This group of films excelled at creating buzz by using many different techniques, whether using influencers, partnering with unique brands or staying within a tight budget.

Partnerships & integration: Most effective collaboration between a brand and a media property.

WINNER: A Recipe for Seduction 

Kentucky Fried Chicken and A+E Networks with Jean, Wieden+Kennedy and Edelman

This short film from Jean manages to fit all the typical elements of a Lifetime movie into just 15 minutes. There’s a young heiress torn between two suitors, indiscretions at the country club, a gay best friend — who steps in at a crucial point to save the day — and … Colonel Harland Sanders. 

Yes, at the center of this deliciously campy collaboration between Lifetime and KFC is the famous colonel, played by Mario Lopez. This is a glimpse of Sanders in his younger days with smoldering good looks, though he had already developed his secret recipe and was convinced that it would change the world (perhaps needless to say, that recipe plays a key part in furthering the film’s plot). 

Audiences were eager to go along for the delightful ride when the mini-movie premiered on Lifetime in December, accompanied by its own movie poster and the buzz of a theatrical release. The film received more than 61 million organic social impressions and 150 press hits. 


Ford and Riverside Entertainment with GTB and Disney CreativeWorks

Watch the film here.

Viral: Creative idea that produced the most buzz on social and traditional media.

WINNER: Google Year in Search 2020

Google/Google Brand Studio with Cabin Editing

The annual presentation of search trends by Google is often an entertaining and interesting look back at the year as it draws to an end, but in 2020 it was a poignant one. Last year, visitors to Google asked questions about a new virus that changed the world and others, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, touched on race, justice and how to build a country and a world that are more equitable.

While COVID-19 and social justice issues were central in the three-minute spot, Google Brand Studio also addressed other stories. Using more than 160 different licensed and UCG clips, and set to an original song performed by the Chicago Children’s Choir, Cynthia Erivo and Chance the Rapper, the film highlighted other aspects of 2020 from climate change to Oscar winners and from the humor in small triumphs such as finding toilet paper to the excitement of space exploration. Google Brand Studio’s film is not only a record of a challenging year, but it’s also a moving celebration of curiosity, community and perseverance. 


Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and Weber Shandwick

Watch the film here.

Influencer: Most effective use of social media influencer(s) or celebrities to increase reach.

WINNER: Got Milk?

Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and Weber Shandwick

The group behind the Got Milk? campaign, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), faced an Olympic-sized challenge when the 2020 games were postponed because of COVID. The organization’s support of Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes is its largest sponsorship and a long-anticipated opportunity to remind viewers of milk’s benefits vanished. 

In its place, a stunt became the basis of a new Got Milk? campaign. Five-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky accepted the challenge of swimming the length of an Olympic-sized pool without spilling a single drop from a glass of chocolate milk balanced on her head. Next, Tony Hawk took up the challenge, landing a McTwist while holding a glass of milk in his hand. Then, a combination of pandemic boredom and the rise of TikTok led thousands of others to perform their own Got Milk? stunts, with glasses of milk incorporated into their athletic feats. The campaign has exceeded the reach of any tied to the Olympics in the past, with 654 million earned impressions and 4.3 billion views on TikTok. 

HONORABLE MENTION: A Better Plant-Based Future Documentary Series

Upfield and APCO Worldwide with G-Graphic and Automated Creative

Watch the film here.

Best film on a budget (below $250,000): Most impactful film produced on a limited budget.

WINNER: togetHER The Vibrant Power Around Us

Instagram and

Paula Trabulsi directed, produced and wrote this series of short films for Instagram that focus on three remarkable women of African descent: Simileoluwa Adebajo, who opened San Francisco’s first Nigerian restaurant, Eko Kitchen; Lovern Gordon, originally from Trinidad, who established the Love Life Now Foundation to assist victims of domestic violence; and Ketty Valêncio, who created Livraria Africanidades, an Afro-Brazilian bookstore in São Paulo, Brazil. 

The three films feature reflections and statements from friends — in the vertical format a la Instagram stories — on the challenges that Adebajo, Gordon and Valêncio have faced, and how they have overcome them. For example, when Eko Kitchen is devastated first by the pandemic and then by a fire, Instagram provided a platform for friends to reach out and offer support, helping Adebajo persevere. The potential of Instagram and social media more broadly to create communities of people with common interests, even ones who are geographically disperse, is brought to life in these celebratory shorts. 


OkCupid and Mischief @ No Fixed Address with Sanctuary Content

Watch the film here.