Ancestry, Xaxis and Hilton are among the 2023 Digiday Media Awards winners  

The 2023 Digiday Media Awards featured a rising tide of collaborative brand partnerships and influencer collaborations. This year’s winners also used emerging tech to revitalize the customer experience, prioritizing diversity and inclusivity. 

One program that hit on both themes secured two wins — one for Best Branded Content Program (B2C) and one for Best Custom Advertising — and that was Ancestry and OMD’s ‘A Dream Delivered’ campaign. The company wanted to use its network to shed light on the generational impact slavery has on U.S. families and the importance of acknowledging the country’s past. With this, Ancestry partnered with Paramount to tell one man’s story of being born into slavery and torn from his family with the hopes of later being reunited with his loved ones, which, unfortunately, never happened. Ancestry leveraged its collection of historical records to rekindle those lost connections and bring that man’s wish to fruition. 

The next winner scored high marks for its use of emerging technology. Xaxis and Mediacom won Best Digital Product Innovation for their work with Tele2 AB, a multi-billion dollar Swedish telecommunications operator. To overcome a lack of identifiers in the digital audio space, Xaxis developed an integrated audio strategy with a single point of entry to premium, scalable and cost-efficient audio inventory that enables seamless activation, omnichannel synergy and is bespoke by design. As audio increasingly gained traction with younger audiences, Xaxis had the opportunity to test Xaxis Audio and, at the behest of Mediacom and Tele2 AB, produce an AI tool — Copilot — to move the needle on performance. This innovative product has shifted budgets between line items and effected nearly 200 intelligent optimizations, with the engineering team fine-tuning the algorithm even further for an increased focus on device optimization. 

One winner boasting an innovative partnership is Merkle and Hilton Pupadvisor, securing the Best Use of Audience Insights award. Hilton recognized the increase in dog ownership across the U.K. during the pandemic, with more than one-third of people over 18 owning a dog as of June 2021. With this, they saw a shift in how people wanted to travel — they wanted their pets to accompany them. Given that a large number of U.K. hotels offer dog-friendly stays, including a bed, bowl and even a specialized menu, Hilton partnered with Tripadvisor, which identified nearly half of its users were dog owners and that nearly 65% of them posted twice a week on social media about their pets. Together, the two companies launched the world’s first travel agency “run” by dogs, Pupadvisor. This platform is an online hub for inspiration and planning trips with four-legged friends. The site features Hilton’s range of U.K. dog-friendly hotels and content from a dog’s point of view. The partnership proved a great way to drive ad engagement and improve brand metrics among a specific travel audience, with all formats exceeding targets. 

Explore all the winners of the 2023 Digiday Media Awards below — including a quick rundown of the campaigns and insights into why they won and what marketing teams can learn from them. Download the complete guide here.

Full 2023 Digiday Media Awards winners list below:

Best Ad Tech Platform

  • DeepIntent

Best Brand Partnership – B2B

  • Indeed with essenceMediacom and Insider – Talent Insider

Best Brand Partnership – B2C

  • Frito Lay North America, OMD & Amazon- Launch Cheetos Duster

Best Branded Content Program – B2B

  • Cisco and WP Creative Group – Hybrid Is How

Best Branded Content Program – B2C

  • OMD & Ancestry – Launch of “A Dream Delivered”

Best Commerce Strategy

  • Canidae & January Digital – OOH Ads for Eco-Friendly Refills

Best Contextual Targeting Offering

  • AccuWeather & The Vitamin Shoppe:  Summer Sips Campaign

Best Custom Advertising

  • OMD & Ancestry – Launch of “A Dream Delivered”

Best Digital Product Innovation

  • Xaxis and Mediacom elevate Tele2AB to new heights

Best Editorial Package

  • Deaths in the Family – Insider
  • Harvard Business Review

Best Editorial Video Series

  • Ugly for a Reason – Birkenstock & New York Times Advertising

Best Event

  • Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool NYC 2022

Best First-Party Data Strategy

  • PepsiCo Media

Best Newsletter

  • ESPN: 2023 NBA Rundown Newsletter

Best Podcast

  • Harvard Business Review

Best Publisher Platform

  • Wurl: Data-driven Solutions for CTV Distribution & Marketing

Best Story

  • The Markup: Meta Receives Medical Info from Hospital Sites

Best Subscription or Membership Product

  • Tempt to laugh – VGTV

Best use of Audience Insights

  • Merkle & Hilton Pupadvisor

Best use of Emerging Tech

  • Playwire – Lunchables Metaverse Takeover

Best use of Social

  • Twitch

Best use of Video

  • Nature Valley and Aki Technologies, the Media Division of Inmar Intelligence

Best Video Distribution and Programming Strategy

  • CBS Sports x Bonobos Presents Decades of Drip

Best Video Platform

  • STN Video

Content Studio of the Year

  • T Brand Studio

Editorial Team of the Year

  • Grid 

Media Brand of the Year

  • Bustle

Media Company of the Year


Most Engaged Community

  • The Dad

Video Team of the Year

  • PinkNews

Interested in entering the Digiday Media Awards? Sign up to receive deadline reminders, entry tips, category recommendations and more.

More in Awards

The NFL, Nickelodeon, Food Network and Harvard Business Review are Digiday Media Awards finalists

Integration of emerging technology, audience engagement, unique content formats, branding and cross-promotion emerged as significant themes among this year’s Digiday Media Awards shortlist. With publishers and brands looking to reinforce their positions as industry leaders, they are also emphasizing quantifiable metrics and real-world impact to highlight the success of their initiatives. In the Best Use […]

PepsiCo, Innovid and Paramount+ are 2024 Digiday Video and TV Awards winners

This year’s Digiday Video and TV Awards winners found success with emotional stories and meaningful experiences that foster connections and drive brand affinity. This storytelling extended to social video campaigns, emerging technologies and offerings to reach wider audiences with compelling content. For instance, in the Best Ad Tech Innovation category, PepsiCo won for using enhanced […]

Ring, Party City, 22squared, GSD&M, Pizza Hut, Carhartt, January Digital and Movers + Shakers are 2024 Digiday Media Buying and Planning Awards winners

This year’s Digiday Media Buying and Planning Awards winners found success with data-driven, personalized and inclusive campaigns across the dynamic media landscape. Agencies and brands are increasingly leveraging emerging technologies and influencer partnerships to amplify brand messaging, engage target audiences and drive impactful results.  In the new Best Use of AI category, home security leader […]