And the winners are......

We are excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Social Media Marketing Awards held on Thursday, 17th August at Dockside Darling Harbour. 

The Fire and Ice Gala Ball was attended by the leaders in Social Media from Australia and New Zealand.

And the winners are: 


Wendy Thompson

When people think Social Media Marketing excellence they think Wendy Thompson. 

As Founder of NZ’s first socially-led marketing agency Socialites, since 2010, Wendy has launched NZ’s largest brands into social media. Wanting to elevate SMEs too, she launched successful online training academy Start Social in 2016. Wendy’s passion for social media marketing has impacted hundreds of thousands of people, leading her to be a finalist in 2018 NEXT Women of the Year.

Wendy is a sought after inspirational speaker, educator, thought leader and media spokesperson for social media.

2018 was a significant year of achievements for Wendy; launching Executive Coaching, and managing package services for SMEs, growing her already significant business and influence by 30%.

Since Wendy founded Socialites, she has launched hundreds of NZ businesses onto social media including Spark, Mitre 10, Auckland Airport, Fisher & Paykel, The Cooperative Bank, Sovereign and Icebreaker.

Wendy’s passion for strategic vision, thumb-stopping content, and commitment to marketing excellence consistently results in innovative, award-winning, world-first work.


Connor Wallace

The key achievement for Connor as Social Media Officer for Townsville City Council in 2017 was how she effectively changed the Social Media Strategy for Council which had previously been in place since 2011. The main issue that she found was the way they communicated with residents and customers. Using Queensland Police Service as inspiration for the change, she was able to showcase how Townsville City Council could use humour to reach out to the community, engage positively with locals and become a trusted brand within the Townsville region. 

Since commencing as Social Media Officer for Townsville City Council in October 2017, the Townsville City Council Facebook page has grown by over 27,000 likes. Since April 2018, the page grew from 26,690 likes to 40,682 (as of 26 April 2019). Engagement, Paid Reach, Organic Reach and Total Reach has increase by at least double comparing between April 2018 and April 2019. Rapid growth of our social media means that they are reaching more residents than ever and are able to communicate more effectively. This rapid growth can be attributed to the change of strategy and how the change of our tone of voice and content output drove organic growth.


Jack Nimble

Jack Nimble was founded in 2017 by two creatives that wanted to create a full service production company that put social media first. A company that thinks platform first from the brief, to the creative, the shoot, the edit, right through to the seeding – and does it all as fast as the news feed. 

There’s been a big appetite for Jack Nimble’s unique social-first approach to content across the industry. In fact, all of their new business opportunities have come from word-of-mouth or discovery. This means existing clients have recommended them to others or prospective clients have stumbled across Jack Nimble’s social channels. In addition to the aforementioned brands, this has seen them work with the likes of Virgin Australia, HelloFresh, Bumble, Coca-Cola, Wild Turkey, Aperol Spritz, amaysim, icare NSW and Integrity Life to name a few.


Jack Nimble

"Jack Nimble is a team of four so there’s very much a family feel. Often all of us will work together on each project that comes through the door in some capacity, so there’s a high level of ongoing collaboration. Beyond regularly working together on each project, we have a budget set aside for monthly activities to build upon the already strong sense of camaraderie"

Feedback from the judges: 

Judge 1 - Jack Nimble has the makings of becoming a behemoth agency in the future. Angus and the team create slick campaigns and make their clients look good while growing their business, well done team!

Judge 2 - Jack Nimble is producing great social content with some very unique and out of the box creative approaches and execution. What makes their work even more impressive is the ROI it's delivering for their clients. The continued growth of their business is further testament to the great work they're doing and the culture they've cultivated in their workplace.



"Our multi-office set-up requires clear communication and processes which we thrive on. No strangers to communicating via various platforms - we are the Social Media team after all ;) - we utilise a combination of Slack, Trello and Email as our core communication channels. Daily team 15-minute ‘Pow-Wows’ via video conference call, weekly team WIPs and regular Sydney or Brisbane trips, ensure we operate effectively as a team.

By its nature, Social Media isn’t a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 job. We have worked hard to create a team culture built on trust and respect that acknowledges out-of-hours contributions, encourages flexibility, including work-from-home arrangements, and an ongoing focus on balance to ensure burnout is avoided in the fast-paced social media world. 

