Loto-Québec and Sid Lee win first Effie Awards Canada Grand Prix

The Effies formally arrived in Canada Thursday night with an awards show and gala dinner that saw Loto-Québec and Sid Lee win the first ever Effie Awards Canada Grand Prix.

The Effies are internationally recognized as the industry’s preeminent effectiveness awards show. The ICA partnered with the global Effie Awards network to launch Effie Canada as its 50th national program last year, replacing the long-running Cassies Awards—which had a similar objective of recognizing advertising that had a tangible impact on client results.

The Loto-Québec campaign, which also won gold in the Sustained Success—Services category, was credited with reviving sales of Lotto 6/49 tickets among millennials who had stopped buying lottery tickets. The campaign is built around advertising that shows people randomly experiencing remarkable moments. The what-are-the-odds experiences then lead them to try their luck with a 6/49 ticket. According to Sid Lee, the share of Quebec millennials playing the lottery each month has grown from 36% in 2014 to 44%.

“We needed to shift the way millennials perceived lottery games such as Lotto 6/49,” said Manuel Gobeille-Leblanc, Sid Lee’s strategist for the campaign. “We needed to break the rules of the category and find a creative opportunity that would reconnect younger generations with Lotto 6/49.”

Loto-Québec won the Grand Prix because the jury felt this was a “very atypical strategy in what is typically a very staid and formulaic category,” said jury chair Brent Nelsen, chief strategy officer of Leo Burnett. “[It] created a simple enduring human idea that can not only transcend media, but can actually transcend time: It is repeatable over and over again and you may not get tired of it,” he said.

“Last but not least, the most important, it built the business through consistently applied creativity. In a world that is obsessed with newness and the movement to new and better, this proves that a commitment to a powerful, simple and enduring idea can indeed build business.”

Just four other campaigns won Gold Thursday night:

  • Loblaw Companies Ltd. and John St. for “No Frills – #Haulers.”
  • Kimberly-Clark Canada and Ogilvy for “Huggies – No Baby Unhugged.”
  • Sick Kids Foundation and Cossette for “Sick Kids VS. – All in.”
  • American Express and Ogilvy for “Cobalt Card Launch – You do You.”

A total of 12 Silver and 17 Bronze Effies were handed out, led by a particularly strong night for Ogilvy. Aside from its two Golds, it also won two Silvers (one for Post Foods and another for American Express) and five Bronze awards (two each for Kimberly-Clark and Post Foods, and one for Unilever).

Speaking to open the awards show, ICA president and CEO Scott Knox praised the Cassies for its important contribution to the Canadian industry for decades, but said replacing it with the Effies will help elevate Canadian work on a global stage. “We wanted to showcase the best and brilliance of Canada to the rest of the world,” he said. “What we do here is slick, it’s cool and it is as effective as anywhere else in the world, so it is about time we shone a bloody big spotlight on the Canadian brands, agencies and talent.”

Traci Alford, president and CEO of Effie Worldwide, was also in attendance to welcome Canada “to the Effie family.” The Effies exist to lead, inspire and champion the practitioners of marketing effectiveness, she said. “The work here tonight is some of the best and most exciting in the world and we are here to celebrate it.”

David Brown