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Top Marketers & Their Best Campaigns

The winners of The Storyteller Awards are here. Join us in celebrating the creators and campaigns that set the bar for brand excellence.

Earlier this year, PhotoShelter launched The Storyteller Awards to honor excellence in visual storytelling. We invited nominations from our creative community and worked with our internal judges to recognize innovative teams and the campaigns they bring to life.

Now, we’re announcing the winners! Join us in celebrating the creators and campaigns that set the bar for brand excellence.

Learn more about the winners and see all of the finalists below.

20+ Standout Marketing Campaigns & Creators to Inspire Your Visual Storytelling

The Campaign:

Explore Seattle Southside’s ‘Curiously Wonderful’ campaign, led by Senior VP of Marketing & Communications Ashley Comar and the One Twenty Three West team, rebrands the region as a unique Pacific Northwest travel destination. Launched in March 2023, the campaign uses digital and traditional marketing channels, including social media, influencer outreach, public transportation ads, print, and a new website, to highlight Seattle Southside’s quirky and unexpected attractions, encouraging travelers to explore beyond typical tourist spots.

The Impact:

  • Media coverage: 296 published articles and exposure in 7 national and international outlets, leading to 933 million impressions, a 115% increase YOY.
  • Social media growth: 931% increase in social media audience growth across multiple platforms, along with an 85.6% increase in social impressions and a 34.2% rise in post link clicks.
  • Visitor engagement: 13.5% year-over-year increase in website users, reflecting increased visitor interest in Seattle Southside’s offerings.

Meet the finalists:

Under Armour 🏅
Under Armour’s ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign by Droga5 challenged stereotypes and redefined the brand for women, boosting perceptions as “stylish” by 900% and “empowering” by 730%. This led to a 28% increase in women’s sales and a 42% rise in web traffic, highlighting the campaign’s success in shifting brand perception and driving growth.

Remembering Wildlife 🏅
The Remembering Wildlife series, created by photographer Margot Raggett MBE, features donated images from top wildlife photographers. In the past year, it raised £20,000 in eight minutes and launched the Chobe Elephant Festival. Since its start, the series has raised over £1.2 million for conservation in 32 countries, selling more than 49,000 books. With support from celebrities and the public, Remembering Wildlife exemplifies remarkable achievements in wildlife conservation.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock 🏅
The Trojan Guarantee, led by Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Carrie Phillips, helps incoming students earn a bachelor’s degree with zero tuition cost. Targeted communication and list-based ads at UA Little Rock boosted webpage traffic by 283%, ad views by 37%, and gained significant media coverage. Along with a half-off scholarship for all freshmen, this initiative shows the university’s commitment to accessible, debt-free education.

e2open 🏅
In early 2023, e2open and their Head of Global Demand Gen and ABM, Amanda Dyson, launched an account-based marketing program to boost demand and revenue. The initiative created a customer-first experience, resulting in 24 personalized campaigns, thousands of contacts reached, 21 new opportunities, and a $13.3M pipeline, exceeding goals by 33%. This strategic focus helped e2open stand out by addressing customer challenges and providing relevant experiences.

The Campaign:

Hagerstown Community College’s student influencer program offers a fun and creative way to connect with students on social media through authentic storytelling. By featuring posts made by real students, HCC is building a library of trendy, relatable content that effectively showcases the campus as a desirable place to be. Tapping into the creativity and reach of student influencers has resulted in a significant increase in follower growth and engagement from current and prospective students alike.

The Impact:

  • Follower growth: #1 in follower growth in Q1 of 2024 among other 2-year and 4-year Maryland schools.
  • Social media impressions & reach: Top 10 for Instagram Reels impression rates among Maryland schools (a 98.1% Reels impression rate vs. the industry average of 58.5%). Top 10 for Instagram Reels reach rates among Maryland schools (a 29.7% Reel reach rate vs. the industry average of 16.7%).
  • Authenticity & creativity: With real students spearheading content creation for HCC, prospective students can see campus life from an authentic point of view. This approach to storytelling allows student ambassadors to get creative, hop on social media trends, and highlight their experiences at college.

