If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, there were plenty of full bellies at the 2007 IAB Australia Interactive Advertising Awards – and it wasn’t from the gala dinner.

The ‘puddings’ were the award-winning interactive campaigns – and the ‘proof’ was the results delivered by a diverse range of creative and media strategies encompassing the full spectrum of interactive platforms.

The campaigns were different, but they had one thing in common – they showcased the true power of the interactive medium and its ability to reach consumers, immerse them in an engaging brand experience and then measure the effectiveness of the dollars spent.

Here is a taste of some of the award-winning campaigns that encouraged people to click through, delve deeper and discover more about a product or service.

Telstra takes to the streets

Campaign: Telstra Street Idol
Agencies: George Patterson Y&R, Tiger Spike
IAB Awards: Best in Show and Consumer Goods – Creative category winner

When Telstra took promotion of its new 3G mobile service to the streets, the results went through the roof, with an interactive campaign created by George Patterson Y&R and Tiger Spike.

The challenge
Telstra wanted to target the notoriously difficult youth sector with a campaign to boost awareness of its mobile 3G video capabilities and to increase traffic on its 3G network. It needed a campaign that would create interaction and engagement with the young target, demonstrate the benefits of 3G and encourage uptake.

The agencies created an integrated campaign that made great use of cross-platform content and delivered interaction and engagement in spades. Tapping into the popularity of Australian Idol, the campaign offered everyone the chance to star in their own 30-second music clip and upload it to the Telstra Street Idol website via mobile or PC. Contestants could email their clip to friends, and site visitors could view all clips, download favourites and send them as video messages to friends’ 3G mobile phones. Six finalists selected by judges and six ‘People’s Choice’ finalists decided by total downloads, vied to be the ‘First Telstra Street Idol’.

The campaign increased traffic on Telstra’s 3G service. When it ended, correct brand recall was a whopping 87 percent, and acquisition and re-contract rates were up to 250 percent above forecasts. Results worth idolising!

Mitsubishi’s Revolution a revelation

Campaign: Mitsubishi Motors Revolution Facility
Agency: Clemenger Proximity
IAB Award: Automotive – Creative category winner

How do you turn ‘potentially dull’ into ‘mustn’t miss’? Clemenger Proximity showed how with its Revolution Facility campaign for Mitsubishi.

The challenge
The objective was to change people’s perceptions and reignite excitement for the Mitsubishi brand.

Clemenger Proximity invited people to join the ‘Mitsubishi Revolution’, with a dedicated ‘secret’ site and special codes providing advance access to new model rooms and information about upcoming innovations. The site incorporated innovative navigation, and superb use of interactivity and video assets, explaining potentially dull brand pillars in an engaging way.

The site enticed visitors to hang around and discover more – successfully changing perceptions of the brand and building interest in new models. It drew 60 percent more first time visitors to the site – and one in every two visitors to the main site clicked through to the Revolution Facility site.

Westpac Debit MasterCard campaign a masterstroke

Campaign: Westpac Debit MasterCard
Agency: NetX
IAB Award: Financial Services – Creative category winner

Humour and cut-through were top of the list when NetX developed the Westpac Debit MasterCard campaign.

The challenge
The aim was to build awareness for Westpac Debit Card as the ideal choice for online purchases.

NetX’s high impact execution focused on cut-through and humour. It demonstrated key selling points with an Over-the-Page that ‘sucked’ every item off the homepage of strategic sites like the Trading Post and into a Westpac-branded skyscraper.

The results included a flood of applications for the debit card and savings even Westpac hadn’t banked on in forecasts. Applications were three times above target – and they were achieved for 30 percent of the projected cost per acquisition.

21st century strategy for 20th Century Fox flick

Campaign: X-Men: The Last Stand
Agency: Soap Creative
IAB Award: Travel, Entertainment and Leisure – Creative and Media winner

Soap Creative cleaned up the travel, entertainment and leisure category for its X-Men: The Last Stand campaign for 20th Century Fox.

