Marketing Innovation winner: Essence for the International Olympic Games Committee

After a year’s postponement, the Olympic Games returned with no audiences. Essence were tasked to engage a community to save the Games and smashed targets by more than 20%. Croud and The Trade Desk win Highly Commended for Brewdog.

In 2020, the world’s biggest sporting event, the Olympic Games, was due to take place in Tokyo, Japan. It was postponed by a year due to COVID restrictions and returned with no fans and no audiences.

Against this backdrop, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) marketing ambition was simple: to bring people together once again, irrespective of their physical distance, and drive unity through connection with the Olympic Games. During the event, the key to success is relevance and timeliness, with global news outlets competing to be the first to celebrate the sporting achievements of their athletes. 

Essence delivered just this, developing the innovative ‘The Custom Medal Engine’ to give fans real-time updates on their nation's medals through bespoke ads, automatically generated using imagery and messaging. This was done across multiple markets, time zones and languages. By tapping into the national team pride around the Olympics, and generating excitement by enabling fans to see wins in real-time from their Olympians, Essence helped the IOC connect with fans in an innovative and inspiring way.

The results from The Custom Medal Engine were impressive, with significant increases in conversion rates and millions of impressions, while unique users of smashed set targets by more than 20%. 

Highly Commended: Croud and The Trade Desk, Brewdog

Croud established programmatic as a key component of BrewDog’s digital media strategy. 

In November 2021, it ran an integrated and multi-format campaign for the brewery to supercharge its e-commerce transactions, with its approach significantly exceeding set CPA targets.

Croud utilised The Trade Desk’s (TTD) suite of integrated partners and products to reach Brewdog’s goals and more. Aside from increased investment and driving significant performance gains, it introduced cutting edge interactive ads and reduced its carbon footprint.


  • CrakRevenue, Jerkmate
  • CHS, The Allianz Group