You can dip a pretzel in hummus, salsa or baba ganoush. But for its Digiday-Award nominated social campaign, “House of Gold,” Rold Gold plunged its pretzel thins into intrigue, betrayal and ambition. The 17-episode social videos have racked up more than 1 million views each.

The work, up for Best New Product Launch at the 2015 Digiday Awards, was put together by AOR Deep Focus, its first such effort since the 1990s. And it’s not alone. About half of this year’s finalists are not full-service advertising agencies — a marked change from last year, when full-service agencies accounted for 86 percent of finalists.

The shift may reflect a growing trend among brands to experiment with other, specialized partners, namely social agencies, content creation agencies and publishers. Among the non-advertising agency finalists are NewsCred and Bloomberg Business for Best Brand Platform, digital media company Woven Digital for Best Branding Consumer Campaign and publisher Forbes BrandVoice for Best Publishing Platform.

Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness is one marketer who argues for keeping creative work in house. “It’s one thing to brief an agency and to give feedback to an agency on their work,” he told Digiday. “And it’s another to create it. Creating is believing, creating is seeing and creating is contagious.”

This year’s Digiday Awards, which will be handed out Nov. 19, may be one litmus test to see if Rold Gold’s efforts and those of other agency challengers can hold up to established shops like Havas Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi LA and others.

The full list of finalists follows:

Best Brand Platform

*NewsCred

Virgin America Redesign

Call of Duty: Hack in Black

Bloomberg Business

VW.com

Best Branding B2B Campaign

Lockheed Martin Engineering a Better Tomorrow

Mad Men McCann versus Real McCann

72 Hours of Yes by HP

Checkpoint Catalyst Marketing Campaign

Best Branding Consumer Campaign    

HUMAN: An UPROXX Original Series, In Partnership with Coors Banquet

State of the Art by SapientNitro for Ferrari

Allstate Social Savvy Burglar

RoughLife by Ruffles

Best Creative

UnderArmour: Huddle Up

Call of Duty: Hack in Black

Allstate Social Savvy Burglar

Taco Bell Routine Republic

Best Direct Response Campaign

The North Face Braves the Storm with Winter Weather Targeting

Miami Dolphins Samsung Business Preview Center Campaign

WNYC #Smartbinge

Justin Bieber #mycalvins

Best Product Launch

Toyota 4Runner Social Media Campaign

Rold Gold House of Gold

Hefty Party Hard Moms

Best Publishing Platform

IJ.Com for the Independent Journal

New York Times T-Brand Studio “Plan Your Next Adventure”

Forbes BrandVoice

CNN Digital

Best Social Good Campaign

The Salvation Army “#RedKettleReason” Annual Giving Campaign

(RED) & Coca Cola Share the Sound of an AIDS Free Generation

 AT&T  & MRY for It Can Wait

Best Use of Mobile

Burger King Chicken Fries emoji keyboard  

Audi Redefines Second Screen TV with “Pretty Little Liars” & Snapchat

Horizon Media & Skin Wars, Season 2

Best Use of Social

Gap Dress Normal Project

VW GOOOOOOLF

Audi Redefines Second Screen TV with “Pretty Little Liars” & Snapchat

*Featured at the Digiday Career Fair, October 1,2015

  • LinkedIn Icon