Mobile awards play a very important role. They showcase best practice in mobile Web, marketing and services, bringing great kudos for the winners and inspiration for the rest of us. But with dozens of mobile awards around the globe, with vastly varying quality, coverage and price, where should you be entering your mobile site, app, campaign or service, and from which awards are we likely to learn the most?
mobiThinking has summarized all the key mobile awards below (with the most recently announced winners first) but if you’ve got no time to hang around, then you can jump directly to the most recent winners at: Cannes Lions • Global Mobile Awards • World Summit Mobile Awards • EMMAs • Smarties (MMA Awards) • Meffys • The Webby Awards • ME Awards.
The yardstick of quality awards, in mobiThinking’s opinion, is the legacy. After the glitzy dinner and the press release, what is left? Is there a valuable resource detailing why these sites, campaigns, services deserved to win? All awards should précis each of the winning campaigns with video case studies, where available, and provide links to further information – this way we can all learn from these best-practice campaigns and winners get to show off their achievements to potential clients. Cannes Lions has been providing full details of every entry for years. Some mobile awards are starting to emulate this – such as the EMMAs and MMA’s Smarties, but many do little more than put out a press release listing the winners. Now that Cannes has launched the Mobile Lions those awards that continue to provide the lowest common denominator will start to look increasingly pointless.
Where awards organizers fall short, mobiThinking collects links, descriptions and/or videos for the winning campaigns. mobiThinking is gradually adding all the major mobile awards to this guide.
So why should you want to win an award?
• For the brand – it’s great publicity for your mobile service (most awards are inundated by mobile apps that are desperate to increase public awareness). Highlight your innovation to consumers. Share your success with your peers – remember if no one shared best-practice campaigns, no one would learn.
• For agencies – there’s no better way to advertise your exceptional services.
• For both – if the judges love it, so should the consumers. How better to validate your mobile strategy is on track?
A word of warning…
Many awards focus on creativity rather than effectiveness. This is why a flashy novelty mobile app with a 10,000 downloads might beat a messaging-based CRM campaign which delivered 100,000 opted-in subscribers or delivering US$1 million in revenue. All brands should make certain that the advice they receive from their agency is motivated by driving incremental business for the client, rather than the likelihood of the agency picking up an award. Read this:
• Why your ad agency likes mobile apps
For some tips from awards judges, see:
• How to create an award-winning mobile campaign
Other guides in this series:
• Guide to mobile agencies • Guide to mobile ad networks • The insiders' guides to world’s top mobile markets • Compendium of global mobile stats
The Webby Awards a.k.a. The Webbys.
• Founded: 1996, mobile category started in 2007.
• Deadline for entries: December each year.
• Entry fee: US $295.
• Winners announced: May each year.
• Prize: Webby Award.
• Categories (in 2014): Best practices; Camera; Location; Video; User experience; Visual Design; Urban innovation; Connected products; Education; Entertainment; Events; Experimental & innovation; Games; Guides; Health; Integrated experience; Lifestyle; Music; News; Shopping; Social; Sports; Travel; Utilities; Mobile ads; AR.
• mobiThinking verdict: In the seven years mobile has featured at the Webby Awards, the number of categories has ballooned, which suggests it attracts plenty of entrants (but we’re not told how many). There’s a Webby Award winner – chosen by the judges – and a People's Voice Winner – where the general public and/or friends of the entrants can vote for their choice (shortlisted companies only) for each category – that doubles the chance of winning, but does this dilute the kudos of a Webby Award? If you were expecting best practice mobile Websites at the Webbys, you will be disappointed. Despite the name and heritage, the mobile categories at the Webby Awards have been overrun by native apps. There are some international entries, but mostly this is a US event. Often the same winners appear in successive years. In 2013 the Webby’s brought in a new Awards Gallery, which is flashy, but not very user friendly (ironically). There are no descriptions or videos of entries and links to case studies are rare, so in most cases we don’t know why the winners won. This is why mobiThinking goes to some length to obtain videos and descriptions.
• 2014 mobile winners include: Smart (DDB), Swiss Air (Serviceplan), The X Games (SapientNitro), Resuscitation Council (UNIT9), Natalia Project, Yahoo Weather, Points, B-Reel, Walgreens, KFC (Blink), Glasses.com, Google (72andSunny), WWE, Kringl, CloudMagic, Badland, Jetpac, Glympse, Pocket, Ogily.
Previous winners with videos and case studies: 2013 winners • 2012 winners
• Founded: 1995.
• Organized by: GSMA.
• Number of entries (2014): 680.
• Deadline for entries: November each year.
