The 2021 Digiday Media Awards honors the companies, technologies and campaigns that have stood out throughout the media over the past year. This year, the competition was fierce and the programs robust. Innovation and big ideas expanded the playing field for many of the winners, even in a year when quarantines limited where and how people could work — and play.
Community, changemakers, collaboration and inclusivity surfaced as thematic highlights across this year’s winners. Throughout, B2B and B2C programs shined, with diversity, equity, access and empowerment leading the charge. Partnerships blossomed, and customers and audiences reaped the rewards.
Among the judges’ picks this year, In The Know partnered with Our Place and took home the Best Commerce Partner award for their collaboration. Across on-site articles, social placements and email newsletters, Our Place’s products became one of In The Know’s top sellers for 2020 and outperformed more established, traditional cookware brands. Furthermore, the partnership aligned with In The Know’s mission to spotlight businesses owned by women and BIPOC, as Our Place was founded by Pakistani social entrepreneur Shiza Shahid.
In The Know also snagged the award for Best Story with their ‘Where You Can Still Find Household Essentials’ guide, which was created to help readers procure necessities online when many physical stores were experiencing shortages. The guide identified multiple websites and retailers carrying everything from toilet paper and paper towels to disinfectants and hand soap. It became one of In The Know’s top-visited pages for several months and was timely and of great value to their readers.
When it came to the category of Best Content Studio, T Brand at The New York Times put up a winning entry with programs produced for major clients such as Tide, Dropbox, Snap and Citi. T Brand advised numerous clients on their response to the pandemic with a consultation entitled “The Business Acts, The Brand Speaks,” which was designed to give clients confidence to reenter the market. The studio’s programs for Tide and Dropbox helped readers navigate changes in daily life and business, while campaigns for Snap and Citi promoted racial literacy in classrooms and supported initiatives designed to close the racial wealth gap.
The Times also won in the Best Brand Partnership – B2B category when they teamed up with Verizon for The 5G Journalism Lab, dedicated to delivering immersive storytelling with 5G. The Times demonstrated the power of technology and storytelling in a content program that delivered legitimate value to the Times readership without intruding on the publisher’s editorial independence.
For the category of Best New Vertical or Brand, Harvard Business Review claimed the award with the launch of Ascend, a sub-brand providing content for young people trying to navigate work-life balance. To build a younger audience, the team experimented with content on platforms popular among that demographic, including TikTok and YouTube. Ascend proved successful in its objective of providing ideas for readers to discover who they are at work and outside of work with content delving deeply and personally into topics with which its audience identifies.
Harvard Business Review also won the Publisher of the Year award for showcasing its range, purpose and determination in 2020. The publisher trained its lens on society’s greatest challenges, introducing ‘Race at Work,’ a podcast hosted by Porter Braswell offering candid conversations about the role race plays in everyone’s careers and lives. HBR also incorporated timely conversations about the pandemic and about race, power and equity into many of its other HBR podcasts — striving to be a source of understanding and inspiration at a time when the world ricocheted from crisis to crisis.
Explore all the winners of the 2021 Digiday Media Awards below – including a quick rundown of the campaigns and insights into why they won and what marketing teams can learn from them. Download the complete guide here.
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