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Top innovations, effectiveness recognized in Booms’ epic return

MANILA The Boomerang Awards returned in a big way following a two-year absence, with Leo Burnett Group and McDonald’s Philippines claiming top honors as Agency and Advertiser of the Year, respectively, for their work on campaigns such as their Best in Show-winning “McDonald’s McClassroom”, which repurposed the fast-food giant’s unused party rooms for teachers to use as virtual classrooms.

While the official theme of this year’s competition was “Unmute”, an unmistakable trend among this year’s winners was that of ingenuity in the face of ongoing pandemic conditions. Indeed, according to Unilever Media Director and Boomerang Committee Chair Dennis Perez, this was perhaps inevitable, as, “Digital became our life jacket in driving business results and performance amidst an uncertain environment. Innovation and creativity became business imperatives for growth and survival.”

Perez’ sentiments were echoed by Creative Jury Head and Google Regional Strategic Partnership Lead Anton Reyniers, who shared that, “The judging was actually pretty difficult because of the caliber of work, but also from the context of Covid.” With regard to the Leo Burnett-McDonald’s win, Reynier said their work showed “fantastic humanity, real simplicity in execution, and dealing with real problems with a real solution [which] cut them a little above the rest.”

Reflecting the increasing pervasiveness of Digital amidst global quarantines and lockdowns, this year’s Booms saw 427 entries from multiple industries and market segments. According to Perez, “From the entries, we saw advertisers, brands, agencies, and start-ups embrace digital to experiment and pioneer new spaces that either weren’t present before, or were much smaller before the Pandemic.”

One of those pioneers was Propel Manila, which brought home the Tech Innovator Boomerang for their work on client-partners such as Jollibee, Globe, MindNation, and Love Is All We Need. As per Facebook Head of Creative Shop SEA Rafael Guida, who served as Jury Head for Tech, “It was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to judge so many amazing pieces for the Tech category in its first year.”

On the innovation front, Ogilvy scored Tech Innovation of the Year with their brilliant upending of Nintendo’s popular “Animal Crossing” game to create “Kentucky Fried Crossing” for client KFC. As per Guida, the execution represented “a brave solution, bringing a traditional brand to a brand new space, combining two things that everybody loves - games and fried chicken!”

In addition to the Tech and Creative categories, the 2021 Boomerang Awards also introduced two special prizes, with the first being the Purple Boomerang, presented by the Australian government’s Investing in Women initiative. Created to recognize campaigns that went beyond stereotypical depictions of women in society, the inaugural Purple Boomerang was awarded to Avon’s “#LetHerBe” campaign, for its message of not allowing women to be judged by stereotypical expectations.

"The strong level of interest for an award that was announced only this year proves that there are early champions among brands and agencies in the Philippines for addressing gender stereotypes in ads," IW CEO Julia Newton-Howes said. "We hope that the Purple Boomerang will encourage these industry champions to continue advocating for thoughtful and empowering gender portrayals in their campaigns and will influence other brands and agencies to do the same."

Not to be outdone, the tech category also introduced its own new Award, as the Booms partnered with social media giant Facebook for the Blue Impact Boomerang. With Facebook being one of the leaders in the digital marketing revolution, the first Blue Boomerang went to Dove’s “Blackout Mirror” for its innovative use of their platforms. The campaign, an Instagram-based mental health initiative, gave much-needed reminders to women of their own beauty.

The 2021 Boomerang Awards event was held virtually, and livestreamed on Facebook, hosted by TV host and journalist Migs Bustos, with musical performances by ABS-CBN Star Music artists - Gigi de Lana, KZ Tandingan, Nameless Kids.

Organized by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), the Boomerang Awards have been the Philippines’ premiere digital awards show since 2008, honoring brands and agencies brave enough to take creative risks in the land of digital media. For more information on the Boomerang Awards and IMMAP, visit or

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