• Winners announced: February each year, at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
• Entry fee: €450 (US $599.884) per entry for GSMA Members; €500 ($666.538) for Non GSMA Members; €200 ($266.607) for entries in for Social and economic development category.
• Judges: Analysts, journalists, academics and other industry experts, including mobiThinking’s Andy Favell.
• Categories in 2014 (click for winners in each category): The Connected Life Awards; Best Mobile Services; Social and Economic Development; Apps of the Year; Best Mobile Handsets and Devices; Best Technology; Government Mobile Excellence Awards; Outstanding Achievement Award.
• mobiThinking verdict: The Global Mobile Awards have a 19-year pedigree and are well-respected within the mobile business. Where other awards concentrate on particular aspects of mobile – marketing, services, apps, devices, technology or ethical initiatives – the GSMA attempts to cover it all in one set of awards. This gives the Global Mobile Awards a jack-of-all-trades feel and a lack of focus, but provides an interesting overview of everything that is happening in mobile. Some categories you can’t enter, including the best mobile app and device categories, which is a bit unusual. Also in 2013 the Mobile marketing & advertising category disappeared, which makes the GSMA awards less attractive to mobile marketers/agencies.
Most winners are given a short write up and a comment from the judges, which is useful. Disappointingly there are no video case studies (at the time of writing), so mobiThinking has collected these from the winners.
• 2014 mobile winners include: Apple, AirWatch, Akbank, AT&T, City1Tap, CityMapper, Demograft, Device 6k, Dragon Drive, Easypaisa, Energize the Chain, Filip, Globe GoSakto, Grameenphone, HTC, KT Corporation, LG, Lowe and Partners, Magic Pencil, NSN, Nokia, PointGrab, Smart’s SafePh, Samsung, SK Telecom, SecureAuth, Sensory, Telefonica O2, Turkcell, Vodafone Foundation, Wibbitz, Unilever, Xively.
• Previous winners: 2013 Winners • 2012 Winners.
• Founded: 2010.
• Organized by: Mobile Marketing Magazine.
• Deadline for entries: September, each year.
• Entry fee: free (though originally there was a fee).
• Number of entries: 250.
• Winners announced: November, each year at an awards dinner in London, UK.
• Categories in 2013: Most Effective Mobile… Ad campaign; Messaging campaign; Ad network; Affiliate campaign; AR campaign; B2B app; B2C app; Charity campaign; Couponing/barcode ; CRM/Messaging; Location-based Service; mCommerce; Mobile site; Operator campaign; Payment solution; Publishing solution; Social; Mobile promotion; Tablet app; Ticketing solution; Travel & Tourism.
• What the judges look for: Originality of idea (scored out of 10); quality of execution (out of 10); Effectiveness (out of 15)
• mobiThinking verdict: The EMMAs is rapidly becoming one of mobiThinking’s favorite awards. The quality of the entries improves year-on-year. Entries still tend to be skewed towards the UK and Western Europe, but the global reach is growing. The distinguishing feature of these awards is the focus on effectiveness. That means these winners have been honored because they delivered ROI for the client, not just because the creative looked nice. The organizers go to some trouble to profile both the winners and finalists in the magazine and online… which is a lot more useful than the list of winners that some awards think is acceptable.
• Judges include: David Murphy, Mobile Marketing magazine; Helen Keegan, technokitten.com; James Cameron, Camerjam; John Mew, IAB; Rob Thurner, Mobile Training Academy; Russell Buckley, UK Government Advisor; Nick Lane, Mobilesquared; Steve Ricketts, ATAO; Andy Favell, mobiThinking.
• 2013 winners include: PepsiCo/Torcida (Brandtone), Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre (Iris Mobile/Leo Burnett), Colgate (MEC), Nimbletank, Mothercare, British Journal of Photography (Apptitude Media), EE (Publicis Blueprint), Velti, Halo (Tapit) TUI (AKQA/Aditi/Creator).
Previous winners with videos and case studies: 2012 winners • 2011 winners • 2010 winners.
• Organized by: Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF).
• Founded: 2004.
• Deadline for entries: July (often extended).
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Entry fee: US$399 per submission; US$199.00 for MEF members; Start-up/NGO US$75.
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Finalists announced: October.
• Winners announced: November at the Meffys Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner, 2013 in San Francisco (previously always held in London).
• Prizes: Meffy Award trophy.
• mobiThinking verdict: The Meffys has been running for ten years, making it one of the more established mobile award ceremonies. In that time it has celebrated some of the greats in mobile entertainment.
It would be useful, for the winners and observers alike, if the Meffys would publish descriptions of each entry and/or video case studies (or links to them), as it’s important to know why each won.
