The 2021 AICP Next Awards debuted on Wednesday, July 28th, recognizing creative excellence in new and emerging media.

Appropriately, a cutting-edge campaign that put virtual fans in the seats for NBA games, creating a global sensation while driving sales for its sponsor, was proclaimed as the Most Next winner.

Chosen from all the winners in the Next Awards categories, and serving as its Best in Show, the Most Next Award was presented to Courtside for Michelob ULTRA, in collaboration with Microsoft and the NBA. Created by FCB New York, it was produced by the design and production studio Ntropic. Courtside also won in the categories of Digital Experiences, Experiential and Real-Time Engagement.

Courtside utilized Microsoft technology to allow Michelob ULTRA drinkers a chance to win virtual courtside “tickets” that would place them alongside the digital ‘fans’ seen on video boards that surrounded the courts in the NBA’s pandemic bubble in Orlando, where all of the 2020 season games were played. These virtual fan boards were peppered with celebrities, former NBA stars and other notable names, along with everyday fans. The Courtside effort generated extensive media coverage and social media engagement, while also boosting ULTRA sales by double digits.

Michelob Ultra – Michelob Ultra Courtside

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The AICP Next Awards recognizes work in 11 categories: Branded Content & Entertainment, Creative Data, Digital Experiences, Experiential, Influencer, Innovation, Purpose Driven, Real Time Engagement, Social, Web Film and Integrated Campaign. The Next Awards Judging Chair—Tiffany Rolfe, Global Chief Creative Officer at R/GA, who repeated her role from the 2020 Next Awards—and the Jury Presidents from each category, along with this year’s Curator At Large, chose this year’s Most Next from among these category winners.

Serving as AICP Next Awards Jury Presidents for 2021, along with their respective categories, were Lauren Connolly, Global Executive Creative Director BBDO (Integrated Campaign); Scott Donaton, SVP, Head of Marketing, Hulu (Branded Content & Entertainment);  Bianca Guimaraes, Partner and Executive Creative Director, Mischief, (Real Time Engagement); Piper Hickman, Executive Creative Director (Web Film); Erin Lynch, SVP, Executive Creative Director, R/GA (Digital Experiences); Marc Maleh, MD, Technology and Emerging Experiences, Huge Inc. (Creative Data); Allen Mask, Managing Partner,  CōLab /Westcap (Innovation); Nina Mishkin, Director, North America Creative Strategy, Snapchat. (Social); Bill Oberlander, Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director Oberland (Purpose Driven); James Robinson, Chief Creative Officer North America, Momentum Worldwide (Experiential); Bekah Sirrine Director, Brand Creative, Airbnb (Influencer); and Mike Woods, ECD/Head of Immersive, m ss ng p eces (Curator At Large).

The AICP Next Awards is part of the AICP’s suite of juried competitions, which also includes the AICP Post Awards, presented on July 27, and the AICP Show: The Art & Technique of the Commercial, which will be presented on July 29. As with the AICP Show, the Next Awards honorees are preserved in The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film’s state-of-the-art archives for future generations to study and are available for use or exhibition by the museum’s curators. All individual works, and each year’s shows in their entirety, can be viewed exclusively at the AICP Award Archive site.

A showcase of AICP Next Awards winners can be seen here.

The winner of the Most Next honor directs a $5,000 grant from the AICP Foundation to an institution of their choosing. FCB New York has directed the grant to Move United. Founded in 1956, Move United’s vision is that every person, regardless of ability, has an equal opportunity to participate in sports and recreation in their community. Move United has been redefining disability by providing year-round sports and recreation opportunities to people with a wide range of disabilities, offering more than 70 different adaptive sports. Through its national network of more than 200 community member organizations, Move United serves over 100,000 individuals with disabilities of all ages each year.

 The opening titles and graphics for the AICP Next Awards were created by Ingenuity and Cosmo Street, with a score by RNDM ORDR. The AICP Next Awards Curators films were edited by Whitehouse Post, with music by MusicBed and audio mix by Heard City. The sponsor reel screened prior to the Next Awards was created by The Colonie, with music by Noisefloor.

Sponsors help make the AICP Awards – including the AICP Next Awards -  possible. AICP Partners and Supporting Partners, who support all AICP events throughout the year, are: CAPS – A Cast & Crew Entertainment CompanyUniversal Studios and Wrapbook (Partners); and Film Offices of The Hawaiian IslandsMusicbed + FilmsupplySony Pictures Studios; and The TEAM Companies (Supporting Partners). The 2021 AICP Awards Sponsors include Aspen TravelAwardCoreBMGPM and BMG BespokeThe ColonieColor LabCosmo StreetHeard CityHello WorldInternational Digital Centre – IDCIstros MediaIngenuityKodakLittle Black BookNoisefloorRNDM ORDERThe ROOTSS'wellSHOOT Magazine | SHOOT Online,  Source | SHOTS | Slate and Whitehouse Post.