LOS ANGELES, CA – December 14, 2021 – The Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) announced today the winners of the 3AF 2021 Excellence Awards competition.  The awards are bestowed annually to recognize excellence and commitment by corporate marketers and Asian American media and the best and brightest creative, public relations and digital work by agencies in the Asian American advertising and marketing industry.

In the 3AF Creative Campaign of the Year category, top honor, or the Gold award for first place went to TDW+Co for their work on the 2020 Census entitled, “Shape Your Future. Start Here.” Despite the external challenges and barriers caused to the nationwide count by the COVID-19 pandemic, their campaign managed to reach more than 99% of all households–including Asian–in the United States, with a 67% self-response rate and a total of 99.98% of all households responding. More importantly, the U.S. Census Bureau recently released redistricting data in August 2021, which indicated that at 35.5%, Asians are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S. The demonstration could not have been possible without an accurate count of the Asian American population.

Second place in the creative campaign of the year award went to IW Group for their work on McDonalds (Famous Orders/BTS meal). Using the insight that “No matter how big or famous you are, everyone has a McDonald’s order,” IW Group collaborated with BTS, one of the world’s biggest musical acts.  The primary concept was to showcase the BTS meal itself, to entice younger, more discerning consumers to McDonald’s, by taking core menu items (Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets), and turning them into “curated” meals that are handpicked by celebrities and made widely available to the public for purchase for a limited time. The BTS Meal required no new food ingredients, but elegantly connected core menu items with today’s icons.

Quantasy received the bronze award, or third place, for their work on Wells Fargo entitled, “We Stand With You.” During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 90% of small Asian American businesses reported losing revenue greater than those of Black, Hispanic, or white businesses. The primary objective of the campaign was to show respect to this community’s resilience and demonstrate Wells Fargo’s support for the Asian American community by connecting through compassion and championing the people and organizations making a meaningful difference.

The 3AF Marketer of the Year award was presented to McDonalds. During the height of this year’s anti-Asian attacks, the Golden Arches was one of the first major brands to release a public statement and pledge a donation to combat anti-Asian hate. They followed that brand action with an additional donation of $300,000 in national media inventory to air a PSA during prime dayparts on such major networks as ABC, NBC, ESPN and TNT. McDonald’s also made history by featuring Korean supergroup BTS and Filipina rapper Saweetie as part of their Famous Orders campaign, a general market initiative showcasing individuals who are shaping the country’s cultural narrative. Lastly, the brand celebrated key Asian holidays like Lunar New Year, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Mid-Autumn Festival and Diwali by collaborating with notable Asian American brands and artists like 88Rising and Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.

ADMERASIA was recognized with the 3AF 2021 PR Campaign of the Year award for their efforts on “Racism is Contagious.”  The agency designed and developed Racismiscontagious.com, an ongoing platform with the coalition support of media, social movements and organizations around the country, including media platform NextShark and nonprofit movement Hate Is a Virus, designed to aggregate, map, visualize and address instances of targeted hate against the Asian American community.  Judges were very impressed with the campaign’s results and, especially, its comprehensive nature.

Also in the PR category, honorable mention was given to Stamp Our Story Committee, who partnered with TDW+Co and Diane Suzuki on the campaign for “Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of World War II,” a Forever stamp that was published by the U.S. Postal Service after a 15-year effort led by Stamp Our Story co-founders Fusa Takahashi, Aiko O. King, and the late Chiz Ohira, with co-chair Wayne Osako. The campaign’s primary messaging focused on the Go for Broke stamp serving as the first Forever stamp to feature the image of an Asian American soldier and one of only a few stamps in U.S. postal history to feature a historical Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) subject. The stamp honors the service of the Go for Broke soldiers of World War II — including the late husbands of Takahashi, King, and Ohira — who in the face of great prejudice, rose to serve with distinction to become one of the most decorated units for their size and service. The team engaged multiple internal and external stakeholders in online and offline conversations through the implementation of virtual interviews (inclusive of podcast interviews), print and digital media pitching efforts, phone conversations and high touch points with general market and ethnic press partners to secure stories, and especially to secure attendance of community stakeholder groups at the stamp’s unveiling ceremony in Los Angeles.

The 3AF media partner of the year award was presented to the Filipino Press. Since 1986, the Filipino Press has been the leading source of news for the Filipino community in San Diego and Southern California. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the newspaper, thanks largely to its owner, continues to build bridges and amplify the voices of various ethnic communities beyond the Asian segment in National City, Mira Mesa, East Lake, Chula Vista, Escondido, Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, El Cajon, Clairemont Mesa, Linda Vista and Oceanside, California on a weekly basis.

This year, the judges chose to recognize AARP with a special award:  the 3AF Community Partner of the Year.  The Asian American population is the second fastest growing segment of the age 50+and will grow in number from 4.3 million (as of 2012) to 13.2 million by 2050 (Source: AARP). By developing campaigns to support 50+ AAPIs and targeting adults between the age of 35 – 49, this also allowed the brand to build awareness among future AARP members, but also key decisionmakers and caregivers of 50+ adults in consideration of intergenerational roles in AAPI families. The judges felt strongly that AARP’s significant community-based marketing communications and outreach to raise Asian American community knowledge on such critical issues as COVID-19 safety and vaccine, 2020 Census, 2020 state by state voter engagement and anti-Asian violence was worthy of recognition.

Genny Hom-Franzen, Executive Director of the 3AF said, “The 3AF is proud to continue its work and amplify the message that our community is strong and resilient.  Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our member agencies and media partners are forging ahead, doing great work on behalf of their clients to reach and target the critical Asian American consumer segment.  Our annual awards competition recognizes the many 3AF member agencies, media, and other partners who are doing stellar work in our industry. Congratulations to this year’s winners for being a part of the 3AF and contributing to our our mission to spotlight the power and influence of the Asian American consumer segment.”

The Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) is a national trade organization comprised of Asian American advertising agencies, Asian market advertisers, Asian media companies and other industry specialists. Its mission is to advance the Asian American marketing and advertising industry for Asian American consumers through education, advocacy, promotion, and increased collaboration of all industry stakeholders including, but not limited to, marketers, agencies, research partners and media. Additionally, 3AF seeks to promote and encourage high standards of conduct and ethics among our members and our industry.

The 3AF Asian Marketing Summit is held annually. More information about the 3AF is available at www.www.3af.org.