Initiative Australia wins Grand Prix at the 2023 MFA Awards

Initiative Australia

Sophie Madden: “The work recognised among the finalists and the winners is up there with the best globally”

The ‘LEGO City Goes Nitro’ campaign by Initiative Australia won the prestigious Grand Prix at the 2023 MFA Awards, with AAMI, Netflix, Samsung, NRMA Insurance and Dell also taking to the stage as winners at Thursday’s black-tie gala dinner in Sydney.

Initiative Australia broke records at the MFA Awards, taking home 10 Awards, including the prestigious Grand Prix and highly-coveted NGEN awards. It is believed to be the biggest awards haul in MFA Awards history for any one agency to achieve in a single year.

Initiative’s CEO Melissa Fein said of the win: “Last night’s event is the culmination of the most exciting and challenging year to-date. To say I am proud of my team is an understatement…we are both humbled and ecstatic and will celebrate this achievement in true Initiative style – as a team.

“But you cannot win awards without clients and at Initiative we are fortunate enough to work alongside the very best in the Nation; clients brave enough to disrupt their categories and put their trust in us to deliver outstanding media strategies that take their brands to the next level.

“As MFA CEO, Sophie Madden said: ‘The work recognised among the finalists and the winners is up there with the best globally’,  I echo that sentiment, and add that I firmly believe Australian agencies continually punch above their weight on the global stage, both creatively and effectively.”

The MFA Awards celebrate the most effective and impactful work created by media agencies, demonstrating the industry’s purpose of We Are The Changers.

In addition to Initiative Australia, agencies recognised for their work were OMD & Ogilvy, Wavemaker, EssenceMediacom, Match & Wood, CHEP Network, Slingshot Media, Intender, This is Flow, GroupM and OMG Australia.

Close to 150 judges, including eight CMO Signature Judges, participated in the judging this year, adding a strong advertiser voice to the selection process. Collectively the judges looked for work that demonstrated effectiveness and long-term business growth.  

The judges commended this year’s entries for displaying innovative solutions and strong results for clients.

Industry veteran Belinda Rowe was inducted into the MFA Hall of Fame, recognising her contribution across many aspects of the industry, including her mentoring and championing of women leaders.

Also recognised with an Industry Contribution honour was Chris Winterburn, managing director of Media i Group Australia.

The NGEN Award, which recognises the talent of young media agency executives with less than five years’ experience, was won by Kate O’Loughlin and Summer Treseder from Initiative Australia. This year was Kate’s third consecutive listing as an NGEN Award finalist, and Summer’s second.

See also: Kate O’Loughlin: Girl Math: a firsthand insight into consumer spending sentiment

MFA CEO Sophie Madden said: “The great thing about the MFA Awards is that every year we see the highest quality of strategic thinking, innovation and effectiveness, and this year was no different.

“The work recognised among the finalists and the winners is up there with the best globally, and really lives up to the promise of our industry purpose of being The Changers. Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to the MFA Awards Steering Committee and our judges who devote a significant amount of time to the rigorous process of selecting the best of the best.”

The 2023 MFA Awards winners are:

Grand Prix – sponsored by Seven
LEGO, LEGO City Goes NITRO!, Initiative Australia

Behaviour Change
Suncorp Group, AAMI – Crash Index, OMD & Ogilvy

Brand Impact
NRMA Insurance, Cricket Covers, Initiative Australia

Business Impact
LEGO, LEGO City Goes NITRO!, Initiative Australia

Data-Led Activation – sponsored by News Corp Australia
Suncorp Group, AAMI – Crash Index, OMD & Ogilvy

Best Long-term Results
Lotterywest, Ethical Econometrics, Initiative Australia

Best Content Strategy
Netflix, Stranger Things 4 Launch, Wavemaker, Akcelo & Jack Nimble

Best Integrated Campaign
LEGO, LEGO City Goes NITRO!, Initiative Australia

Best Use of Small Budget
LEGO, LEGO City Goes NITRO!, Initiative Australia

Environmental, Social & Governance Award – sponsored by SBS Media
Suncorp Group, AAMI – Crash Index, OMD & Ogilvy

Best Innovation in Media 
Samsung Australia, Flipvertising, CHEP Network

Media For Good
GroupM, Digital Sustainability Initiative

Best Partnership Award
Alienware by Dell, Levelling The Playing Field In Gaming, EssenceMediacom & POPSUGAR

Best Use of Audio
Mars Petcare Australia, WHISKAS Audio Purrs, EssenceMediacom

Best Use of Outdoor – sponsored by Outdoor Media Association
NRMA Insurance, Cricket Covers, Initiative Australia

Best Use of Retail
Universal Sony Home Entertainment, How Universal Sony Home Entertainment’s Bullet Train Created A Media-first Retail Partnership To Drive Results, Slingshot Media 

Best Use of Screens
Amazon Prime Video AUNZ, Terminal Tournament Takeover, Initiative Australia

Best Use of Search
Care For Kids Group, [Parental Advisory] Finding The Right Local Childcare, Intender

Best Use of Social
Netflix, Welcome to the Upside Down Under, Wavemaker, Akcelo & Jack Nimble

Best Use of Technology
Samsung Australia, Flipvertising, CHEP Network=

Events & Experiential
LEGO, LEGO City Goes NITRO!, Initiative Australia

Agency Talent & Culture – Less than 100 employees
This is Flow

Agency Talent & Culture – More than 100 employees
OMG Australia

Pro Bono/Cause Marketing Incentive – In recognition of Pam Lane
UnLTD & Radio Lollipop, Helping Children’s Charity Radio Grow Its Reach, Match & Wood

NGEN Award
Kate O’Loughlin & Summer Treseder, Initiative Australia

The 2023 MFA Awards sponsors are:
Grand Prix Sponsor: Seven Network
Platinum Sponsors: News Corp Australia, Outdoor Media Association, SBS Media
Gold Sponsors: Ad Standards, Google, Meta, Nine, OzTAM
Silver Sponsors: Commercial Radio & Audio, Foxtel Media, Lion, Yahoo! 

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