Last Friday night Mary and I attended the inaugural Digital Advertising Northern Ireland (DANI) awards in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. We had been nominated in 3 different categories; Best Viral, Best Mobile App & Best Online Strategy.
Almost 200 people filled the function room at the awards and we were seated at a table along with Todds Leap and Creative Media. I think we were the only table West of the Bann.
The judges included; Left to right Maurice Mulvenna, Professor of Computer Sciences at University of Ulster; Katrina Doran, Editor of Sugahfix.com; (back) Director Repknight Online Reputation Management, Ruan O'Tiarnaigh, Jill Culbertson, Co-Founder Navajo Talk; John Reid, Managing Director The Gurus Network and (centre- front) Naomh McElhatton, Managing Director Digital Advertising Northern Ireland.
After a great meal and a bit of craic Nuala McKeever took to the stage and managed to slag off most of the people in the room and tell some great jokes. Nuala then proceeded to announce the shorlisted companies. Anticipation filled the air while the noise from the audience decreased.
In our first nomination our Viral advert for the Best Viral featuring my 8 year old son, Lewis, doing a video tour of the Belmore Court & Motel was up against the Belfast Giants singing "All I want for Christmas" and Derry's Ledgendary Campaign. The Giants won and it was hard to complain because Mariah Carey tweeted about it and Sky Sports even featured it. We did achieve Highly Commended status.
The next award we were shortlisted for pitted us against lookaly and another company but it was always gonna be hard to beat the local Lookaly company. there service really is great. Once again we were awards Highly Commended.
At this stage we thought we were going to be the perenial bridesmaids. Our last nomination was for the best Online Strategy. This award reflected the best overall strategy incorporating pay per click, social media, Search engine Optimisation, etc.
I waited nervously on stage with the CIM Ireland and Alzheimers Society while the winner was announced. Finally our name was announced as winner and I was really shocked and just stood there with my Mickey Mouse hands in the air (that's another story).
The judges said "This best overall strategy has been given to a company that has engaged with all the online elements – including continuous developmenf of their website, SEO, PPC, Facebook, YouTube, Ecommerce, online advertising and PR … Showing a clear return on investment making a massive £10 for every £1 spent … direct website revenue now accounts for 40% of overall revenues and they’re listed no.1 on Google."
On collecting the award I was asked for the oppotunity to speak through the microphone. Taking advantage of this I thanked all the team at the Belmore Court & Motel, Bookassist Ireland and my wife Mary. I also thanked Naomh McElhatton for having the courage to organise these types of awards; it really is just the right time for them to happen.
The night went on into the early hours in the morning. As usual it was great to meet old friends and make new ones. Really pleased to meet Grannine Maher and her husband and catching up with Niall McKeown from ION.
We retired to our suite (perk of the hotel industry) and slept well after a very statisfactory night. Spent the next day shopping in Ikea with a sore head. Looking forward to next year already.
It really was an honour to win this award and it was great that Bookassist Ireland were able to help me throughout the years and with the application forms. I look forward to continued success with them in the future.
The DANI Awards 2011 WinnersBest B2B Campaign: Equality Commission (iON)
Best B2C Campaign: Treat Ticket
Best Viral Campaign: Belfast Giants
Best Social Media (SME): Boojum (Mammoth)
Best Social Media (Corporate): Cool FM
Best Mobile App Campaign: Lookaly
Best Web Design: Todds Leap (Creative Media)
Best Online Strategy: Belmore Court & Motel
Business Person of the Year: Russell Moore
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/in-pictures-northern-ireland-digital-advertising-awards-night-16077589.html#ixzz1eHSmDLar