The Oscars of fmcg marketing – The Grocer’s Gramia Awards – drew the creative cream of the crop to London’s swanky Savoy Hotel this week. Alex Beckett reports on who stole this year’s show

Flummery and puffery. There’s no stomach for it, says Charity Charity, global creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi and chairwoman of this year’s Gramia Awards judging panel.

“The biggest change as austerity looms is the shift towards no-bullshit advertising. People have just lost patience with flummery and puffery and by and large we’ve stopped offering it.”

“That’s why the jury liked the Birds Eye work so much,” she says. The Birds Eye polar bear winner of the TV & Cinema category was an unsettling character who lurks in kitchen freezers, bemoaning the poor quality of frozen foods. “It was downbeat, funny, never smarming up its purchaser.”

Other success stories include Doritos’ Dodgeball campaign, cashing in on the Ben Stiller blockbuster, and a comic spoof investigation into the perils of biscuit-related injuries by Fox’s Biscuits.

In a colourful ceremony at the newly reopened Savoy Hotel on Tuesday, the awards were hosted by The Grocer’s editor, Adam Leyland sporting a pink ringmaster’s outfit with rising Welsh comedian Rob Woodward presenting the awards.

Brand Experience

Diamond Gramia Winner: It Has To Be Heinz, Cow PR

Heinz pulled at the heart strings to dramatise the bond of the Great British public to Heinz products.

The judges said…

“After two weeks of alien food, the Brits arrive home to a perfectly placed plate of beans on toast. And it’s a great introduction to everyone else to the delights of British haute cuisine.”

Consumer Press

Diamond Gramia Winner: No One Leaves After Eight, After Eights, JWT

Elegant yet understated, Nestlé’s press campaign for the classic after dinner mint modernised After Eight’s outdated consumer image with panache.

The judges said…

“The visuals are clean and fresh giving a contemporary feel to an outdated brand.

“Luxurious, beautifully presented and charming.”

Consumer PR

Diamond Gramia Winner: Rocky and the British Biscuit Advisory Board, for Fox’s Biscuits, Clarion

There was more than a whiff of mischief to this campaign, for which the British Biscuit Advisory Board quango was dreamt up. Spoof questionnaires about biscuit-related injuries clocked up the column inches in Fox’s £3m spin on the ridiculousness of these health and safety obsessed times.

The judges said…

“A brave and imaginative representation of the brand’s personality, it made me laugh.”

Direct Marketing

Diamond Gramia Winner: Get Some Australian In You, Foster’s, EHS 4D

With dry, knowing humour this below-the-line push used official-looking mailshots to offer a year’s supply of lager, and letters from long-lost Australian ancestors, to re-engage with Foster’s core 18 to 24-year-old blokey audience.

The judges said…

“Direct marketing is the territory with the time and space to let this idea breathe.”

“Better than the TV ad. Well executed.”


Diamond Gramia Winner: Alan for Doritos/Guitar Hero, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

The deluded wannabe rock star Alan and how the combination of the Xbox game Guitar Hero and Doritos unlocked his wildest rock god dreams had a Walter Mitty-esque charm that delighted our judges.

The judges said…

“As a parent, I hate Guitar Hero, but as a creative director I wish I’d sired this.”

“This blew everything else off the stage. Alan, we salute you.”

Online A

Diamond Gramia Winner (joint): No One Leaves After Eight, After Eights, JWT

In introducing the UK to America’s most famous professional dinner party host Jim Haynes, a 1980s brand suddenly became relevant again as this savvy website gave viewers advice on hosting dinner parties.

The judges said…

“This website seems to bring some new and fun angles to the brand.”

“The neat trick with the tablecloth at the start had me hooked. Someone lavished an enormous amount of love on this fare.”

Online B

Diamond Gramia Winner (joint): Dodgeball for Doritos, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Like something straight out of Hollywood, Doritos pitched amateur dodgeball teams against the British public before sending the winning team to Las Vegas to take on the US champions.

