20 Digital Leaders Detail Why This Work Matters

We spoke to leading agency creatives, influential marketers, and pioneering media company leaders—all members of the IAB MIXX Awards judging panel—about the year’s top digital advertising. Here’s what they had to say about what works and why.


The Greater Purpose: We Are Defiantly Human

Jeff Benjamin, digital creative pioneer, and 2014 IAB MIXX Awards jury chair

What Inspires the Experts

“The Chipotle “Scarecrow” campaign combines the best of Hollywood and the gaming industry. An intriguing story and a compelling gaming experience, which are both beautifully crafted with a rare sensitivity for their respective mediums, deliver the brand’s powerful message with equal weight.”

Nick Law
Global Chief Creative Officer

“What they've created is essentially a comprehensive compilation of skate tricks with an instructional aspect that lends context and purpose to the whole platform. By building a special rig to film these moves, they've given skaters valuable insight into how the tricks work. So it's this combination of an educational platform and cultural anthology that results in something really special.”

Michael Lebowitz
Founder and CEO
Big Spaceship

“The Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” program developed by Deep Focus is a great example of an advertising idea that leverages the viral power of social media and involves consumers in a fun way, but is also grounded in solid strategic insight.”

John Costello
President, Global Marketing and Innovation
Dunkin’ Brands

“The Ken Burns iPad App showed us that sometimes the best advertising isn’t advertising. This application uncovered a new and magical way for consumers to participate with Ken’s films - letting a new audience enjoy and share his work. It’s also a testament to the role of craft in designing products. The love and skill that went into this piece reminds us that great ideas aren’t enough - you need great art direction, interface design, writing, sound, and touch if you want to truly be great.”

Jeff Benjamin
former Chief Creative Officer
JWT North America

“The “I Touch Myself Project” is a great example of how an idea with purpose and intense creativity can drive results regardless of the media budget! The raw and haunting nature of the campaign commands attention and action…and can save lives. Powerful!”

Kim Kadlec
former Head of Global Strategic Partnerships

“The Goal Screen is one of those rare cases of a QSR brand enhancing customers experience beyond fast food. It redefines the way you use a tool and keeps an audience entertained.”

Ciro Sarmiento
Executive Creative Director

“When it comes to bacon, we’ve seen it all –bacon t-shirts, slippers, and eyewear. But as much as we love bacon, it’s not the look of it that gets us…it’s the smell. Leave it to Oscar Mayer to reinvent the category they “own” by taking bacon from being something you see to something you smell. With scent-based advertising being new and so unique, the risk was high, but the reward was a major advertising break-through. I love to see an iconic brand take that risk and reach innovative excellence. When it came to reinvigorating their brand, Oscar Mayer realized it was time to “wake up and smell the bacon”.”

Laurie Koehler
Consumer Campaigns Manager, Americas Marketing Group
Intel Corporation

“I love search campaigns, because there is only performance. Everything else is stripped away. Red Roof Inn saw an opportunity to meet the needs of their customers and the answer was a real-time mechanism that could only be delivered via mobile search. In the context of what is happening today in the world of digital marketing, campaigns that drive results will be fueled by the smart use of technologies that are guided by a need, not by the solution. Red Roof Inn executed that playbook flawlessly.”

Andy Markowitz
Director, Global Digital Strategy
General Electric Company

“Inakadate Village’s “rice-code” was a perfect blend of art and science. Drawing inspiration from the very thing that drove the village’s economy—rice—the team created artwork that was both elaborate and compelling. That artwork was then amplified with creative yet simple uses of digital media, not as a channel, but as an engine powering audience interaction. By using basic mobile interaction at the heart, it became easy for people to turn beautiful images into the dinner on their table that night The campaign worked because the team allowed audiences to seamlessly admire, capture and buy a beautiful product entirely through their mobile devices.”

Marla Skiko
EVP/Director of Digital Innovation
SMG Multicultural

“Innovation” has become an abused and debased word. Clever Buoy righteously lays claim to the word using technology and innovation to reimagine our beach-going experience, saving us from sharks and as importantly sharks from us. Using sonar and mobile tech, lifeguards are warned of a shark’s approach to beaches. Shark tracking and research ensues. Needless shark killing is stopped. A bold client, OPTUS, and its agency, M&C Saatchi, produced an idea that WORKS. “Innovation” indeed.”

Lincoln Bjorkman
Global Chief Creative Officer

“Many of the banner ads we come across in our daily digital routines are really just noise; but the “Off Road Radio Banner" was noise that people actually wanted to listen to. The simple concept of having remote radio stations audible through the banner, along with the positioning of the car as a conduit to remote locales, was truly effective. All this while giving the user a satisfying payoff simply by clicking on the banner -- the realtime audio from far off places.”

Jon Jackson
Executive Creative Director

“Coke’s “America is Beautiful” campaign generated a great online conversation about Coke. The social media controversy caused by singing “America the Beautiful” in several languages helped make Coke relevant, but the message was completely in line with Coke’s position of driving happiness. Best of all, Coca-Cola didn’t have to defend itself online—Coke’s fans did that for them. The work not only sparked a positive conversation about the values of the brand, but it also drove up sales by resonating deeply with young Americans, a generation that is the most multicultural ever.”

David Roman
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

“The brilliance of this idea was taking the abstract concept of data vulnerability and making it personal—designing an experience that allowed users to see how they could be victimized by hackers in the real-world. The result was the most menacing individualized marketing campaign ever. AKQA and Ubisoft drew massive attention to their game launch not just by broadcasting their message via paid media, but instead inviting users to experience the shocking dark edges of data privacy and sharing that experience themselves. The best marketing touches human emotions. This campaign does that in a completely unexpected and thoroughly modern way.”

Baba Shetty
Chief Strategy and Media Officer

“The Huffington Post Studio collaboration with Chipotle brought two like-minded brands together to create content in a compelling way that really meshed with the values both companies share. It's the perfect example of the importance of creating content rooted in a shared value system that in turn echoes that of the target audience.”

Elizabeth Pizzinato
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts