Past Winners

2015 In-House Agency of the Year

Discover Financial Services


At just over 50 team members, INCITE, the internal creative agency at Discover Financial Services is small compared to the nearly 15,000 employees companywide. Nevertheless, the team’s impact spans the globe as they develop brand guidelines, educate internal business partners and external agencies, and ensure consistency across all marketing channels.

In late 2014, INCITE’s potential for collaboration was put to the test. Discover had a unique opportunity to announce that all card members would receive access to their individual FICO scores each month for free—and the announcement would be made during Super Bowl XLIX.

The in-house agency had 21 days to brainstorm, design, and produce all creative that would go live during the nationally televised game. Partnering closely with internal business units as well as three external agencies (FCB in Chicago, The Martin Agency in Richmond, and MCD Partners in New York), the combined team scored a touchdown.

INCITE worked hand in hand with internal business partners (customer insights, advertising and branding, acquisition, portfolio, production) and external ad agencies, holding daily status meetings and staying on top of delivery dates. Everyone shared the workload, creating direct mail, tweets, mass print and TV, digital banners and more. All egos were checked at the door.

A “war room” was staffed during the Super Bowl to monitor social media engagement, homepage web traffic and more importantly, to interact with fans of football and the Discover brand. And the game plan was a winner: overall site traffic at Discover.com was up 178%, mobile app visits were up 26%, and email traffic was up over 25%. In fact, the unexpected surge in online traffic was so significant that the animated site was temporarily shut down.

INCITE’s cooperative approach and collaborative relationships built an even stronger bond with internal business partners, external agencies, and most of all, the consumer marketplace.

2015 Finalists

Allianz Life

In the bitter Minnesota winter of 2010 (OK, every Minnesota winter is bitter), a new Allianz creative services leadership team was challenged to turn its sleepy design department into a bona fide in-house agency—one organized along the lines of an external agency and capable of producing work of equal quality and impact.

Today, the 21-person team at Allianz is responsible for over 3,000 marketing projects annually—including its recent LoveFamilyMoney Study, produced in collaboration with Grey Advertising and MediaCom.

Due to an aggressive media schedule, work was divided based on who could execute fastest. To ensure the effort was integrated, the combined team talked every other day—sharing designs and addressing issues for a relationship that was open, respectful, and productive.

The LoveFamilyMoney Study was a media, financial, and creative success, generating 194 published articles and nearly seven million impressions with a front-page mention in USAToday and prominent placements in TIME, MONEY, LA Times, and on CNBC. The Study also won numerous creative awards including a bronze Telly, an IFCA honorable mention, and a GDUSA award.

Prudential Financial

Five years on, the unlikely partnership between Droga5 and Prudential Brand Marketing & Advertising exemplifies collaboration as it invigorates and transforms an iconic brand.

Collectively, the duo has created groundbreaking, top-performing campaigns. They’ve redefined how to engage targets, from a mass-consumer model to a segmented audience-based approach—achieving superior media efficiency. Strategic insight helped them deepen audience understanding by developing personas representing specific segments and creating fresh, category-busting content and experiences.

A shrewd multi-channel media plan generates dialogue through a social media strategy that drives conversations and engagement. This year, the team added a branded Instagram account to Prudential’s robust Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube presence. And their social content continues to lead, consistently sustaining a C-Rank of 74 versus the financial services category average of 32.

With Droga5, Prudential Brand Marketing & Advertising has established Prudential Financial as a pre-eminent financial services brand as the company continues to generate brand momentum with its Bring Your Challenges campaign. This internal/external agency partnership has come a long way in five years—and they’re just getting started.