2019 Winners & Shortlists


Short List
CategoryBranded Games


2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, one of the biggest sporting events in the region, promising to be the most exciting Formula 1 race of the year. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix attracts huge crowds from outside the UAE, there is no guarantee long-haul audiences will continue to attend, especially among millennials, the next generation of avid fans within the sport of Formula 1. This community of fans are passionate, they never miss a race, they’re active on social media during races. Despite this, attending overseas races can be expensive and a lower priority for these fans. Instead, turning to the European races, seen as more accessible and practical than a trip overseas, fulfilling their bucket list moments. How do we connect with millennial Formula 1 Fans through an entertaining experience, leveraged through social and turn Abu Dhabi Grand Prix into a bucket list race?

Describe the creative idea.

Brands are continuously fighting for user’s attention, making it extremely challenging to get a message across on social media. For our message to resonate, we needed the fans to experience the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix track firsthand. What better way to introduce the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix than to get them racing on the track in a digital activation, through a gamified social ad, connecting with the inner child of our millennial Formula 1 fans. European Formula 1 fans are active gamers. Our brand opportunity lay in providing a unique experience - by creating the content the community could relate to, resonating with their interests. Executed in the right format to capture attention, standing out from the unnecessary chaos in the feed. Gamifying social content to a race challenge and implementing the brand throughout the entire experience would ensure we created a meaningful connection.

Describe the strategy.

Entertaining content leads to positive shifts in customer activity, and intent to discover brand offerings. Gamified content enhanced users experience due to interactive nature, disrupting time spent on content to above the norm. Research highlighted which key international races had approximate attendees of +1M. Our strategy focused on connecting with millennial attendees, as the business had an appetite to enrich the CRM data and expand the visitors to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with fresh leads from European markets. We hijacked events by engaging through our digital activation. Our approach digressed from aggressive methods to capture attention, instead earning engagement by providing a nostalgic experience for the user. Rather than traditional approaches of collecting data at the beginning, users were offered a reward upon completion, and opted-in to submit their details, indicating 100% intent. Reducing the user end barriers of attendance and gathering highly qualified marketing leads.

Describe the execution.

Instead of disruptive methods we immersed our audience into an engaging experience. Creating a game in a social ad that was unique to the millennial Formula 1 fans, back to the days of arcade gaming in 8-bit style. Matching each detail of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, pixel by pixel, putting fans in a time capsule on their mobile phones, sparking a moment of nostalgia. Launching across all social media platforms for maximum reach, bridging the gap to the millennial Formula 1 fans, right on our competitor’s doorstep. We geo-fenced European races to hijack them in real time, reaching fans online and engaged to social media – the only available touch point while attending an F1 race. Reaching our community through social media, at the right moment and at the right time. The experience ran 3 months prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to gain momentum towards our event.

List the results.

Results evoked a wave of reactions on social media, instead of the disruptive method we, immersed our audience into the experience. Delivering: - 5x F1 events hijacked, activating 11 international markets - UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Singapore, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, where F1 relevant audience attend races - 64,369 gamers engaged and completed the challenge, that’s more gamers than we could fit in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grandstand seats. - Time spent gaming surpassed expectations at 99 seconds on average. That’s 12x more effective than an average video ad. - 65% decrease in costs in capturing marketing leads - 198% increase in captured quality marketing leads vs. previous methods - Doubled the ROI Leading to: - Assisting in 17% increase in International visitation to the 10th edition of #AbuDhabiGP. - Assisting in the fastest sell-out of the event.


Name Company Role
Parag Chemburkar Centric Creative Director
Yara Saad Spark Foundry Performance Marketing
Yara Saad Spark Foundry Performance Marketing
Alexandra Thomson Spark Foundry Creative Strategy
Ozan Hatipoglu Spark Foundry Manager - Social & Content
Ozan Hatipoglu Spark Foundry Manager - Social & Content
Rami Itani Spark Foundry Media - Manager
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