SABRE Awards Asia-Pacific 2020, the winning campaigns

November 16, 2020

Motoko Kunita
Dentsu Public Relation


In my last piece I detailed my experiences as a judge at SABRE Awards Asia-Pacific 2020. This time I would like to take the opportunity to examine some of the winning entries.

In contrast to Spikes Asia—where a single panel of seven judges handles all 300 or so entries in the PR field, making it easier to get a feel for the overall scope of submissions—with SABRE you only get to see entries in the categories that you yourself are judging. In my case, charged as I was with three categories, that meant I saw just 35 entries from a total cohort of around 1,000. Furthermore, while Spikes Asia sees case films for all entries uploaded to the event’s official website, for most entries SABRE lists only the campaign titles, agencies, and clients, meaning that details of the actual content of winning entries are often not available even after the winners are announced.

PRovoke Media founder Paul Holmes with virtual trophies
PRovoke Media founder Paul Holmes hosts the virtual ceremony for Global SABRE Awards 2021.

The SABRE Awards are also unique for the way in which prizes are awarded. Besides individual prizes for each judging category, five particularly impressive winners from each regional competition are also shortlisted for the Platinum SABRE Award for Best in Show, putting them into contention for the Global SABRE Awards held later in the year. At SABRE Awards Asia-Pacific 2020, the overall Best-in-Show award went to Michelin Impossible, a campaign implemented by Ogilvy Australia for Kentucky Fried Chicken. I have been intrigued by the Australian knack for quirky PR ideas since encountering McDonald’s McPickle campaign as a judge at Spikes Asia 2019, and Michelin Impossible continued in this vein, creating PR from a push to get KFC listed in prestigious restaurant directory the Michelin Guide. Playing up the contrast between fast food and fine dining, with one Australian franchisee even paying a direct visit to the France-based guide’s publishers in Paris, from idea to execution it was an exceptionally well-realized campaign.

Fourth place on the Best-in-Show shortlist went to Saving Laundry from Zombie Odors, executed by Dentsu PR in cooperation with sister agency Dentsu for Japanese consumer goods manufacturer Lion Corporation. This promotional campaign for the firm’s new laundry detergent Top Clear Liquid Antibacterial took its cues from survey data highlighting consumer concerns about unpleasant odors that return even after repeated washing. Coining the term “zombie odors,” the campaign leveraged this catchy concept with a zombie-movie themed video featuring popular mascot characters, and comprehensive communications design covering every phase from the ideas stage through to message delivery and amplification.

In fifth place was The Perfect Voiceovers, which, in contrast to the marketing PR of the two aforementioned winners, was aimed at promoting social good. The Edelman Singapore campaign, which won the Not-for-Profit Organizations category that I myself was judging, was created to build interest and awareness around adoption from animal shelters. The promotional video enlisted individuals with various illnesses, disabilities, or a history of abuse to voice the stories of rescue dogs with similar circumstances, for a resonant message of triumph over adversity. According to submission materials, the campaign saw adoption enquiries to shelters increase by 21%.

China’s BlueFocus Digital claimed second spot with Liberating Our Periods, a marketing campaign for feminine hygiene brand Libresse, which aimed to address taboos around menstruation. Starring popular actress and domestic brand ambassador Zhou Dongyu, the multi-pronged approach combined advertising, social media, and influencer marketing to drive a significant increase in sales. Though it missed out on a prize in the Digital Campaign category in which it was initially entered, and for which I was part of the judging panel, this candidate demonstrated that women’s empowerment is a communications area that continues to offer a great deal of potential.

Third place on the shortlist went to Museum of Claims, by Singapore-based AKA Asia & TBWA for insurance company Manulife. Having not seen the entry sheet, I’m not familiar with the campaign details that won the judges over, but I suspect it earned recognition for a memorable advert in which computer-animated classical statues bemoan the loss of their arms, thereby impressing upon viewers the merits of taking out insurance.

PRovoke Media CEO Arun Sudhaman in front of screen showing Lion Corporation mascot at virtual award ceremony
PRovoke Media CEO Arun Sudhaman declares Saving Laundry from Zombie Odors the year’s 21st-best campaign at Global SABRE Awards 2020.

For PR professionals, these five winners serve as a reminder of how crucial it is to have an engaging idea, originality, and persuasive delivery at the heart of any campaign. And at the Global SABRE Awards on October 21, Michelin Impossible claimed third place from an initial field of 5,500 entries (including those submitted to multiple categories), while our own campaign Saving Laundry from Zombie Odors came in at a highly respectable 21st. The top 40 entries are listed, along with their case films, on the PRovoke Media website, so please take a look if you get the chance.

Finally, a brief word on next year’s competition. For the first time in the event’s history, SABRE Awards Asia-Pacific 2021 is scheduled to be held in Japan. Hopefully we can look forward to plenty of Japanese entries, and more than a few winners at the ceremony in Tokyo!


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About the author

Motoko Kunita, Executive officer with Dentsu Public RelationsMotoko Kunita
Dentsu Public Relations
Executive Officer, Information Design and Corporate Communications Director
In over 20 years as a PR consultant, Motoko Kunita’s work has spanned corporate and marketing PR for clients in various sectors. Her involvement in numerous high-profile and award-winning communications campaigns has brought invitations to join the judging panels of some of the PR industry’s leading award programs, including SABRE Awards Asia-Pacific (2015, 2016, 2018, 2020), PR Awards Asia (2018), and SPIKES Asia (2019). In 2017, she was also selected by the Holmes Report (now PRovoke Media) for inclusion in Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2017, its list of influential PR professionals. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from Hitotsubashi University and an MA in Communications from the University of Delaware, and is also a PRSJ-accredited PR planner.


This article was adapted from original Japanese content published October 6, 2020 (view original article)

Images courtesy of PRovoke Media





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