VW’s “Carbon-Neutral Net” has the best night at CMA Awards

Volkswagen’s environmentally friendly website was awarded one of the top honours in Canadian marketing Thursday evening—Best of the Best at the CMA Awards.

Launched early this year, “Carbon-Neutral Net” is a section of VW’s Canadian website that showcases the company’s electric vehicles, but with a stripped-down viewing experience that uses less energy and reduces carbon emissions (read our story here.)

Aside from Best of the Best, Carbon-Neutral Net also won two Golds in Business Impact (one in Customer Experience and the other in Engagement) and another in Automotive.

Developed by Type1—VW’s bespoke WPP agency partner that includes Taxi and Wunderman Thompson—Carbon Neutral Net was launched to coincide with the introduction of the automaker’s all-new, all-electric ID.4, and was part of the automaker’s overarching efforts to become a more sustainable enterprise.

Creating a more environmentally friendly website was meant to demonstrate VW’s ability to think and act differently when it comes to sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. The special section of the VW site replaced all colour and photographs with images created by ASCII text. Lowering the amount of data that is transferred to the site visitor, VW also reduced the power consumed by each click.

“Winning Best of the Best is a testament to all the hard work and brand building we’ve been doing for the last few years,” said Taxi’s chief creative officer, Alexis Bronstorph. “We established a strong commitment to taking real action to drive change, and this is one of those projects that showcases that beautifully.”

The site, which is still up, clearly resonated with consumers and caught the attention of people across the industry, said Bronstorph. “Another big global brand (not automotive) actually called us and asked us how we did it, and every single ID.4 that we have in Canada has been spoken for.”

The Canadian Marketing Association’s annual awards gala has long been considered one of the biggest industry events in Canada, but for the second straight year, the event was forced online because of the pandemic.

Entries for 2021 were up 50% compared to last year, when many agencies and brands reined in spending as a way to control costs during the early months of the pandemic.

“The quality and increased number of entries this year show that marketers are agile and innovative, finding ways to reach their customers even amidst the challenges of the past 18 months,” said CMA president and CEO John Wiltshire. “Their creativity and resilience deserve to be recognized, as they strive to meet the needs and wishes of consumers.”

Among the other big winners Thursday night were YWCA Vancouver and Rethink’s “Wall for Women,” which won the Top Cause honour. The 42-foot-high mural hides six QR codes that “hijack” people’s phones with statistics about domestic violence when they try to take a picture (read our story here.)

The 2021 Marketer of the Year, was given to Susan Irving, CMO, Kruger Products, and the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Bryan Pearson, former president and CEO of LoyaltyOne.

Canada Media Fund, with 123w, Torque Strategies and Bensimon Byrne, won the Meta Business Equality Award, recognizing better representation of people in online advertising.

The complete winners list is live on the CMA website now.

David Brown