Starcom MediaVest Group has won a Gold Media Lion at the 2009 Cannes International Advertising Festival for its Mars ‘Strauchanie’ campaign.

The campaign revolves around Strauchanie, played by comedian Peter Helliar, receiving a personal Mars ‘sponsorship’. The sponsorship saw Strauchanie appear throughout the 16-week series of the show Before the Game with tales of his personal sponsorship by Mars “proving his greatness”.

Starcom chief operating officer Chris Nolan said the campaign was successful because the brand was central to the media idea, well integrated into the storyline, and Strauchnie’s humour and irreverence connected with the Mars audience.

“The team was prepared to push the boundaries of brand integration and provided excellent direction and some creative licence to Peter Helliar, who delivered in spades for the brand,” Nolan said.

Mars indicated that the success of the campaign was measured through consumer research that isolated the effect of the Mars-Strauchanie TV integration from pure TV advertising and proved a 30 percent higher result.

The company said that supermarket orders increased by 30 percent and Mars Fun Size sales went up 17 percent, halting a long-term decline in the product.

Mars said that its key objective was to improve the brand’s rating from its fifth ‘favourite brand’ status in Australia, which rose to third following the campaign.

Mathew Barbagallo, Mars Inc marketing director, asserted that Strauchanie added a new flavour to the Mars brand, capitalising on comedy to convert audiences to consumers.

“Strauchnie is a legend, a real character in our great Australian game, which we found to be a perfect fit for our legendary brand to further build its iconic status in Australia,” Barbagallo said.