The mood down at the DoubleTree by Hilton was one of confidence last Friday, as 600 industry insiders gathered in Dublin to celebrate another year of innovation and growth.
Confidence and laughter, in fact, as Oliver Callan got his hands on the mic. The Nob Nation funnyman lampooned Enda Kenny, Michael D, Louis Walsh, Eamon Dunphy and the usual suspects in hilarious fashion. When things finally settled down again at the 2015 Digital Media Awards it didn't take long to establish that Ireland's digital media scene is in pretty good shape these days, as scores of world-class companies and projects competed in a vast array of categories.
If innovation is the benchmark then Dublin design agency Frontend.com have it cracked. They took a concept that's been around for generations – the humble milkman – and revolutionised it for the 21st century, in partnership with dairy giant Glanbia.
Their MyMilkman.ie project is a revelation: customers across Ireland can find a milkman and manage orders and payments through the app. Meanwhile, milkmen can maintain customer accounts, deliveries and payments through the separate back-office interface and the Doorstep app. The result is greater flexibility for customers and significant time and cost savings for the milkman.
As is often the case with the power of digital media, somehow something that feels like it's been around forever has been reinvented. The Frontend team deservedly took home Best Design/Art Direction, Best Use of Mobile – along with the coveted Digital Media Awards Grand Prix.
Newcomers Wolfgang Digital also came away with a formidable haul of DMA statuettes. Big data is all the rage at the moment, and the Wolfgang Labs project helps to make sense of it all. A series of their digital marketing studies have featured in outlets such as Forbes and Moz, and an impressed panel of judges awarded them the Big Data Award, Best Company Using Digital and Best Agency (sponsored by breakingnews.ie).
Best Integrated Digital Campaign (sponsored by Ad2One) and Best Brand Using Digital went to the HSE You Can Quit campaign, driven by creative agency Carat. The aim was to offer public information and support in an engaging and non-judgemental way, whether through www.quit.ie or social media networks.
Digital on the agenda
It was 'lucky 13' for Ashville Media Group's Digital Media Awards team this year, defying the unluckiest of numbers to make the 13th running of the awards a success. "The 2015 DMAs saw a 40 per cent increase on entries, which shows that agencies and companies alike have put digital on their agenda," explains Tracey Carney, Event Director. "It also shows that the DMAs are the awards that agencies want to win."
So congratulations to Presentation College Carlow, encouraging the next generation of digital natives with the curriculum, teaching and resources, and what the school called "the skills and education needed to participate meaningfully in an increasingly global, technological and online world". For that, they are Digital School of the Year sponsored by The Educational Company of Ireland.
On the less serious side of things, Best Use of Social Media sponsored by Kantar Media went to HB Ice Cream (Unilever), whose New/Slang (PSG Communications)-driven project raised a smile. Their #HBGoodbyeSerious ploy broke through a noisy summer for brands in a campaign of fun and silliness.
Swedish furniture icons IKEA called upon a media strategy created by Vizeum to get their message across in a variety of channels, including their online social community. Their IKEA METOD Kitchen entry impressed the judges as well as the customers, and earned them the Best Retail Campaign gong sponsored by JCDecaux
The year ahead
It's been a strong year, then, for digital media in Ireland. But what does 2015 hold? Before the event, the judges identified priorities such as the need to make sure that everything makes sense on mobile devices, the vibrancy and innovation of the gaming sector, and – of course – content. The current trend is towards short and sharp pieces of content: witness the rise of Vine and Snapchat, and Twitter's recent introduction of 30-second video clips.
To Frontend.com, and the winners of the 23 other categories at this year's DMAs, their awards recognise excellence in communication, as well as business success in a home-grown but world-class sector in Ireland's bubbling digital economy.
No doubt they've already started on work that will raise the bar even further at next year's Digital Media Awards which open for entries in August 2015 at www.digitalmedia.ie
2015 Digital Media Awards Winners List
Best Agency sponsored by Breakingnews.ie
Best Brand Using Digital
HSE: You Can Quit
Best Company Using Digital
Best Design / Art Direction
Best Innovation sponsored by Accenture Digital
Tinder Sex Trafficking Awareness Campaign
Best Innovation in Financial Services
AIB Tablet Banking
Best Integrated Digital Campaign sponsored by Ad2One
HSE: You can Quit
Best Integrated Entertainment / News Service
Best Integrated Media Campaign sponsored by The Irish Times
Liberty Insurance Hurling & Camogie
Best Public Life
Temple Street Foundation
Best Retail Campaign sponsored by JCDecaux
IKEA METOD Kitchens
Best Search Marketing Campaign
SuperValu Smart Data, More Profit
Best Startup Using Digital
Best in Travel & Tourism
Emirates - Rhythm of Dubai
Best Use of Creative Technology Development
Red Bull Cliff Diving
Best Use of Mobile
Best Use of Social Media sponsored by Kantar Media
Best Use of Video
Temple Street BOD
Best Website / Microsite sponsored by .ie Domain Registry
Man on Bridge
El Zorrero Films
Big Data Award
From The Wolfgang Lab
Blogger of the Year
Digital School of the Year sponsored by The Education Company of Ireland
Presentation College Carlow
Student of the Year
Andrejs Rubenis – Fulfil the Dream
Best in Digital Learning sponsored by DCU
Canavan Byrne Training and Management Solutions
Canavan Byrne Ltd