The judges said…

“Essentially the 21st century version of a medieval stocks, with Timmy Mallett and friends in your sights. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance?”


Diamond Gramia Winner: Ludicrously Tasty Variety for Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, JWT

The taste credentials of Crunchy Nut were delivered on to billboards through the familiar image of Kellogg’s Variety Packs.

The judges said…

“This deceptively simple poster captures the bonkers spirit of the campaign perfectly. The client should be commended for approving a visual with no headline. It is the absence of the latter which makes you double-take the packaging.”


Diamond Gramia Winner: Redesign for Grove, BrandOpus

The organic juice brand was propelled into the 21st century with a packaging revamp that boasted bold shelf standout appeal that would differentiate Grove from own-label rivals.

The judges said…

“Packaging is a category in which many advertisers think they have to shout to be heard. This campaign shows that conceptual simplicity and single-mindedness can be more eye-catching than the busiest, in-your-face kind of design.”


Diamond Gramia Winner: It Has To Be Heinz, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

A simple slogan that re-connected consumers with the emotional rewards only a Heinz product can offer. The result? A sales boost that came at the expense of own-label alternatives. Job done.

The judges said…

“It positively exudes homeliness. Almost makes you look forward to winter. Almost. A great brand sticking closely to what it does best.”


Diamond Gramia Winner: You’re Behind Our Success for Zizzi, Andsome

The Italian restaurant chain unearthed photographs of its employees as children to show how their passionate characteristics have progressed through into their working life at Zizzi. As a result, employer reputation has improved and staff turnover has decreased by a whopping 65%.

The judges said…

“This was a strong, consistent and lively campaign that totally summed up the culture of the brand. It’s unusual for recruitment to be taken so seriously.”

“How do you make working in a pizza place seem like a worthwhile career choice? Just like this. And I bet it was effective.”

Trade Press

Diamond Gramia Winner: Baked to Perfection for Birds Eye, Mercieca

Tasked with reminding consumers of the quality of Birds Eye seafood over own-label products, the frozen giant hooked the attention of readers with the image of a dripping fishing net of Baked to Perfection boxes.

The judges said…

“Confident headlines and strong visuals. It is not in any way to detract from this campaign to say that these ads would not look out of place in awards annuals from the late 80s.”

Trade PR

Diamond Gramia Winner: Sharpening Up Sales in a Shot for Lucozade Alert Plus, Cirkle

GSK won the support of retailers great and small through a nationwide launch tour of distribution centres as it tested the reaction speeds of journalists and customers through a selection of activities.

The judges said…

“A huge hit with hacks and customers alike, brilliantly executed. A classic example of how trade PR can boost sales while remaining true to the brand credentials.”

TV & Cinema

Diamond Gramia Winner: Polar Bear for Birds Eye, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Some people find him cute, others disturbing. But the Birds Eye polar bear voiced by creepy Hollywood star Willem Dafoe who admonishes us from inside a freezer about the merits of 100% vs cheaper, own-label alternatives, definitely pricked the public’s imagination this year and helped maintain Birds Eye’s reputation as an imaginative, forward-thinking brand in a very competitive category. The category is clearly in great hands when uncompromising quality is allied to the benefits of frozen food overall through such imaginative marketing execution.

The judges said…

“A perfectly cast little creature. Just the right level of malevolence in his chubby cheeks.”

“Making frozen food fun is not easy, but this campaign really seems to deliver on all levels.”

“Who would have predicted that a creepy, talking, soft toy polar bear could do such a good job in making Birds Eye edgy and relevant? But it has.”

Agency Winners

Brand experience agency of the year: The Lounge Group

Consumer agency of the year: JWT

Consumer PR agency of the year: Frank PR

Direct marketing agency of the year: Chemistry Communications

Online agency of the year: Fuse Digital

Packaging agency of the year: BrandOpus

Recruitment agency of the year: WDAD Communications

Trade PR agency of the year: Clarion Communications

Trade press agency of the year: Mercieca

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Gramia Awards