Zulu Alpha Kilo (ZAK) for being a beacon for creativity and innovation in Canadian advertising. After 35 years of leadership in roles from copywriter to creative director and entrepreneur, Zak opposed industry norms and advocated for change by rejecting speculative pitches and unpaid internships, while addressing the obsession with awards. Zak's commitment to diversity and inclusion shows through initiatives like the 20Doors Scholarship Fund, which addresses industry issues and promotes inclusivity. 

What can students learn?

You can learn from Zak’s drive and determination. It doesn’t matter where you start – all that matters is how hard you work and where you end up.These are just a glimpse of marketers, advertisers, and campaigns that pushed boundaries for the most creative ideas to achieve their organizations' objectives. You can watch all the winning campaigns here. Keep pushing yourself, and you might be on stage receiving an award for all your hard work.

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