We constantly challenge ourselves to be better. We learn both through structured opportunities like conferences, training courses, and networking but also through our ‘test and learn’ culture. We try new things and aren’t afraid to fail fast. We also look for opportunities to upskill. As an example, we brought all paid social media in-house from our media agency partner. Not only did this result in significant cost savings, it has increased the team’s skillset and confidence" - Nicole Redfern, Wotif 



Leanne Peard

"Leanne Peard is an amazingly fabulous Social Media Specialist & Trainer! Her experience and expertise is unsurpassed. I have recently completed a Cert III in Business specialising in Social Media Marketing and have gone from being a complete novice with absolutely no idea to a self-proclaimed Social Media Marketing Whiz who is passing these skills onto Clients. I currently have 3 Clients which is huge for a busy mother of 3 who is currently working part time and have had a couple of other Clients since completing the course.

Leanne’s patience, knowledge & empowering attitude towards teaching was greatly appreciated. Monthly workshops were by far the highlight of the course as Leanne made them informative and fun with a great mix of content which was always delivered in an engaging and collaborative environment.

To accommodate our ongoing learning, she has created Social Media Marketing breakfasts and other catchups in which she is supportive, creative and fuss free. I find these sessions invaluable as this is a sideline gig which I fit in around other commitments so sessions with Leanne keep me on track and she is always so supportive of other Social Media Managers and strives to assist with any queries or concerns and shares her experience and insights into the industry which she has been involved with for many years.

It was this supportive and caring encouragement that got me through the course and made it a breeze, especially when I first started as I really had no idea about anything to do with Social Media marketing"  - Testimonial by Kym Busuttil 


University of New South Wales - Pulse

"The brief behind our video series Pulse was to challenge the norms of a student/institution relationship, and to show that we as a university understand the highs and lows of student life. We needed to relate to students in a way that was realistic, current and on trend, and not discernibly focused on marketing or selling. 

In saying that, we faced the challenge of not compromising our reputation as a leading global university. This meant finding a balance between relating to students and remaining professional. 

This video series campaign aimed to directly target current students, and indirectly target future students who were able to use the video series and its host as a reference for what the UNSW student experience could be like for them" - Jack Breen 


This Life Cambodia (Australia) - End Violence Together

This Life Cambodia (TLC) is an acclaimed, award-winning Australian-registered NGO, with an Australian founder, director and board. It mostly operates in Cambodia, supporting children, families and communities facing multiple challenges, including poverty, crime, drugs and violence. Stronger communities lead to a stronger Cambodia, able to move past its traumatised past and challenging present towards a brighter future.

TLC has always worked locally within communities to create long-lasting change, but increasingly recognised the growing reach of social media in Cambodia as an opportunity to complement this approach by achieving change on a national scale at low cost. Its funders agreed and in 2018 funded the recruitment of TLC's first two full-time communications staff.

The first brief given to the team was to create a campaign to reduce domestic violence, one of Cambodia's most entrenched social problems. 


1) Create a digital campaign bold, surprising and engaging enough to grab and hold attention, raising awareness of Cambodia's little-understood domestic violence law on a national scale

2) Use social media to drive vulnerable women/children towards online resources providing practical help

3) Increase TLC's online following and reputation, establishing it as one of Cambodia's most creative campaigning NGOs.


Socialites - The Socialites Community Management Dream Team

While some companies/agencies focus on what they want to say, it’s easy to forget a whole world of people out there who also have something to say. 

Our focus on LISTENING sets us apart. We believe it’s crucial to have your ear to the ground when it comes to what customers are saying. We stay curious and want to discover their behaviours; what makes them tick, what are they looking for, and how best can we help them find it? 

The beauty of social is that we can find all these things out! A recent example is how we noticed increasing chatter among the community around the Marie Kondo method of tidying up. Customers were talking about sparking joy in the context of storage solutions. We fed this back and this insight was turned into engaging content - Socialites


Amy Roberts - USC

This award was accepted on Amy behalf by her lecturer, Dr Karen Sutherland

Students had to create a social media campaign to raise awareness of the Starlight Foundation's Livewire program.