The challenge
The aim was to create awareness that would translate into box office sales in a crowded film market.

The creative strategy featured clever use of rich media video, Over-the-Pages, competitions and exclusive content. The interactive media campaign featured a tiered approach that left no stone unturned when looking for placement firsts, including space in employment, dating, auctions and real estate, and full-page streaming ads and Over-The-Pages.

Extending the idea to reach various audiences created momentum for the movie. By providing every opportunity for people to engage with X-Men content, the campaign contributed to the box office smash, which became one of the top 10 films of 2006. The strategy drove total awareness for the movie to 86 percent above the norm. More than 42,000 video streams were launched. X-Men winks were displayed 423,000 times, backgrounds 3.3 million times, and online ticket sales outstripped films Mission Impossible 3 and The Da Vinci Code.

Legendary campaign success for Honda

Campaign: Honda Legend
Agency: Zenith Optimedia
IAB Award: Automotive – Media category winner

Honda’s slogan may be ‘The power of dreams’, but when choosing the lead media for its Legend campaign, Honda backed the power of interactive – and Zenith Optimedia won the media automotive category as a result.

The challenge
The aim: build awareness and leads for Honda’s luxury model, the 2006 Legend.

Honda wanted online as its lead channel, and the agency executed a considered strategic approach. The media tactics were defined along the consumer ‘path to purchase’, with communications closely matched to the audience’s use of the medium.

The strategy paid off. Leads were more than double the target. Overall exposure was 40 percent above forecast, and click-through rates for many placements were more than three times the automotive industry average.

Nike football campaign scores with kids

Campaign: Nike Stuff History
Agency: Publicis Digital
IAB Award: Consumer – Media category winner

Publicis Digital took out the consumer goods category for its youth-focused Nike Stuff History campaign.

The challenge
The objective was to provide a strongly Nike branded rallying cry for football-crazy kids.

Publicis Digital brought the idea to life in a fun and irreverent way, extending the campaign beyond the website, infiltrating social networks, creating profiles for History within YouTube, MySpace and within Nike’s soccer community, joga.com.

Combined with targeted online display and tactical paid advertising on search engines, the campaign delivered a 28 percent increase in registrations, and drove more than 70 percent of upstream traffic to Nike Football.

Beer budget, champagne results for 7-Eleven Slurp Off

Campaign: 7-Eleven Slurp Off
Agency: Starcom
IAB Award: Fusion – Media category winner

A ‘slurp off’ video pitting the two favourite 7-Eleven Slurpee flavours – cola and raspberry – against each other in a popularity contest delivered Starcom the media award in the Fusion category.

The challenge
The aim was to keep Slurpees on the consideration list for kids during winter. It had to deliver an entertaining vehicle for the target audience to engage and interact with the brand. It had to generate a database of ‘Slurpee addicts’ for future CRM – and it had to keep it cool at all times to ensure street cred.

The 7-Eleven Slurp Off campaign, executed on a shoestring budget, combined standard online media and non-traditional digital channels using the ‘slurp off’ video. Starcom’s strategy – ‘let the influencers take the lead’ – allowed the target audience to discover the video on sites such as YouTube, MySpace and Google Video.

Carefully managed viral media usage exposed the brand to more than one million people – 150 percent above plan. The video was viewed more than 312,000 times on external sites – 880 percent above estimates, and the competition generated almost 10,000 entries – double the estimate. The campaign smashed its benchmarks for cost per reach, and per reach of bull’s-eye target, and it drove each visitor to the micro site almost three times. It even got a Wikipedia entry.

Bring on 2008…
These innovative and effective creative and media strategies really hit the mark in the inaugural IAB Interactive Advertising Awards. For your own shot at fame, why not join marketers and agencies of all sizes and showcase your online innovation in creative and media by entering the 2008 IAB Australia Interactive Advertising Awards? Entries will open mid January 2008 and close 3 March 2008, with a gala Award dinner on 1 May. Visit www.iabaustralia.com.au for more details.