One Show: Raja Rajamannar wins 2021 CMO Pencil

One Show
(Raj Rajamannar)

This year’s awards season officially comes to a close, as a jury of leading global CMOs unanimously selected Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and President, Healthcare Business at Mastercard, as the winner of The One Show 2021 CMO Pencil, honoring the brand marketer behind the world’s single most impactful idea on a brand’s business from the past year.

Rajamannar received the prestigious award for “True Name,” created by McCann New York with Hungry Man Productions Los Angeles and JSM Music New York, one of the top winners at this year’s show.  In addition to the CMO Pencil, the work won two Best of Discipline awards (in IP & Products and Public Relations), eight Gold Pencils, three Silvers and two Merits at The One Show this year, and was the world’s second-highest ranked entry in The One Show 2021 Creative Rankings.  

McCann collaborated with Mastercard on the creation of the True Name card, which allows nonbinary and transgender people to have a credit card bearing their chosen name, rather than their birth name.

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“I am so proud of how Mastercard is committed to real actions that positively impact people’s lives,” said Rajamannar.  “The idea for True Name came right out of the everyday life experience of a creative at McCann, Lucas Crigler.  McCann presented this idea to us which is so simple, and so human, and so profound, and Cheryl Guerin, Head of NA, Marketing & Communications, boldly ran with it.  It was not an easy path but the powerful truth behind it is what made it happen.  

“We brought this initiative to our partners including BMO, Citibank, Republic Bank and bunq amongst others, and it is now expanding even further- our European colleagues are launching True Name in 30 countries. True Name is a global movement, with the scale and impact to help improve the lives of transgender and nonbinary people around the world. And, I hope that the success of True Name helps to create more awareness and allyship among us all, and inspire other creatives, and other organizations, to do the same,” he said.

The CMO Pencil jury met online on July 20 to discuss the 22 highest-scoring entries — all of them One Show 2021 Best of Discipline and multiple Gold Pencil winners, as determined by the 250 agency and brand creative leaders from 42 countries on this year’s One Show jury.  

They selected Rajamannar as the CMO responsible for the one piece of work out of the 17,719 pieces entered this year from 65 countries that they felt had the greatest impact on moving a brand forward.

“It was an honor to judge The One Show CMO Pencil,” said Morgan Flatley, SVP, Chief Marketing and Digital Customer Experience Officer, McDonald’s USA.  “The opportunity to discuss and debate with peers about great creativity and courage in the industry was so fun and inspiring.”

She added: “Our decision to select ‘True Name’ was unanimous.  The campaign was courageous.  It is a stunning example of great marketing, grounded in a consumer insight or problem to solve, that drove growth for the business and accelerated much needed industry wide change. I applaud Raja Rajamannar’s bravery!”

“All of these top One Show 2021 winners under consideration featured an extraordinary level of creativity,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, The One Club.  “The jury unanimously felt ‘True Name’ was an extraordinarily brave campaign with a bold stance that will be remembered for its impact on society and driving a brand’s business.  We congratulate Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard and the team at McCann for this prestigious win”.

This marks the second year in a row, and third time in the past four years, that McCann helped the CMO of a global client win this prestigious honor.  Past CMO Pencil winners include Kathleen Hall, Chief Brand Officer, Microsoft for Xbox “Changing the Game” by McCann New York; David Rubin, CMO, The New York Times for “Truth is Worth It” from Droga5 New York, and Stephen Tisdale, CMO, State Street Global Advisors for “Fearless Girl”, also by McCann New York. 

In accordance with The One Show judging rules, jury members abstain from voting on and discussing work done by or for their own company.  
The CMO Pencil is just one of the organization’s initiatives to address and recognize the fast-growing brand-side community and their internal creative teams.  This year marked the first time The One Show had a standalone In-House discipline and dedicated jury of brand-side peers to judge in-house creative work.  

In addition, the club will soon announce dates for its second WITHIN: The In-House Creative Conference.  The new event addresses a void in the market for a forum to discuss issues specific to brand-side creative teams and cultures, examining the inner dynamics of the very best in-house creative departments with sessions by some of the most acclaimed brand and marketing leaders.