Feedback from one of the judges: 

"This is an outstanding social media plan. The objectives are SMART with specific targets in terms of growth of membership in LiveWire and in social media engagement. The content and creativity are geared toward engagement with audiences. The focus on having friends share videos and the association with the Starlight Children's Foundation has the ability to grow an audience quickly. The budget is specific and realistic." - Judge 1


This Life Cambodia (Australia) - End Violence Together Campaign

"This Life Cambodia (TLC) is an acclaimed, award-winning Australian-registered NGO, with an Australian founder, director and board. It mostly operates in Cambodia, supporting children, families and communities facing multiple challenges, including poverty, crime, drugs and violence. Stronger communities lead to a stronger Cambodia, able to move past its traumatised past and challenging present towards a brighter future.

Domestic violence reaches across demographic boundaries so our Facebook content had to be multifaceted enough to target very different audiences, always with "shareability" as our main priority, but powered by a unifying creative concept striking and thought-provoking enough to grab and hold attention, and drive people towards a one-stop website we created with information on the law and places to seek help. 

We took an instantly identifiable and iconic national object - the crash helmet, ubiquitous in a country where motorbikes vastly outnumber cars - then subverted expectations. We created an alternate universe where women and children didn't wear helmets outside to protect themselves from road accidents, but inside their homes to protect themselves from violence.

Clearly this was a fantastical scenario and such protection isn't practical in the real world, so our campaign then demonstrated that the real way to protect yourself is knowledge of the law. Throughout the many iterations of the campaign we always featured the image of the orange helmet (orange is the chosen colour of the international fight against domestic violence, but is particularly resonant in Buddhist Cambodia, where it's the colour of monk's robes) as our symbol of the need to protect women.

The flagship of our strategy was "Protection" (2 minutes long, an ideal length for Facebook's algorithms in Cambodia), visually beautiful and scripted to puzzle and intrigue before revealing its message. The film showed four very different women entering very different homes, but first putting on their helmet. In the final frames a celebrity voiceover pressed home our message.

To carry the message to as many audiences as possible we recruited influential Cambodians with very different fanbases to record video or photographic Facebook posts of support alongside our orange helmet. We also employed interactive elements such as a helmet Facebook frame people used on their profiles and a downloadable "digital helmet" with legal advice"  - Jaime Gill, This Life Cambodia

Feedback from some of the judges: 

"Having seen all the fantastic entries for the awards, this one stands out as the most creative, emotional and powerful! Not only did I get goosebumps from watching your videos, I also commend you for your usage of all possible Facebook tools (eg. frames) and how much you accomplished on a low budget. Well done!"   - Judge 1

"It's unfortunate we need to launch campaigns like this; however, this is a wonderful campaign exhausting Facebook's list of features to drive awareness. So much time, care and effort went into developing ideas and content - you can tell this is a campaign that's been made with love." - Judge 2


RUOK - Everyday is R U OK Day Campaign

R U OK? is one of Australia's most well-recognised health promotion campaigns and 2018 was a milestone, marking our tenth R U OK?Day. Since our humble beginnings in 2009, 78% of Australians were now aware of the R U OK? message with 63% believing that the campaign has made people more willing to ask their friends about what’s troubling them.

Key activations included:
National Conversation Convoy: For the second year in a row, R U OK? travelled 14 000 km across the country hosting 25 events in regional and metro communities including Longreach, Darwin, Tennant Creek, Hervey Bay, Grafton, Griffith and Devonport.
The Signs TVC: Featuring the narration of iconic Aussie actor, Jack Thompson. The commercials illustrated the subtle signs people might be missing in everyday life that indicate someone’s not ok.

The Twitter campaign was a unique and effective campaign optimised towards engagements (likes, retweets, replies, etc) across Twitter. To engage with this custom-built campaign, users would like one of two Trigger Tweets to receive one of four Auto Responses to encourage them to visit the campaign landing page and start a conversation. Creative was strong with concise messaging and engaging tweet copy which made it very shareable



Jack Nimble - Coates Hire Goal of the Year Campaign

Coates Hire wanted to increase awareness of its AFL Coates Hire Goal of the Year competition through a social media campaign featuring Adelaide Crows star Eddie Betts.