The videos and links featured in this section were sourced by mobiThinking. • Categories in 2013: Brand on Mobile; Consumer Trust; Content Service Award; Discovery & Engagement Award; Games; Life Tools; Mobile Money; Social & Entertainment App Award; Social Responsibility & Development Award; Innovation in Apps; Innovative Business Model; Innovation in Growth Markets; Innovation in Technology; Outstanding Contribution.
• 2013 winners include: Pepsico (Brandtone), NQ Mobile, Maluuba, Everything.me, ZeptoLab, Tile, Barclays Pingit, Shazam, Mahindra Comviva, SwiftKey, Fortumo, Mozilla Firefox OS, moWoza.
• Judges Analysts, journalists, VCs, academics and other industry experts, including mobiThinking’s Andy Favell.
Previous winners with videos and case studies: 2012 winners.
• Organized by: Mobile Entertainment/Intent Media
• Founded: 2006
• Deadline for entries: May.
• Entry fee: Free.
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Finalists announced: October.
• Winners announced: November at the ME Awards dinner, London, UK.
• Prizes: ME Award.
• Categories in 2013 include: Best… Consumer App; Enterprise App; Game; Video Service; Music; Gambling; Adult; AR; Social Games; Tools; Payments; Web Publishing; Ad Network; Mobile Ad; Agency; Market Research; PR Agency; Recruitment; Device; Operator.
• mobiThinking verdict: The ME Awards is in its seventh year and attracts a good selection of entrants from across the mobile entertainment business, though most of these are from the UK (where the awards take place). There are vendor categories – more so than most mobile awards – as well as the usual brand/customer success stories. The big advantage is that it is free and relatively straight forward to enter (there’s no demand for a video), however nominees are expected to attend the awards dinner, for which a ticket costs £295 +VAT.
It would be useful, for the winners and observers alike, if the ME Awards would publish descriptions of each entry and/or video case studies (or links to them), as it’s important to know why each won. The publisher promises there will be video interviews published with the 2013 winners, which may explain more.
The videos and links featured in this section were sourced by mobiThinking. • 2013 winners include: Gameloft, HotelTonight, Warburtons (Golden Gekko), EA, Saffron Digital, Spotify, Betfair, Cherry Media, Audi (Somo), BoosterMedia, Tapjoy, Unity Technologies, Bango, InMobi, eBay (Fetch), Amobee, comScore, Samsung, O2 and dotMobi.
• Judges N/A.
• Founded: 2004.
• Organized by: Mobile Marketing Association.
• Deadline for entries: July each year (please check MMA site, as dates keep changing).
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Winners announced: September each year (please check MMA site, as dates keep changing).
• Categories in 2013: Best use of mobile marketing for… brand awareness; product/services launch; lead generation/DR; promotion; relationship building; cross-media integration; social impact; mobile Website; tablet campaign; in-app advertising; use of mobile social media; messaging; rich media; location; mCommerce; mobile app; innovation.
• mobiThinking verdict: The MMA Awards are well-respected and in the past has drawn in a broad range of mobile campaigns from big brands around the globe. In recent years, however, the variety of mobile media has diminished as novelty mobile apps have come to the fore. The MMA now provides links to video case studies for many campaigns, which is great, but unfortunately these are hosted on Dropbox, so many don’t work so well. It would also be good to see links to campaigns and/or descriptions of the campaigns or any notes from the judges explaining why they won. In 2011, the MMA rebranded the awards ‘The Smarties’. While this name might sound catchier, it may cause some confusion, not least as Smarties is not an acronym for the awards.
• 2013 Winners include: Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Arc Worldwide); Kontor Records (Ogilvy); Colgate (MEC); Mercedes (Maxus); Samsung (Starcom MVG); Samsung (Razorfish); Swedish Afghan Committee (Mobiento); Hungry Lion (Yonder Media); DreamWorks; Nestle (Maxus); Johnson & Johnson (JWT); Abercrombie & Fitch (R/GA); Carvalho Hosken (Artplan); Rich Secco (Cheil); UN Germany (Cheil); Mahou (Mobile Dreams Factory); Billboard Magazine (Ogilvy).
• Previous winners with videos and case studies: 2012 winners • 2011 winners • 2010 winners.
• Founded: 2009
• Organized by: DIGIDAY
• Deadline for entries: July.
• Entry fee: N/A.
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Finalists announced: October… but full details are unavailable.
• Winners announced: October, at the Mobi Awards Gala in New York City.
