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Best Large Agency (over 100)

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Essentially, consumers have the mic. And we're all listening. That’s why when Wendy’s asked VML to introduce their new sandwich on social media, we literally gave the consumers the mike. Pretzel Love Songs took Wendy’s fans comments and turned them into lyrics sung by a musically gifted duo of comedians and boy-band balladeer, Nick Lachey. At VML, we've made it our practice to keep current with the evolution of social media and, in turn, keep our clients ahead of the curve. It's how we make sure our marketing syncs up with how people really live, work and play in the digital space. Our innovative thinking has no bounds. Delivering smart ideas and extraordinary work that drive our clients’ businesses forward has led VML to be the social media agency for world-class clients, including Wendy’s, Gatorade, MINDDRIVE, NRL, Kellogg Company, MillerCoors, Hillshire Farms, Dell, U.S. Bank and more. When it came to expanding our thinking, 2013 was the year. Purposeful integration. Flourishing creativity. Thoughtful innovation. These all were driving forces within the walls of VML during the past 365 days. And those forces took us to some pretty amazing places. By starting with insights, and converting those insights into strong, smart, strategic social campaigns, we’ve helped some of the world’s most forward-thinking brands develop innovative storytelling that achieves real business success.Great Work: When Wendy’s was challenged with launching the new Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger in an already overcrowded market, we stepped in with a social media solution. We encouraged customers to tweet their love of the new cheeseburger and turned their words into the lyrics of over-the-top Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Love Songs over the course of seven weeks. In the end, Pretzel Love Songs became the most engaging and talked about Wendy’s campaign in the brand’s 44-year history, helping to make the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Wendy’s most successful product launch ever. Fans posted their love. We turned their comments into love songs. The videos became hits leading to 1.8 billion earned media impressions, 7.5 million Facebook views and Wendy’s stock went up 31 percent. Watch the case study video. Gatorade defines “Win From Within” as being driven from the inside, but for 13- to 18-year-old athletes, their definition isn’t so clear. So we set out to increase consumer awareness and understanding of what athletes think it means to #WinFromWithin. We gave athletes a privilege that’s normally reserved for the world’s best – their athletic achievement celebrated on a Gatorade bottle. They created their own #WinFromWithin bottle and poster, were entered to win an actual case of Gatorade with their custom label and had a chance to be featured in Gatorade advertising. This call to create and share resulted in the most engaging campaign in Gatorade history: 2,800 percent more social shares than any prior Gatorade campaign, 108 million total social impressions, 115,000 new social fans/followers, a 200 percent increase in Twitter followers, a 150 percent increase in Instagram followers and a 105 percent increase in #WinFromWithin mentions. Watch the case study video. MINDDRIVE, a Kansas City program for at-risk teens, was created to combat rising high school dropout rates. The program was successful, but no one outside of Kansas City knew about it. So we built a car powered by social media and got the whole world talking about education reform. Every tweet, share, photo, view and post became “social fuel” and was translated into electric watts via a conversion device installed in the car. The campaign caught worldwide media attention, with 481 news outlets around the world picking it up and leading to nearly half a billion earned media impressions. The students not only made it to Washington, D.C., they had enough social fuel to complete the journey seven times. With all this attention, the students were invited to tell their story in an official congressional briefing. We inspired six locations to start the MINDDRIVE program in their own cities next year. Watch the case study video. To push the State of Origin series into the digital space, VML launched the NRL “Mission Control Room”: A strategic hub to track, engage, report and amplify the conversation around Australia’s biggest sporting event, and one of the world’s biggest social media installations. The NRL Mission Control Room covered a conversation of well over a billion State of Origin hashtag impressions on Twitter alone, along with numerous Facebook posts that reached more than 600,000 unique people in Australia per post during the games. By activating our fan’s second screens with Mission Control, we made live sports even more live, like never before. Watch the case study video. Great Culture: A commitment to purposeful work permeates everything we do at VML — from longstanding client engagements for major brands to pro bono partnerships with community organizations. VML is constantly looking to foster creativity and innovation. To this end, we’ve created VML Labs, a global program dedicated to nurturing unique problem-solving approaches by providing resources, expertise and time to turn VMLers’ ideas into reality. We’ve continued our work as the founding and presenting sponsor of TEDxKC, becoming the steward of one of the most active TEDx organizations in the world. Within VML, talent grows through opportunities like VML’s ongoing Port Plug-In program. It enables industry partners like Facebook, Tumblr and LinkedIn, as well as VML subject matter experts, to share timely, relevant content with VMLers. For the purpose of making the world better, the VML Foundation was established in 2005, enabling VMLers to pool resources and donate funds to nonprofit community organizations. Last year, the employee-directed VML Foundation surpassed $1 million in non-restricted financial contributions. As an agency, we pushed ourselves to new places and new heights in 2013. And we grew in every way possible — physically, financially, purposefully, creatively, innovatively.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Ajax Social Wipes NRL Mission Control MINDDRIVE “Social Fuel” Gatorade Heritage Bottle Campaign Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Love Songs Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche Campaign

See other entries from 6th Annual Shorty Awards Best Large Agency (over 100)