As the king of the Coates Hire Goal of the Year competition, Eddie Betts has scored so many unbelievable goals that fans have come to expect the unexpected from him. So we thought: what if Eddie kicked a series of insane goals that were almost too good to be true?

We developed concepts for four trick videos featuring Eddie doing some incredible things with the footy, and developed a social media seeding plan to best help the videos gain mass awareness. 

But not everything went to plan. A couple of days before the shoot, we noticed that bad weather was forecast. This meant we couldn’t shoot our hero concept because it involved a drone. As this was the only day that Eddie was available, we thought on our feet and decided to use the rain to our advantage…

We created a hero trick video ( where Eddie took a punt from an impossible angle outside the boundary line in the rain. Using VFX, we made the ball miraculously bend towards the goals and lightning strike the goal posts as the ball was sailing through. 

Our intention was to make this a viral video to gain mass awareness, so we made a lot of conscious decisions in terms of the way this video was shot and launched on social. We wanted it to feel user-generated, like a teammate was filming from a phone on the training ground. So we shot this in vertical on a basic camera set up and directed the performances to be ‘in the moment’. This approach meant that the VFX felt more realistic and the content more authentic.

Our plan was to launch this hero video via Eddie’s Instagram. And we made the bold decision to make this a completely unbranded video as we felt this would have the best chance of getting the most organic traction on Instagram. And we weren’t wrong. Because it was unbranded and made for social, many of Eddie’s followers believed the goal was real – including journalists. Before we knew it, people were frantically tagging their friends and our video was making news bulletins across the country (Link Here). 

The next morning, we followed up with our second trick video. Again, we launched this through Eddie’s Instagram, but this time it was branded and saw Eddie admit it was promoting the Coates Hire Goal of the Year competition. 

Concurrently, we kicked off our paid media campaign through Coates Hire’s social channels. This featured all four branded videos (including the lightning strike video with a branded end frame) encouraging fans to vote for their favourite Coates Hire Goal of the Year throughout the AFL finals series.

This campaign turned out to be Coates Hire’s most successful social media campaign ever.


RUOK - Every Day is RUOK? Day Campaign

"A national filter for Snapchat on R U OK?Day: This had a brand awareness focus and was designed to engage 18-24-year-olds on our national day of action. The National R U OK Snapchat Geo-Filter smashed national benchmarks this year reinforcing the power in aligning important moments and starting conversations on social media.

We redesigned our 'Signs' national TVC for Snapchat to tell the story (something isn't right) and deliver the message (notice the signs, ask R U OK?) in the most efficient way. We utilised the storytelling component of the videos to engage University Students. The videos were geotargeted to university campuses across Australia to increase engagement with university students aged 18-24.

A national filter for Snapchat on R U OK?Day:
Total impressions smashed it out of the park at 7.3M, nearly more than double the national benchmark!"  - Anastasia Symons, R U O K


Nathanial Bibby - LinkedIn Heroes: Entrepreneurs Making an Impact Campaign

"The campaign was designed to amplify positive content, spark conversation and inspire Australian entrepreneurs. 

Before we started LinkedIn Heroes, there was a lot of negativity making its way to the top of LinkedIn's newsfeed. I posted about it and received a private message from somebody saying, "it's all very well complaining about negativity, but what are you actually doing about it?" After considering his point of view, I agreed and decided to take action. And so, LinkedIn Heroes began" - Nathanial Bibby  



Sydney Opera House - Vivid Live 2018

"Vivid LIVE is part of Vivid Sydney, the largest annual festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere. For 23 days across May-June, the Opera House is transformed inside and out, hosting the most interesting and original artists from around the world. It is the only time the Opera House dedicates all of its spaces and venues to a contemporary music takeover.

It is the annual centrepiece of the Sydney Opera House’s Contemporary Music programme featuring Australian premieres, exclusives and one-off music projects that consistently defies expectation and breaks new ground. Vivid LIVE 2018 ran from 15th May to 16th June and was our tenth anniversary.

