Effie Award judges hail clever approach to achieving results Finalists in this year's Effie Awards used informative, customer-oriented approaches to inject new life into traditional brands, according award organisers. The Effie Award ceremonies, held for the second time in Hong Kong, are considered the advertising industry's Oscars. Organisers say it is the only competition in the industry that awards prizes in direct accordance with tangible results. 'We received 43 entries this year, double the number from last year,' said Alison Ho, chairwoman of Hong Kong Advertisers Association, co-organiser of the awards. Thirteen prizes were awarded to 21 finalists from 30 categories. 'This year's finalists surprised us a lot with new, innovative marketing techniques,' said Melanie Lee, vice-president of marketing of New World Mobility and one of the judges. One standout was Brand's Essence of Chicken, a 50-year-old traditional health supplement. 'In the past, Brand's Essence of Chicken was the product that parents bought their children to prepare for examinations,' Ms Lee said. 'The company successfully appealed to modern sensibilities to introduce a new impression that changes the nightmare image of the brand among young people,' she said. Brand's advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather Advertising (O&M) used humour to introduce viewers to the hormone cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands in response to physical or psychological stress, while demonstrating how Essence of Chicken helped counteract it. The campaign commercials showed stressed-out people screaming, while a doctor calmly informed the audience about the suitability of Brand's Essence of Chicken for relieving stress. 'The campaign helped the Brand's revitalise itself,' said Ms Lee, adding that this would stimulate sales among young consumers. Another prize winner, Hang Seng Insurance, also used novel techniques to promote its insurance business with which many of its own customers are unfamiliar. Rather than a traditional brand-building campaign, Hang Seng's 'The future arrives sooner than you imagine' emphasised the need for insurance, while quietly informing viewers that the bank was a trusted, reliable source for the product. 'We are well-known in Hong Kong, but many people don't know we are selling insurance products,' said William Leung, general manager and head of wealth management at Hang Seng Bank. Hang Seng's campaign introduced travel, life and retirement insurance products using situational dramas. The campaign boosted the firm's new policy market share to 10 per cent, or third among Hong Kong insurers. 'Our [television commercials] demonstrate the necessity of having an insurance policy, rather than selling the image of the company,' said Kelvin Chen, managing director of Leo Burnett, the agency behind Hang Seng's campaign. Brand awareness of Hang Seng Insurance rose 40 per cent over a year earlier. The business also outpaced industry growth and exceeded internal sales targets. Cathay Pacific Airways promoted its 'people and service' campaign through six television commercials focusing on the cabin crew interaction with passengers. 'Our crews get closer to our passengers to meet their needs,' said Celine Ho, marketing communications manager of Cathay Pacific. One of the commercials, 'Key Chain', was particularly well received. It starred a couple signing a divorce agreement at a lawyer's office, with the spouse complaining that her husband never brought home any gifts from his trips abroad. The lawyer is then seen buying a key chain on a Cathay Pacific flight to express his love to his wife. 'After the key chain commercial, inflight sales rose 60 per cent to reach a record high, and the key chain sold out quickly,' Ms Ho said. The South China Morning Post was a media sponsor of this year's Effie Awards.