After weeks of judging, occasional arguments, far too much coffee and – thankfully – lots of internal support, we are now in a position to reveal the winners of our 2009 Innovation Awards.

The judges felt that the standard of the 400 or so entries was remarkably high, and that the winners represent innovation, which can be defined in pure technology or creative terms, but also in context to an organisation or sector. The judging panel included Econsultancy’s in-house internet fiends and a bunch of third party experts. 

Our hearty congratulations to all the winners, and also to the shortlisted runners up, and particularly to the ‘highly commended’ runners up named below. Kudos, glory and acclaim to all who triumphed.

Innovation in Affiliate Marketing

Winner: eBay Partner Network

Highly commended: Skimlinks

About the winning entry: Quality Click Pricing is a quality based Cost Per Click (CPC) payout model designed to better reward the best affiliates and elevate the quality of traffic driven to eBay sites through its affiliate programme. Quality Click Pricing rewards affiliates based on the value of the traffic they send to eBay, which is measured by the incremental revenue delivered by transactions and the lifetime value of new users.

What the judges said about the winner: “A fantastic idea from eBay. The Quality Click Pricing is a no-brainer. The decision to reward affiliates based on customer lifetime value and PayPal usage is a highly compelling incentive.”

Innovation in B2B Digital Marketing

Winner: IBM 

About the winning entry: A new application called ‘Seer’ that IBM’s VIP business leads could experience and enjoy first hand at Wimbledon. Seer combines augmented reality with live data, allowing people at large events to use their mobile phones to avoid crowds and queues, find out useful information, get to see more, and have a better time.

What the judges said about the winner: “Using the Google Android platform to create a stunning augmented reality app seemed like a great way to impress the company’s VIP clients, for whom it was intended. The sexy technology / highly creative idea will no doubt have resulted in dropped jaws and raised eyebrows.”

Innovation in E-commerce

Winner: Glasses Direct

Highly commended: UpClick

About the winning entry: The Augmented Reality Video Mirror uses cutting-edge facial recognition software to allow customers to try on glasses in real time via their webcam. Using augmented reality – which superimposes a 3D object onto a real photo or video – the customer can see the glasses on their face, and move around to get an idea of how they look from different angles.

What the judges said about the winner: “The augmented reality video app represents true innovation as it deals with one of the last barriers in e-commerce: trying things on. Glasses Direct is ahead of the curve in this respect.”

Innovation in Email Marketing


Highly commended: Silverpop

About the winning entry: Using the customer’s previous in-store and/or online grocery purchase history combined with Clubcard loyalty scheme data, Tesco developed an email campaign providing a highly personalised ‘shopping list’ unique to each individual customer.

What the judges said about the winner: “We liked the highly personalised, data-driven approach – along with the use of incentives – to lure dormant customers back to the Tesco checkouts.”

Innovation in Lead Generation Online

Winner: European Directories and Skype

About the winning entry: A product and business model that converts online searches into phone calls with full tracking ability. This was then available to the 700,000 advertisers that European Directories currently serve in its 8 territories.

What the judges said about the winner: “This is a very big idea and a fantastic concept. Converting searches to calls will further bridge the gap between online and offline, in a measurable way.”

Innovation in Mobile Marketing

Winner: Marvellous Ideas

Highly commended: Incentivated

Highly commended: KODIME

About the winning entry: Adidas’s London Marathon Runner Tracker created a connection between runners and supporters to deliver the world’s first commentary service for individual competitors in a mass sports event. Using data collected from RFID chips in runners’ shoes, the Runner Tracker app displayed information on web and mobile including an individual runner’s mapped location on the race route, their speed and their estimated finish time. Supporters could also send timed personalised messages of support to loved ones to appear as they approached digital screens. 

What the judges said about the winner: “An intelligent, innovative idea that enabled real-world, personalised tracking on a vast scale. We loved the social element. Excellent.”

