Sharon Yourell Lawlor
Sharon Yourell Lawlor

Leading category, consumer and shopper marketing expert

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I had the pleasure of again sitting on the judging panel for the 2021 APMC Star Awards, which were held in The Iveagh Garden Hotel on October 27th 2021.  A key function of the Promotional Marketing Association is to reward and recognise best in class promotional marketing and brand activation campaigns in Ireland & internationally. The standard of entries this year from the array of Irish agencies was truly exceptional. In a difficult year, where many campaigns had to pivot for the unforeseen effects of a pandemic, these agencies rose to the challenge, thought outside of the box and adapted for a changing world and altered consumer/shopper needs and behaviours.

This year, there were 9 categories in all – Best Brand Experience, Best Cause, Best Digital, Best Innovation, Best Integrated, Best Shopper, Best Small Budget, Best Sponsorship and Best Virtual Event. For any business, brand or service, the aim is always to cleverly use insights to understand your consumers and shoppers, be clear on their problems, needs and desires and deliver compelling and engaging solutions. Within each category, the winners worked closely with their clients and created campaigns that engaged and involved consumers and shoppers in a highly effective way.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Chairman Ian McColl said Overall, Sharon, Aisling and I were really impressed with the standard of work. The 2021 winners were all great ideas that have insight at the heart of them. We believe they have longevity and can be replicated in other markets. The bravery of this work is what sets it apart. Today we rewarded extraordinary work produced at an extraordinary time, and under extraordinary circumstances.”

 McColl praised resilience of the industry by adding, “From the judges’ perspective the standard and number of entries defy the conditions imposed by pandemic lockdown.  The brilliance born from determination, boundless energy, marketing wizardry and hard work in the eye of this modern storm is inspirational”.

Other agencies which shone on the night were Publicis Dublin and Pluto who scooped gold stars for the creativity of their work for Vhi and IDL respectively. Pluto walked away with an impressive haul of eleven other stars for their Pladis campaigns.

Verve Marketing won six stars including two category wins, for Best Innovation and Best Small Budget. InSight Marketing took five stars home for their Britvic Ireland and Molson Coors work. CMS were awarded two golds and a silver for their work with Bank of Ireland and the Money Smarts Program. Mixtape Marketing saw their Samplify work once again recognised with a gold star and Invention took gold for the Best Integrated Campaign for their ‘Raise a Toast to Ireland’ campaign for Brennans Bread. Goosebump took stars for their superb work for Denny Meat Free and first-time entrants thinknblink and V360 were each recognised with stars for their work with Hines and PepsiCo respectively.

We are thrilled that there was such a broad range of agencies winning Star Awards” said Aoife Butler, on behalf of the Board of the APMC.  “These awards honour the campaigns which really deliver results for our clients and it shows the depth of talent and expertise in the Irish market, it is a great reflection of the depth and resilience of our industry even in these challenging times”.    

All the gold and category winners are entitled to now go on to compete against the best of the best in Europe at the European Association of Communications Agencies IMC awards which are scheduled to be open for entries in the coming months.

To check out the 2021 AMPC Star Award categories and winners, go to the APMC website –