Guest Columns
4 mins read

Sustainability, Collaboration and Data: Themes dominating this year’s WMA Shortlist

globe with lights on it
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

TL;DR: An annual event hosted by The World Media Group (an alliance of global media organizations), The World Media Awards showcase the best in international content-driven, cross-border advertising. This year’s shortlist is dominated by innovative, unconventional cross-channel media applications, sustainability themes, collaboration and data, writes Belinda Barker, Chief Executive of the World Media Group.

Although the World Media Awards are now in their seventh year, I never fail to be surprised by the increasing quality and creativity of the submissions every time we begin the shortlisting process. Our panel of 39 judges spent hours poring over the entries to select this year’s finalists, whose campaigns represent the very best in international content-driven, cross-border advertising.

As we’ve all adjusted to life after Covid, priorities have changed, and so has the popularity of certain categories this year. Entries doubled in both the Automotive and Social Good categories, while Technology & Telecoms submissions increased by 175% compared to the previous year. The judges also noticed some clear themes emerging across all categories.

Force for good

With sustainability a key challenge and strategic focus for business leaders and policymakers today, this year’s entries demonstrated a growing need in the B2B sector for relevant, timely content and insights that helps business leaders to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape.

Several strong entries across multiple categories had a sustainability focus. Samsung partnered with TBrand, the content studio of New York Times Advertising, to raise awareness for their eco-conscious products and technologies by demonstrating how they are helping society achieve a more sustainable future while minimizing the environmental impact of their product.

Sustainability was also the subject of the work submitted by Economist Impact, which itself is a new business division from The Economist Group. Its partnership with Infosys explored critical issues around sustainability, net-zero and clean energy, and how to pursue sustainable resilience for the planet. By leveraging the collective insights of both parties, they sought to educate industry leaders, empower sustainability stakeholders, and position partners at the forefront of change.

Leveraging data

This year’s entries showcased a deeper use of data, in terms of how it was used to deliver campaigns as well as underpinning the results and success of each entry.

This was apparent in the FT’s collaboration with Accenture. The FT research team carried out a Management Consultancy Global Impact Study (GIST) among more than 550 of the world’s leading C-suites for the research-based campaign. The goal was to promote Accenture’s expertise to the FT audience and showcase its brand message in a credible environment. The content campaign positioned Accenture around specific topics of interest based on the insights gleaned specifically from the GIST research and executed alongside the FT’s high-profile editorial series, webinars, and newsletters.

Innovative media application

Many of this year’s entries surprised the judges with their novel approach to media application. These campaigns demonstrated a deep understanding of their audience, reaching beyond traditional media outlets and experimenting with alternatives such as corporate LinkedIn profiles, gaming platforms and innovative out-of-home solutions. It was also interesting to see brands going beyond standard targeting to discover where their audience is most engaged.

Embracing collaboration

The World Media Awards are always a celebration of what can be achieved when international brands, agencies and media owners work together on a common goal. This year has seen yet another crop of brilliant partnerships at scale.

In a first for BBC StoryWorks, this meant working with two brands, InLombardia and Grana Padano in one campaign around travel in Lombardy, Northern Italy. The mission was to merge the interests of two very distinct brands with the interest of the same travel audience. The result was an emotional discovery and showcase of Lombardy as a destination for authentic travel experiences and cuisine.

De Beers decided to address brand perceptions head-on around the controversial issue of diamond mining. Since 2015, the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, has been working to help secure permanent, sustainable protection for the Okavango Basin. DeBeers chose to collaborate with the National Geographic Society by providing support and funding to expand and accelerate the work already underway. The brave campaign educates readers and raises awareness of the Okavango Delta and its benefits through compelling storytelling in National Geographic.

These are just a few examples of some of the amazing work that’s been shortlisted. All of this year’s finalists have highlighted how the most successful international partnerships happen when brands, agencies and media owners are closely aligned and embrace unconventional thinking and creative problem-solving to drive tangible results. We’re very much looking forward to revealing the category winners, along with our new ‘Rising Star’, during a ceremony at the Ham Yard Hotel in London on Thursday 8th September 2022.

You can read all about the shortlisted entries @

The World Media Group is an alliance of leading global media organisations united in providing trusted and renowned journalism. Its members include The Atlantic, BBC Global News, Bloomberg Media, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Insider, National Geographic, Politico Europe, Reuters, The New York Times Company, The Smithsonian, TIME, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, and associate member Euromoney, and partners Permutive and Smartology.