Innovation in Multichannel Marketing

Winner: first direct

Highly commended: DSB Danish Railways / Wunderman / Agillic

About the winning entry: first direct used a combination of brand and direct response online and press advertising, as well as an integrated PR campaign to bring to life the campaign idea of ‘championing transparency in business’.  Using social media, the campaign invited comments from consumers about the first direct brand, as well as tracking sentiment from relevant sites. 

What the judges said about the winner: “Brave and truly integrated campaign which seamlessly tied in social media and digital with traditional marketing channels. A lesson for the generally conservative banking sector and companies who break free from a siloed approach.”

Innovation in Online Customer Service

Winner: CACI

Highly commended: BT

About the winning entry: disputer, a free online destination assisting consumers in making and handling claims against energy, water and telecommunication companies.  disputer tells the consumer their rights, composes their email, reminds if they have not heard back, and if unsatisfied disputer has the complete complaints procedure for every company from customer services to managing director and if not resolved the consumer can send their e-case file to the Ombudsman for assessment.

What the judges said about the winner: “Something that every consumer will welcome because it takes away a lot of the pain when making complaints against sometimes faceless organisations. Great tools for making it easier to organise and build your case.”

Innovation in Online Marketing Research or Customer Insight

Winner: InSites Consulting UK

Highly commended: Somatica Digital

About the winning entry: netnography makes use of user-generated content on social media to answer a certain research question. It helps marketers and researchers to enclose new quality information which is not easily available via traditional research and within our knowledge, is the first approach to analyse user-generated-content in a structured way within market research.

What the judges said about the winner: “This is how a great deal of research will be conducted in the future and a step change in the way that companies can get insight. Great use of user-generated content to answer questions in a way which makes invasive questions unnecessary.”

Innovation in Online PR

Winner: first direct

About the winning entry: first direct used an integrated PR campaign to bring to life the campaign idea of ‘championing transparency in business’.  Using social media, the campaign invited comments from consumers about the First Direct brand, as well as tracking sentiment from relevant sites. 

What the judges said about the winner: “Wonderfully transparent campaign for a bank pushing past the conventional boundaries which will become a widely used case study for effective online PR.”

Innovation in Paid Search/PPC

Winner: Summit Media / Comet

About the winning entry: Portfolio Manager keeps Comet’s PPC adverts and keywords accurate to the minute in relation to stock, price, availability, margin and customer reviews. Its rules engine created and optimised ‘long tail’ campaigns automatically against Comet’s business information (margin and stock) received in Comet’s daily product feed. This innovation generates, on average, an extra £100k in sales per week through improved coverage, relevancy, click through rate and reduced PPC budget wastage.

What the judges said about the winner: “Used the power of the long tail of search to expose the stock sitting in Comet’s warehouses. Truly innovative integration with a traditional retailer.”

Innovation in Rich Media and Video

Winner: Essence

About the winning entry: The YouTube HomeProject Channel screens and promotes full feature films. The channel contains a completely customized gadget as the main cinema screen for all film content.  During promotion, the Gadget had a countdown to the film’s global release, and trailer content, enabling viewing of the full feature at release.

What the judges said about the winner: “A worthy winner for overcoming technical bandwidth issues and its creative execution. This combines video, statistics and creative with some great functionality in a way that manifestly added weight to a very political campaign.”

Innovation in SEO/Natural Search

Winner: Majestic-12

About the winning entry: Using distributed crawlers, Majestic-12 mastered an innovative new way to collect and index over a trillion back-links on the internet. Majestic has been able to overcome scaling issues faced by others trying to recreate this map by using distributed crawlers, collecting the data from thousands of PCs owned by volunteers around the globe.

What the judges said about the winner: “Services which help search marketers to understand and develop their link profile compared to competitors are essential to compete effectively in natural search. To create a link-dex of the scale of MajesticSEO with accompanying tools to help marketers understand the importance of different links is a major innovation within SEO.”

