December 07, 2020 4 min read

This year, online events and virtual conferences have grown immensely, delivering a broad array of content and experiences. With so many possibilities available, it’s easy to overlook one or two in all the excitement. That’s why we wanted to recap this year’s virtual awards show of the fall season, the 2020 CMA Awards Show to highlight not only the amazing winners, but also how Canadian marketers came together for an evening of celebration. Much like movie trailers that spark eager anticipation, these national marketing awards have the same effect on Canadian marketers so be ready to gain some inspiration!

The Virtual Stage Knows No Boundaries

Landscape of Vancouver during sunset.

This year the Canadian Marketing Association needed to think outside the box which began with the creation of a virtual stage for the show. Built from the ground up, the online event opened with a bang through the Gala Experience. This virtual space allowed guests to explore entertainment an hour before the awards segment started and the chance to socialize with each other through a Live Chat Feature. Many guests joined the chat trilling their hellos and after connecting with peers, moved to a private chat to catch up. Whether you hailed from the coast, the heart of Toronto, the prairies or the foothills, marketers from all backgrounds and regions got the party started one message at a time.

Did we mention the entertainment? Some enjoyed the Magician’s sleight of hand while others prepared their own cocktail with the help of a virtual mixologist. There was also a Photo Booth in action for those ready to post their best selfie and look in on fellow marketers. Never a dull moment with the Gala Experience in full swing.

Despite not being able to see each other in person, marketers were able to connect and do what they do best: network. Some marketers caught up with old colleagues while others made new acquaintances without the in-person distractions. Need to brush-up on your online networking and etiquette? We have you covered in our blog: Learning Key Techniques to Online Networking & Staying Connected In A Socially Distanced World.

And the CMA Award Goes to…

So many awards, so little time said no one at the CMA Awards show. Really, with over 143 trophies to hand out, not one name was missed, and all were presented by the enthusiastic Master of Ceremonies, Rick Campanelli (of Much music and ET Canada fame) during the all-digital event. With six disciplines, Brand Building, Business Impact, Customer Experience, Engagement, Innovative Media and Martech, entries competed in one of nine categories from Automotive to Social Causes. Trophies were virtually presented left, right and center to Bronze, Silver and Gold winners.

So, who took home what? There were digital laughs of delight when marketing agency Zulu Alpha Kilo took the 2020 Best of the Best for their work with Subaru Canada. Their marketing campaign featured Gus the Goat who was there to deliver a thank you speech that bleated through headphones and speakers alike. This marketing campaign took a different spin on the 2020 Subaru Outback and is worth a watch – check it out here.

Coming in close was the Hyundai Made for Those Who Drive Hockey campaign which won Silver in both Brand Building and Business Impact for their category. The campaign knew exactly which heartstrings to pull and the hard work paid off with two incredible wins. Be sure to check out their campaigns to see their vision come to life.

Of course, no awards show is complete without the major awards everyone waits for at the end. There were two winners for Marketer of the Year which was shared gracefully by Sandra Sanderson,Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sobeys Inc. and Cindy Wong, Regional Head of Marketing, HSBC North America. In addition, the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Steve Levy, Chief Client Officer, Ipsos. These Canadian marketers have demonstrated tremendous passion in their field.

But wait, there’s more! We really only touched the tip of the iceberg with five other disciplines that feature winners celebrated for their creativity and drive, there are multiple marketing campaigns to explore. Marketers live to inspire others, especially their fellow marketers. Take the time to go through these award-winning marketing campaigns to understand what works in the Canadian landscape today.

Discover this year's incredible winners

An Intermission to Celebrate

What’s an award show without a mesmerizing intermission? Over 1500 guests had the pleasure of witnessing two Canadian artists’ fantastic performance, a surprise treat sponsored by TD Bank. First the virtual crowd was swayed with R&B beats and vocals provided by Myles Castello, a rising R&B singer from Scarborough, Toronto. Without skipping beat, Myles passed the reins over to Classic Roots. The Thunder Bay artist is an award-winning producer and DJ who integrates First Nation songs with electronica music. From start to finish, Classic Roots charged the zoom room with his passionate energy and dancing.

Both stunning displays and showmanship truly encompassed the beauty and diversity of Canadian music and artistry while keeping everyone glued to their screen in awe.

Virtual Applause

Man typing on laptop.

Throughout the evening, Canadian marketers showered their colleagues with genuine appreciation and thanks, bringing a sense of closeness through virtual barriers. That energy brought the event to life and demonstrates how marketers innovate even under the toughest of circumstances. The CMA Awards don’t just dish out trophies, they allow Canadian marketers a small but mighty moment to celebrate their astounding work and inspire their colleagues.

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