Sukle Advertising On Why Clients Should Seek Out Work that Wins Awards

By: Mike Sukle

Why Clients Should Seek Out Work that Wins Awards

At Sukle Advertising, we were thrilled when we heard that our work for the Wyoming Department of Health had been awarded a Platinum Award in the Graphis Advertising 2024 competition. For nearly 30 years we’ve witnessed that our most award-winning work is also our most effective, which is counter to how so many brands and organizations think. But this campaign is an excellent example to prove our point. 

Award show judges are the most critical and skeptical consumers in the world. For an ad to stand out in the highly cluttered environment of an advertising show, it has to capture the judges’ attention with relevance and originality. And, if that ad can get them to engage and react, it should do the same for its original intended audience. Our campaign for Wyoming faced similar challenges. It had to stand out in a difficult environment. It had to appeal to a skeptical audience. And ultimately it had to change minds and drive action. It came to fruition through a smart, actionable, and strategic approach.

Wyoming was already one of the least vaccinated states in the country. Then the controversy and misinformation generated by COVID-19 had a devastating effect on vaccination rates across adult and childhood diseases. If vaccination rates for diseases such as polio or measles drop just a few percent, those diseases can be reintroduced into the population. This scenario recently occurred with a polio outbreak in New York. The Wyoming Department of Health was concerned and asked us to help stop their decline in vaccination rates. If we could just hold steady, it would be a major win.

Wyoming is a fiercely independent and libertarian-minded state. To understand how to position this controversial topic, we conducted an ethnographic listening tour across the state. We had real conversations with real Wyomingites which led to actionable insights for the campaign.

Once you get past all the noise and misinformation, vaccines are the greatest achievement in the history of public health. They’ve eradicated or nearly eliminated a horrendous list of diseases, saved millions of lives, and doubled our lifespan. Vaccines are so effective we take them for granted. To increase Wyomingites’ overall confidence in vaccines, the messaging had to address proven vaccines such as smallpox, measles, rubella, and polio and avoid the controversy of COVID-19 entirely.

We also understood that the people of Wyoming have a genuine sense of gratitude for the life they get to enjoy. This gratitude is shaped by a reverence for those who came before them, the beauty of the magnificent landscape, and their appreciation for the rural lifestyle. Gratitude became central to the strategic focus of the campaign. The goal was to compel Wyomingites to pause and be thankful for the positive contributions that vaccines have made to their lives.

Thank A Vaccine” became the rallying cry, and we implemented an integrated campaign to deliver this message in a way that felt very specific and unique to Wyoming. 

Posters depicted the issue in its simplest form with data about the decrease in deaths since vaccinations overlaid on photos of Wyoming landmarks and terrain. The logic goes something like this. Horrible diseases killed a ton of people. Then vaccines were invented. Now hardly anyone dies from these diseases. And for that, we should all be thankful. 

Posters were just one element of the fully integrated campaign. Additional elements included a film that was inspired by a newspaper story published in Wyoming in the 1800s. The story was a lesson about how, without vaccines, a simple task could become a death sentence. The film was executed in a way that is beautifully cinematic yet oddly humorous.

The most compelling component of the campaign is the result. Vaccination rates for proven vaccines are up year over year, 19% for adults and 2.5% for children. This brings us back to our initial premise—award-winning work is also very effective work.

As a creatively led, independent agency, Sukle Advertising is obsessed with solving interesting problems. Their clients are the challengers attacking these complex problems and facing significant barriers, all while having oversized aspirations and a belief they can win. For almost 30 years, Sukle’s award-winning creative solutions, driven by smart strategy grounded in audience insight and human truth, have delivered disproportionate results to accelerate change in the world. Never satisfied with the status quo, they push their creative strategy, brand development, advertising, and design to truly break the mold. Based in Denver, Sukle partners with future-minded brands in the sustainability, health, food and beverage, technology, financial, and outdoor industry spaces across the U.S.

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To see more Advertising 2024 competition winners, click here.

Author: Graphis