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Direct Lions

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The Direct Lions celebrate targeted and response-driven creativity.

Entries will need to demonstrate how insights and/or data were used as part of the strategy to engage specific target audience groups and develop customer relationships, inspiring action and producing measurable results.


A number of criteria will be considered during judging and weighted as follows: 30% idea; 20% strategy; 20% execution; 30% impact and results.

The same piece of work can be entered up to four times in Direct. However, the same piece of work may only be entered once in ‘A. Direct: Sectors’.

Explore the categories

A. Direct: Sectors

The same entry can be submitted only once in this section.

A01 Food & Drink.
All food and drinks.
* All fast food entries should be entered into A05. Retail.

A02 Consumer Goods.
Beauty, cleaning products, household goods, technology, furniture and lighting, toys, fashion, home appliances, other FMCG / consumer durables.

A03 Healthcare.
Pharma, OTC drugs, wellness.

A04 Automotive.
Vehicles, other automotive.

A05 Retail.
Retail, eCommerce, restaurants, fast food.

A06 Travel / Leisure.
Travel, tourism, transport, live events, museums & galleries, gambling, sports, gaming, other recreation.

A07 Media / Entertainment.
Music, film, television, publications & media, books, news, digital platforms, other media.

A08 Consumer Services / Business to Business.
All commercial public services, Legal, financial, B2B technology, consultancies & professional services, other business services, internal & corporate communications.

A09 Not-for-profit / Charity / Government.
Government, public information, NGOs, military, charities, non-profit organisations.
* All CSR work should be entered in the relevant sector and/or F07. Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility category in section F. Culture & Context.

B. Channels

Work in these categories will be judged on how the channel was used as a piece of direct communication for a brand.

B01 Mailing / Programmatic Mail.
Celebrating targeted and programmatic mailing campaigns. Entries into this category should demonstrate efficiency in the technology and processes used, effective placement and evidence of results.
* Please send physical samples for the jury to experience.

B02 Use of Ambient Media: Small Scale.
Non-mail and print collateral, including small physical objects and all other hand-held (or equivalent in size) items.
* 'Small Scale' refers to the physical size of the ambient item, not the scale of the distribution.

Please send physical samples for the jury to experience.

B03 Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale.
Non-traditional media, including direct response stunts, street teams, direct response events, outdoor / ambient media and other mediums which encourage direct interaction and seek a measurable response.
* 'Large Scale' refers to the physical size of the ambient item, not the scale of the distribution.

B04 Use of Broadcast.
Direct work using cinema, TV or radio. Entries should demonstrate how the chosen medium led the other direct elements within the work.

B05 Use of Print / Outdoor.
Direct work using Print or Outdoor. This may include, but is not limited to, newspapers, magazines, inserts, trade journals, traditional billboard or poster sites, bus shelters and transit advertising using standard advertising space.
* Augmented billboards to be entered into B03. Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale.

C. Data & Technology

Work driven by the creative use of data or technology which enhanced the customer experience and led to measurable business results.

C01 Data-Driven Direct Strategy.
The application of data and insights which significantly forms the basis of the direct strategy, demonstrating how the data-driven strategy helped to profile customers’ behaviours and segmentation, which ultimately led to successful direct marketing activities.

C02 Data-driven Targeting.
Entries should demonstrate how the interpretation and analysis of data was used to build a targeted communication for a specific audience. This may include, but is not limited, to hyper-targeting, precision targeting, audience mapping and targeting segmentation.

C03 Use of Real-time Data.
Entries should illustrate how real-time data creatively enhanced engagement with a target audience or was utilised in promoting an ongoing relationship with the consumer. Entries should clearly demonstrate how the use of real-time data led to measurable and meaningful results.

C04 Metaverse, New Realities & Emerging Tech.
The creative application of immersive experiences which push the boundaries of technology within direct strategies to engage and strengthen relationships with consumers. Including but not limited to AR, VR, AI, wearable tech and mobile devices, GPS, NFC, facial recognition, voice technology, blockchain technology, gamification, virtual worlds, metaverse and all other emerging platforms. Does not include prototypes of early stage technology.