• mobiThinking verdict: The Mobi Awards used to provide an in-depth report on each of the winners and finalists – as good as those provided at Cannes. Sadly today Digiday only provides list of winners, with no links or video case studies, and this was surprisingly hard-to-find on the Website. The URL for the Mobi Awards published in this press release was still unavailable a month after the ceremony. A full list of finalists was also unavailable.
mobiThinking believes all awards should provide details of, and/or a video case study for each winning campaign. Not only do such reports provide excellent publicity for the winners/finalists, and help educate the rest of us to the DNA of an award-winning campaign, but also adds to the authenticity of the competition – i.e. you can judge for yourself if they are worthy winners. As Mobi Awards no longer provides this service, it is difficult to recommend them ahead of rival mobile awards that take their legacy more seriously.
• 2013 Award winners include: Samsung (Starcom MediaVest, Spreading Jam); Sony Mobile (MRY); Paramount Pictures (MEC, Joule); Sony Electronics (UM, Amazon); Britney Spears Fragrances (PHD); Avis (Starcom MediaVest, Spark, Leo Burnett); The Travel Channel (Rockfish); Comedy Central (Roundarch Isobar); Purina (Zeus Jones, Checkmark, Drivetrain Agency); REI (Deloitte Digital); Gucci Mobile Website (Huge); Bravo (Emerging Media); AdColony.
• Founded: 1954.
• Deadline for entries: March each year.
• Entry fee (for Mobile Lions): €399 (US $528.65) for international entries €478.80 (US $634.37) for UK entries.
• Number of (mobile) entries: 1,061.
• Winners announced: June each year.
• Prize: (much coveted) Lion trophy.
• mobiThinking verdict: A Lion trophy brings a lot of kudos for the winners; and great publicity for all entrants. mobiThinking has been campaigning for years for a Mobile Lions category at Cannes, so it’s good to see it attract a whopping 965 entries in 2012 and 1,061 in 2013. The quality and variety of winners is pretty impressive, highlighted by an SMS-based m-learning initiative from the Philippines winning the Mobile Lions Grand Prix 2013. The most excellent thing about Cannes is that most entrants prepare an enlightening video case study (we have collected 44 winning videos so far).
In 2012, the mobile categories were carefully crafted (disclosure: mobiThinking was one of the advisers to the Cannes organizers as the mobile Lions was set up), to help to avoid the tsunami of branded novelty apps which monopolize other mobile awards.
• Categories (in 2013): Creative Use of Technology; Mobile Websites and Web Apps; Mobile Apps; Tablets and other devices; Games; Rich Media Mobile Advertising; Messaging campaigns; Integrated Campaigns led by Mobile; Craft – with numerous subcategories.
• 2013 Grand Prix and Gold winners include: Smart Communications (DDB DM9jaymesyfu); Mattel (Ogilvy); Singtel (Ogilvy & Mather); RBS (SapientNitro); DoReMIR (Mobiento); Reborn (Duval Guillaume Modem); Baobeihuijia (JWT); Google (Party); JFK Library (Martin Agency); Auchan (Serviceplan); Starhub Mobile (DDB); Kontor Records (Ogilvyaction); JFK Library (Martin Agency); Gold Lion for Mcdonald's (DDB); Adidas Neo (TBWA Helsinki).
• Previous winners: 2012 Winners • Cannes 2011 • Cannes 2010.
• Founded: 2010
• Organized by: International Center for New Media (Austria).
• Deadline for entries: July, 2014. Entries have to be nominated by the expert in your country. The WSA’s UK expert is mobiThinking’s Andy Favell – to recommend examples of mobile excellence in the UK to editor (at) mobiThinking.com.
• Number of entries: N/A.
• Winners announced: 40 winners were announced in October 2012. Eight global mobile champions were announced February 2013, in Abu Dhabi.
• Categories in 2012/3: m-health, m-government, m-learning, m-inclusion, m-commerce, m-media and m-entertainment.
• Advantages: well-organized mobile awards: great categories; high quality of winners; as entrants are nominated by a local expert, it helps to ensure there’s a good spread of entrants from across the globe (102 counties). For each winner there is a description and, for many, video case studies, giving us all the chance to learn from the entries.
• Disadvantages: The nominee system places a lot of confidence in the ability of the designated country representative. Some countries will be wondering why their mobile sectors are underrepresented. The last time these awards ran (2010) there was a good spread of entries from across mobile media, but in 2012/3 the finalists/winners are dominated by smartphone applications. As these would only work on a small minority of handsets in most entrants’ countries, it is hard to see how these fit the WSA’s mandate to make the information society more inclusive.
• 2013 Winners include: Hand Talk (Brazil); Roadroid (Sweden); Prognosis: Your Diagnosis (Sri Lanka); Project Noah (Canada); iButterfly (China); News 360 (United States); Harpoen (Indonesia); DerManDar Panorama.
• Previous winners: 2010/11 Winners.
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