Innovation in Social Media

Winner: Storm Ideas

Highly commended: Independents United

About the winning entry: Twibbon allows the user to alter a profile picture in order to express and generate support for their chosen cause or brand in a highly viral way. In October alone, more than 90,000 internet users have worn pink Twibbons to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

What the judges said about winner: “Genius. Like all the best ideas, a Twibbon is a very simple but a fantastic way of allowing people to engage with campaigns and causes in a way which speaks volumes but requires minimal effort.”

Innovation in User Experience

Winner: Enhanced Editions Ltd

Highly commended: MixMatchMe

About the winning entry: The Enhanced Editions digital book iPhone app enables users to customize their reading interface, choose how they want to experience the book – reading, listening, or even watching – and interact with the author, publisher, and other fans. 

What the judges said about the winner: “A brilliant and engaging iPhone application which helped to bring to life Nick Cave’s second novel, with video and audio which gave users significantly more than they could get from a physical book.” 

Innovation in Web Analytics and Optimization

Winner: Fresh Egg

About the winning entry: CallTrackID™ is a “mash up” between a proven free tool (Google Analytics) and existing Telecoms technology – the merging of SEO and telecommunications – to enable the tracking of leads and data that were previously invisible.

What the judges said about the winner: “Call tracking is essential to measuring the impact of a marketing campaign, and this is a simple and awesome solution. The web gets a less loss credit than it should from companies for sales and leads, most because the offline impact is invisible. Fresh Egg has developed something very clever that is easy to use by anyone.”

Innovation in Web Content Management

Winner: Aqueduct & Poke 

About the winning entry: A website designed for Manchester City Football Club fans which incorporates personalisation, media rich (high resolution imagery and extensive video content throughout), live in-game data visualisation and comment from journalists, ticketing integration and full e-commerce capability. 

What the judges said about the winner: “The agencies responsible pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on a football website. The use of rich media, in-game visualisations and personalisation combined to make this a stand-out entry.”

Most Innovative Digital Agency

Winner: Essence

About the winning entry: Essence has a philosophy of continual innovation and has demonstrated innovation in a range of digital activities, including: bespoke systems for digital media management and engagement mapping, CMS and social applications; digital initiatives and campaigns to engage audiences in entirely new ways which delivered significant ROI uplifts; new social applications and web propositions; and it has leveraged new media management systems to run multi-currency, multi-lingual pan-European media.

What the judges said about the winner: “Essence demonstrate that it is possible to embed innovation at the heart of an organisation. The firm has a wide range of internal projects that represent true innovation in the agency sector.”

Most Innovative Digital Marketing Team

Winner: eSpares

About the winning entry: eSpares has entirely shifted the focus of its business from just selling online to helping customers to fix their broken appliances. User generated content and our own how-to videos have helped give more of our customers the confidence to attempt appliance repairs.

What the judges said about the winner: “Shifting the focus of the business from purely sales to content generation is smart thinking from eSpares. Restructuring the team to produce content internally was a brilliant move. We love the staff videos.”

Most Innovative Online Advertising Campaign

Winner: first direct

Highly commended: Tangent One

About the winning entry: To bring to life the campaign idea of ‘championing transparency in business’ we scraped the web for every mention of the first direct brand and then visualised the live data by showing the positive and negative sentiment in one execution and the words being used in association (wordle) with the brand in another execution. We used a combination of brand and direct response standard banners, skyscrapers and MPU’s, and all of the content was live and in real time. 

What the judges said about the winner: “A brilliantly transparent and creative campaign from – quite remarkably – a financial brand. It was a superb effort that represents innovation both in terms of the creative but also for the financial sector itself. Commendably brave.”

Most Innovative New Technology

Winner: ipadio

Highly commended: IBM

About the winning entry: ipadio takes any telephone call and streams it live to the web, opening a host of applications from live sports commentary direct from a mobile phone to live news reporting from any phone. 

What the judges said about the winner: “A really simple but well executed idea that gives anyone who can use a phone the chance to speak out on the internet … a technology for the masses with many potential uses.”