C05 Gaming.
Celebrating the use of gaming and games to effectively target a specific audience. Entries should demonstrate how the chosen game or gaming platform drove engagement and brand affinity within the target audience.

D. Digital & Social

Digital and social mediums / techniques used as a piece of direct communication for a brand.

D01 Use of Digital Platforms.
Work that uses online platforms or associated technologies to enhance relationships with a specific audience. This may include, but is not limited to, websites, games, search engines, ecommerce platforms, banner ads and instant messaging, mobile apps etc. Does not include prototypes of early stage technology.
* Social media-led work should be entered in D03, D04 and D05.

D02 Use of Mobile.
Targeted communication work delivered through mobile / portable devices such as mobile phones, mobile technology, devices, etc.

D03 Use of Social Platforms.
Work that uses social media, streaming platforms, blogs, wikis, video-sharing sites, hosted services etc. to create and / or enhance relationships with a community / consumers.

D04 Real-time Response.
Targeted social activity which responds to world events, public affairs and other real-world, real-time activity prompting social sharing and a measurable response.

D05 Co-creation & User Generated Content.
Social activity designed to encourage a community / fanbase to contribute or collaborate with a brand initiative through a clear call to action.

E. Excellence in Direct

E01 Copywriting.
Work showcasing outstanding copywriting skill that has led to a successful and measured response.

E02 Art Direction / Design.
Work that showcases the outstanding design of a customer experience that has led to a successful and measured response.

E03 Experience Design.
Work showcasing outstanding design in the customer experience that has led to a successful and measured response.

E04 Launch / Re-launch.
Direct marketing campaigns created to launch or re-launch a product or service on the market. This can also include work aiming to acquire new customers, and reinvigorate lapsed customers.

E05 Personalised Campaigns.
Dynamic work based on consumer data and insight. Including content from websites, videos, emails, social and blogs. Entries should demonstrate how the campaign enriched the user’s experience by driving engagement and achieving results. 

F. Culture & Context

Work which is brought to life through cultural insights and regional context.

F01 Local Brand .
Work for brands which are only distributed in a single locality or market that resonated with a specific target audience.

F02 Challenger Brand.
Brands which have creatively adapted their approach in response to competitor pressure by challenging the status quo to create game-changing work that uses progressive thinking and innovative creativity.

F03 Single-market Campaign.
Work which aired or ran in a single country / region / market. Entries should describe how the campaign was designed for the specific target market.

F04 Social Behaviour.
Work inspired by a specific audience / community, hinging on identifiable social behaviour.

F05 Cultural Insight.
Work inspired by a specific cultural insight stemming from the ideas, customs, values and lifestyles found within a specific region or locality.

F06 Breakthrough on a Budget.
Creative use of modest budgets and/or resources in relation to the market and/or industry to create maximum impact. Entries should demonstrate how fresh insight, smart spending and compelling strategic thinking solved a business problem despite limited resources.

F07 Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility.
Purpose driven work / brand activism which address social, ethical and environmental issues. Entries should demonstrate how the brand’s purpose has created value and impacted communities by connecting customers to culture.

F08 Market Disruption.
Brands that have creatively adapted their strategy in response to local / regional / global issues, embracing new ways of delivering their brand while showing consideration for the consumer.

What does winning work look like?


Madrid Fusion is a gastronomic summit that brings together the best chefs in the world and takes food very seriously. And that’s why they wanted Robert De Niro to star in their next campaign. They didn’t have enough money to pay him, but they had something that is worth even more than money. They asked 5 of the greatest chefs in the world to create a Unique Tasting Menu together, just once and just for one person. Madrid Fusion publicly offered it to Robert De Niro, in exchange for promoting the festival. If he didn’t accept in 48 hours, they would open the proposal to other talents. Against all odds, he did answer saying “I’m in, of course I’m in”, just before the deadline. This proved that the food they promote can pay for Robert De Niro's cache.

2023 Jury President

Chaka Sobhani

Global Chief Creative Officer

Leo Burnett

Other Lions in Engagement

Creative B2B