Our brief was to create and distribute a range of compelling and imaginative video content to celebrate Vivid LIVE 2018.
Not only did we want to showcase our artistic programme and our unique access to some of the most brilliant artists of the time, but also to celebrate the whole of House experience during Vivid LIVE" - Georgia Cockerell, Sydney Opera House



Carmen Huter - Northern Territory Tourism Campaign



Simone Pretcherer - Adashiko Campaign



Natalia Webster - Bobbi Brown Campaign



Ayushi Kumari - NAKD Fashion Campaign



Socialites - Starship Digital Donation Database Campaign

New Zealand’s national children’s hospital Starship is an organisation with a whole heap of love around it. BUT as of the middle of 2018, traditional fundraising methods were still the only way Starship was attracting donations. 

In today’s world, we know that mail drops, events and bucket shaking will only get you so far… 

Starship had no digital community, no way to connect with potential donators online. The couple of times Starship had asked for donations through organic Facebook posts had achieved zero results.

At the top level, our challenge was to help Starship to attract online donations.

To do this we would need to build an engaged digital community and a smart conversion funnel thus creating for Starship a new online donor database.

Introducing Starship TV - stories of Starship.

Starship kids are heroes, so on Starship TV, our kids are heroes too! Our kids interview our doctors and caregivers, producing engaging, shareable content.

Tipping the typical interview format on its head, our content series highlights our heroic kids as THEY armed with clipboards and questions, interview Doctors, Play Specialists, Nurses, Caregivers, Sports Therapists and Radiologists.

Our kids ask the hard questions with topics ranging from hospital experiences, favourite job aspects, superpowers, fears, and advice.

The banter makes you laugh, cry, and provides insight into what Starship is about.



A few of the ways Biteable is innovative include:

  1. Ease of use: one of our customers have remarked, 'the interface has virtually no learning curve...'. We've spent a lot of time in focus groups and customer interviews to get our UI exactly right. Using Biteable is a matter of logging in on your web browser, selecting which scenes fit your brand, editing text, audio, and brand colours, and, finally, clicking the magic 'build my video' button.

  2. Customisability: Users can select the aspect ratio that best fits the social media platform where they'll be uploading their video. Everything from font selection to image and video footage uploads are available to create an on-brand piece of content. 

  3. Quality: One of our customers told us, 'I made 2 videos and showed some video producers. They were blown away with what I could do at home myself, on a Sunday morning!'. With a world-class in-house studio team creating animations based on customer interviews and feedback, we're constantly being told that our customers are impressed by the level of quality content they're able to produce with Biteable. 

  4. Fast turnaround: most animated videos take at least 6 weeks to produce. That’s 6 weeks to produce a 1-2 minute clip. Whether you create a live action or animated video you’ll find the same thing: the time and money involved make it prohibitive for many social media marketers. With Biteable, social media marketers can create a square video for their Facebook feed, a vertical video for their Instagram Story, or a YouTube video in 16:9 - in a matter of minutes. 

Each of these capabilities offer innovation not only beyond hiring outside production houses, but also beyond traditional video editing software. - Rena Frith, Biteable



Accor - Meet AccorBot - Accor Hotels Virtual Team Member of the Year

Meet AccorBot - AccorHotels Australia’s completely integrated Facebook Chatbot, designed to help the group’s 1.8+ million Facebook fans with everything from hotel reservations, customer service queries, city guide information and much more.

Designed and built entirely in-house by Nick Aldrich, AccorHotels’ Communications and Social Media Executive, AccorBot has completely transformed the way followers interact with the group on Facebook.

AccorBot allows Facebook users to view, compare and book any hotel within the AccorHotels Pacific portfolio, including over 300 hotels and resorts, without ever leaving the Facebook Messenger app.

AccorBot also streamlines customer service enquiries, guiding guests with simple prompts to gather all information and increase the response time to guest feedback/quires. AccorBot also follows up with every guest complaint seven days following their original message to ensure that the query was resolved, notifying higher management via email if not yet resolved.

For those who choose to sign up, AccorBot will send out a weekly dose of travel inspiration and help navigate users to city guides, which are hosted in the AccorHotels online magazine.

AccorBot can also direct job seekers to AccorHotels’ careers page, to learn more about life at AccorHotels, leadership, graduate and Indigenous programs, and current job vacancies – helping to make finding a career at AccorHotels one-step easier.


Want to enter the Social Media Marketing Awards next year? 

The Call for Entries for the 2020 Social Media Marketing Awards open on 15th January 2020.  

To learn more, please go to 




Tags: Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Awards, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Experts, Social Media Strategy

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