Following PHD’s multiple wins this year with its #oreoeclipse campaign for Mondelez International, last week saw yet more accolades at the Campaign Media Awards, with the team walking away with four awards including the highest accolade of Campaign of the Year.

Matt Sanders, managing partner at PHD UK, explains the thinking behind the campaign to Campaign magazine.

“This was one of those rare moments when everything came together in terms of concept, collaboration and execution. And, if we’re honest, it went way beyond our ambitions.

First, some context: Oreo is a huge brand with annual sales of $3.3 billion, making it the biggest biscuit or “cookie” brand in the world.

If you grew up in the US, it’s probably a big part of your childhood. But that’s certainly not the case on this side of the pond.

Oreo enjoyed a modest 10 per cent of unprompted awareness and an astonishing 40 per cent less “trial” than the UK’s market leader.

Mondelez International challenged us to drive trial and make Oreo a more iconic brand in the hearts and minds of Brits. It also asked us, with tongue firmly in cheek, to win some awards too. Mondelez acknowledged the scale of the challenge but said it was prepared to sign off big ideas.

For an agency with creativity at its heart, this was a dream brief. So where did the idea come from?

We’re always on the lookout for cultural moments that we can align with to amplify our clients’ brands, so identifying the eclipse on 20 March as a huge opportunity for Oreo was relatively easy.

The magic was the insight that there are few things the UK media love more than a story that involves the weather. In this case, its ability to compromise the celestial event of the decade, because we anticipated that cloud or rain would probably spoil it for most people.

So we decided to create an alternative Oreo eclipse, placing the brand at the heart of the occasion within landmark media.

We coverwrapped – or “eclipsed” – The Sun (for the first time in its history) and incorporated Royal Astronomical Society data into digital outdoor sites to recreate the eclipse with the exact timings and trajectory of the sun and moon on the screens. It might sound simple, but did you realise that the eclipse started five minutes later in Edinburgh than in London?

Then there was the small matter of execution. We began with the client, who immediately bought into the idea and found a not-immodest budget. Then there was persuadingThe Sun’s editor to break new ground by allowing us to coverwrap the previously sacrosanct front page.

Partnering with Talon and Grand Visual to feed live data into a number of digital outdoor sites could easily have gone wrong, as the public – the ultimate judges – can never be taken for granted. As it was, Britons both embraced and built on the social push that we initiated.

The result was an incredible experience. We picked up a load of awards. And did I mention we sold a ton of biscuits too?”

As published in Campaign.