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UMEAS: Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker win big at the Uganda Marketing Excellence Awards 2023

Last night, Evolve Group Africa held the third annual Uganda Marketing Excellence Awards (UMEAS) 2023, at a red carpet and black-tie gala held at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

Outstanding performers in the marketing industry were awarded under the theme, “Celebrating ideas that work.”

The evening that was a worthy nod to creativity, innovation, and strategic brilliance, saw Uganda Breweries Ltd (UBL) brands Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker win big, across the 12 categories.

The UMEAS are an orchestration that recognises the exceptional work of marketers, as they cover every facet of marketing profession including sustainability, communications, branding, advertising, digital and public relations.

Last night indeed lived to its billing, as the ‘Marketers biggest night.’

According to John Paul Okwi, the jury President, this year’s winners were chosen based on alignment to strategy (set objectives and budget spent), execution(creativity and problem solving abilities), as well as return on investment (business impact) Investment.

With the above set objectives, the jury critically looked at campaigns and projects that made good use of resources that were entrusted to the respective nominee marketing departments.

“Marketing is where creativity meets strategy and tonight, we are here to cast a spotlight on those who have done a job well done. However, celebrating marketers isn’t just about acknowledging a job well done, it’s also about recognizing the pivotal role they play in pushing every component of a corporate engine,” said Okwii.

This year explored how well, brands, marketers, and their agency partners leveraged different media channels (digital and traditional), to create campaigns that made a powerful impact on their target audience and businesses.

Winners were revealed amidst an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement, as guests were welcomed with tasty Johnnie Walker cocktails, that set the spirit of the room.

The mood in the room was further elevated by the soulful rhythms from Joseph Sax’s saxophone. The smartly dressed guests kept nodding to the rhythms, while some sang out the lyrics of the instrumentals Jose played.

Having bagged the ‘Best Use Of Partnership Marketing’ award, an excited Christine Kyokunda, the Johnnie Walker Brand Manager, emphasized that the brand’s victory was a clear indicator that the consumers don’t just stop at enjoying the whisky, but they also voted overwhelmingly for it.

“We are thrilled to win again this year. This is a revelation that our consumers do not just stop at enjoying the drink of big flavor, they also took time off to vote for us. Thank you our dear consumers, we are forever grateful,” she said.

Christine also spoke about the brand’s decision to partner with Evolve Africa, the UMEAs organisers; “Our decision to sponsor the UMEAs is symbolic. It’s a reminder to everyone that Johnnie Walker is always at the forefront of celebrating all wins and milestones. As marketer’s gathered here tonight, to celebrate the diverse and dynamic landscape of the profession, Johnnie Walker is at the centre of the celebrations. I congratulate all the winners, tonight,“ she added.

As first time sponsors, I&M Bank Uganda emphasised the importance of celebrating individuals who are redefining the game.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this year’s UMEAs. It is without a doubt that marketers are the architects of brand identities. We believe in supporting individuals who are game-changes and the awards provide the perfect platform for this celebration. We are proud to be associated with an event that values and honours the game-changing spirit of the marketing industry,” said Racheal Kulanyi, the Communications and Outreach Programs Officer, I&M Bank Uganda.

The event was hosted by the dynamic duo of NTV’s Sandra Twimoburyo and Radiocity’s Faith Murungi. The two kept the energy high throughout the gala.

The 2023 UMEAs winners are;

1. Advertising Campaign Of The Year-Whiskey Desire by Johnnie Walker

2. Best Use Of Partnership Marketing-Hospital Sente by Airtel Mobile Commerce

3. Best Use Of Digital Marketing -Leave Eat To KFC by KFC Uganda

4. PR Campaign Of The Year-KCB-Giz Twekozese Programme by KCB Bank Uganda

5. Best Innovation-Hospital Sente by Airtel Mobile Commerce

6. Best use of Experiential Marketing  -Smirnoff Fiestas

7. Best Not For Profit/Social Good Campaign-Rotary Cancer Run 2023

8. Best ESG Campaign-Growing Together Campaign by Treescape Planet Organization

9. Rising Agency Of The Year-Zeus The Agency

10. Agency Of The Year-Metropolitan Republic

11. Marketing Campaign Of The Year-Smirnoff Fiestas

12. UMEAS Marketing Pioneer Award-Mr. Baker Magunda

Shafique Ssemakula, the Evolve Co-founder said that the secretariate soon share a detailed report, explaining the jury’s Winners’ selection methodology, for stakeholders and the public to review, and understand how they arrived at the different winners per category.

The UMEAS 2023 were sponsored by: I&M Bank Uganda, Uganda Breweries Ltd, Centenary Bank, NSSF, Uganda Development Bank, Wango App, Pepsi, Kadanke Brand House, Radiocity, Equity Bank, Matooke Republic, Daily Monitor, Spark TV, NTV Uganda

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