In 2013, in Hamburg, we set our ambitions to have our own creatives and strategic planners with the goal to compete with ad agencies and digital firms for marketing dollars. Fast forward 10 years and that ambition has been realized. We’ve just topped the list for PRovoke’s annual Global Creative Index. This is a stunning achievement fueled by our work in 2023 including the campaign of the year, HP’s StreetCode, and three other award-winning campaigns — Dove’s #LetHerGrow, Dove’s #KeepTheGrey and Vaseline’s See My Skin

We also won a Grand Prix this week at the Eurobest for our Mayo McHack campaign. It was a classic tongue-in-cheek PR campaign conducted in the UK market. Dan Edelman is smiling down on this one. 

British consumers love to use mayonnaise with their chips (French fries for the rest of us). But McDonald’s does not offer mayonnaise as a condiment. So, our client Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, the number one condiment in the UK, decided to stand up for the lovers of its brand. The solution was elegant. McDonald’s offers a Mayo Chicken sandwich, with a bun, chicken, lettuce and of course mayonnaise. Customers were asked to walk into the shop and order the Mayo Chicken, but hold the chicken, lettuce and bun, leaving only the mayonnaise. We would refund the £1.19 cost of the sandwich if the customer submitted a photo of the McDonald’s box with only mayo inside to #MayoMcHack. Then they could enjoy fries the proper way, with mayo. 

This idea took off in the media, with 300 percent increase in social engagement, 46 percent rise in Hellmann’s brand consideration, 9-point jump in purchase intent and 72 percent of consumers agreeing that McDonald’s should offer Hellmann’s in store. McDonald’s found this slightly less funny, sending a cease-and-desist letter. We leave the stage hoping that McDonald’s and Hellmann’s may one day be able to do a deal and give the people what they want. 

In mid-September after much of the East Coast of the U.S. found itself under a thick orange haze from the wildfires in Canada, our team worked with Sanofi Consumer Health’s allergy brand Allegra, to create Allegra Airways, the world’s first navigation tool for allergy sufferers to help people find routes with better air quality in real-time. Allegra Airways beta-launched this technology in New York City during Climate Week to capture the attention of environmental leaders around the world. Media impressions exceeded 300K and 6.6 million social media impressions. Most importantly, we enabled people to take 23,700 breaths of better air. 

I told my team in the end of year Town Hall address that we have the privilege of being in the room where it happens. There is power in what we do, to set a new context, to motivate through ideas that enable action. I told them that the spirit of Edelman is best embodied in this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?” Thank you to every one of the 6,000 people of Edelman and Zeno who bring their best every day.

Richard Edelman is CEO.