Webby Awards, recognizing promotional excellence on the internet, has added PR as a category. Work by Edelman, DKC, Ogilvy and Havas are nominated.

The Webby Awards

Webby, established in 1996, drew 13,000 entries this year from the U.S. and 70 other countries. Categories, besides PR, include websites, film & video, ads, mobile sites & apps, social media, podcasts and digital audio.

David Michel-DaviesDavid-Michel Davies

There are awards in two categories, The Webby Award as picked by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and The People’s Voice Award as voted on by the public until April 20.

Winners will be announced April 25 and honored at a dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on May 15. Executive director of the Awards is David-Michel Davies.

Sponsors and partners include Google, YouTube, Advertising Age, Billboard, Mashable, The Hollywood Reporter, Social Media Week, WNYC and a dozen others.

PR Nominees

Samsun Human Drone Video by Edelman
Finger Lickin' Good Edible Nail Polish Video by Ogilvy
The Most Interesting Man in the World Video by Havas

Edelman has been nominated for “Best Influencer Endorsement” for a video on the “Samsung Human Drone” showing a large drone lifting a snowboarder off a mountain.

DKC’s entry is in the “Best Mobile Site/App-Travel” category. Called “Detour,” it is an audio guide for tours of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Ogilvy has been nominated for “Best Event” for a video for Kentucky Fried Chicken called “Finger Lickin’ Good Edible Nail Polish.”

Havas is in the running with a video titled “Adios Amigos” that gives reasons why Dos Equis is being retired as “The most interesting man in the world.”

R/GA, New York-based digital agency, has the most nominations at 13 while BBDO, a unit of Omnicom, has ten. Others with multiple nominations include Wieden+Kennedy with nine and McCann New York with eight.

The agencies are in primary contention for the Webby “Agency of the Year” given to the agency that performs the best against all Award categories.

Webby winners are being picked by IADAS members including Barton F. Graf’s Gery Graf; Facebook’s Jill Applebaum; 72andSunny’s Glen Cole; Under Armour’s Attica Jaques, and Google’s Anna Patterson.

Complex Issues Tackled

IADAS executive director David-Michel Davies said, “This year’s Advertising, Media and PR nominees had an added challenge of creating digital campaigns, advertising and content that would not only capture people’s attention in what was an unusually crowded—and contentious—media and advertising environment, but also potentially change perceptions.”

“As always, our nominees rose to the challenge and we’re honored to celebrate all of their incredibly thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring creative messages.”

Some of the digital, guerilla, and viral marketing campaigns recognized this year include Deadpool: A Unicorn-ucopia of Marketing Wins (Fox Entertainment); Thanks 2016. It’s Been Weird (Spotify); Super Bowl Babies (Grey New York), and Stress Tested for Women (Wieden+Kennedy).

Campaigns utilized online and social media in new and creative ways included TacoBot (Deutsch); Game Changer (Droga5); Serena Williams’ Match Point (TBWA/Chiat/Day LA); Bud Light Dive Tour (Wieden + Kennedy New York), and Qantas Out of Office Travelogue (The Monkeys).

Collaborative Approach Seen

“As more traditional media companies have introduced in-house content studios and capabilities to better develop advertiser and partner content, we have seen standout branded work that continues to transform the way advertisers and media brands coexist,” said IADAS.

The collaborative creative approach is evident, it said, in Webby-nominated work like The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for Gucci (Conde Nast); LifeAfter for GE (Panoply); The Optimist Index for Oppenheimer Funds (T Brand Studios, The New York Times), and Craft Services for Old Spice (Viacom Velocity).

“Perhaps this year more than ever, agencies relied on creativity to tackle complex social and political issues, ranging from gun violence and women’s rights to climate change and bullying,” said IADAS.

“Powerful advocacy and cause-related campaigns nominated this year” include Girls of Paradise (McCann Paris); #MoreThanMean - Women in Sports Face Online Harassment (Just Not Sports); Bullying in Virtual Reality (McCann Stockholm); Speechless (john st); Change Perspective (Narrative), and Reword (Leo Burnett Melbourne).

The role of virtual reality both in advertising and branded content continued to make an impact this year, said IADAS with Nominees including Honda "Music From Every Angle” (M ss ng P eces); IKEA Virtual Reality Showroom (Demodern); Samsung Bedtime Stories VR (BBH); BBC Home: A VR Spacewalk (REWIND); The People’s House (Felix and Paul Studios); Greenpeace: Journey to the Arctic (Media Monks), and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them VR (Framestore VR Studio).

Overall, 2016 was an exceptional year for branded content, said IADAS, with standouts including GIPHY Keys to Success (GIPHY); Say my name, say my name (Jhpiego); Undercover Lyft (Lyft), and Lemonade, Not Ice T (The Martin Agency).