This is excerpt is featured in an article originally published by Adweek.

In advance of our inaugural Brand Challenge conference last month, we also launched the Adweek Intelligence Report, a new survey product we are rolling out this year in advance of our key tentpoles to get a better sense of the priorities of the communities we serve with our content and events. The first survey of 200 marketing executives uncovered dozens of interesting insights into both established and challenger brands.

One of the clearest signals to ring through the report was that as consumers continue to have more control over their digital destiny in terms of content and advertising, narrative-based marketing—storytelling—will increasingly be the path for brands of all kinds to take if they want to achieve lasting consumer interest and loyalty. We first caught wind of this shift away from interruptive advertising almost four years ago and have followed the story with interest ever since. Last month’s survey confirmed we were right to take notice.

Now in its third year, Adweek’s Arc Awards once again brings you storytelling gems for clients ranging from the U.S. Navy to Skittles. While the arc of these campaigns spans emotion, humor, compassion, politics and societal pain points and woes, they all engage with a powerful narrative rather than a cold interruption.

In a significant shift this year, we are publishing Adweek Arc Awards in concert with SXSW and will host a celebration of the winners on Saturday, March 9, in Austin. Our sponsor Screenvision Media will return as well and help us reveal our Grand Arc Award winner. I’d like to thank our panel of 24 jurors, especially jury chairperson Shannon Pruitt, CMO of The Honest Company, for taking time out of their jammed schedules to thoughtfully vet the 253 submissions.

These campaigns and activations represent the future of marketing, and we’ll continue to tell the story of the stories as they unfold. —James Cooper

Agency: Hearts & Science
Client: Procter & Gamble
Campaign: “The Talk”
Award: Best Use of Brand/Product Integration Into Existing IP

Procter & Gamble started a national conversation when it launched “The Talk,” a two-minute film about the discussion black parents have with their children to explain racial bias. Early last year, the agency Hearts & Science wanted to springboard “into the broader cultural zeitgeist,” embedding “The Talk,” part of the brand’s ongoing “My Black Is Beautiful” campaign, into ABC’s hit sitcom Black-ish.

The episode, which aired the full ad as part of its storyline, centered on the multigenerational Johnson family and their versions of “the talk.” The groundbreaking placement aimed to draw in mainstream audiences after P&G’s face time on other entertainment programs, including the finale of OWN’s Queen Sugar (via a message from Oprah Winfrey) and the BET Awards.

The integration with Black-ish pulled in 15 million online and 4 million broadcast views, generating 25.6 million impressions on social media and more than 100 million earned media impressions.

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