Meet the finalists:

Washington Commanders 🏅
For the 2024 NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders focused on capturing the story of their draft pick, Jayden Daniels, and the coaching staff during a time of new ownership and coaching changes. They had photographers at the draft and in the war room to document Daniels’ journey, including portraits, family celebrations, and more.

Liquid Death 🏅
Liquid Death’s ‘Pure Sugar’ campaign poked fun at popular soda brands by creating a fake product and showing models eating spoonfuls of sugar to highlight how unhealthy sugary sodas are. The models then expressed their dislike for sugary drinks, promoting Liquid Death‘s flavored sparkling water as a healthier choice. This bold campaign grabbed attention and reinforced Liquid Death’s unique, provocative brand identity.

VIOLETxSTUDIOS & Carolina Hurricanes 🏅
In February 2024, the Carolina Hurricanes introduced their first Black Excellence Jersey, designed by artist Mike Jones at VIOLETxSTUDIOS. Inspired by Tupac Shakur’s poem, “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” the jersey represents overcoming challenges and finding beauty in the journey. This was part of the Hurricanes’ campaign to honor Black History Month and celebrate the work of Black artists.

CrossFit 🏅
The marketing campaign behind the 2023 CrossFit Games showcased real-life transformations by CrossFit affiliates and coaches, highlighting their global impact. Using Instagram and YouTube for authentic storytelling, the campaign created strong emotional connections and widespread engagement. This multi-platform strategy boosted audience reach and reinforced CrossFit’s global brand.

The Campaign:

At the BNP Paribas Open, Jared Wickerham, Andrew Wevers, and a team of freelance photographers and editors used PhotoShelter AI to automate the tagging and sorting of more than 160k images. On each day of this two-week event, images were efficiently organized by player names, match details, sponsors, and more. This automation and a robust network setup streamlined photo management and delivery, boosting productivity and improving the event workflow.

The Impact:

  • Productivity soared: 171 matches covered, 300k images created, narrowed down to 160k+ edits.
  • AI-powered workflow: Leveraged PhotoShelter’s AI facial recognition tool, PeopleID, to auto-tag players, and Smart Galleries to organize images for each match. As edited files were uploaded, they were auto-tagged and sorted, providing easy access to content for the social and editorial teams. 
  • Streamlined content delivery to athletes: This year, the BNP Paribas Open developed their own app using PhotoShelter’s API to seamlessly send content to players. By assigning a number to the player’s AI tag in PhotoShelter, their team can find and identify the right players to send content to automatically.

Shoutout to this entire team:

Jared Wickerham –
Andrew Wevers –
Katelyn Mulcahy –
Kathryn Riley –
Hannah Foslien –
Jonathan Moore –
Nick Grace –
Luke Schlaifer –
Jessie Alcheh –

Meet the finalists:

Smithsonian Institution 🏅
The Smithsonian Institution has committed to an AI initiative that uses machine learning to manage collections, enhancing accessibility and efficiency while addressing bias. By leveraging AI for image recognition and natural language processing, they promote responsible practices with AI Values Statements and Dataset Cards, fostering innovation in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM).

Canadian Football League (CFL) 🏅
The Canadian Football League (CFL) has implemented AI technology in its broadcasts and fan engagement tools. In partnership with TSN and Genius Sports, the CFL now offers augmented live streams with real-time player tracking, speed measurements, and route analysis, providing fans with immersive experiences and enriching interactions.

Meet Kristen:

Kristen Hess Deo, Communications Manager at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, excels at connecting with volunteers, donors, and clients, fostering trust through authentic interviews. She honors clients’ dignity and needs, creating safe, valued spaces. Her Client Pledge shows her commitment to ethical storytelling, empowering clients to share their experiences with strength and resilience, driving positive change.

Why she deserves recognition:

  • Advocacy & understanding: Kristen is often regarded as someone who promotes a sense of trust and understanding, building bridges between those who seek to give and those who rely on Second Harvest’s services.
  • Kindness, care, & client satisfaction: If a client is not in a position to share their story, Kristen prioritizes their immediate needs, ensuring they receive food assistance first. This kind of support and respect is crucial for clients’ overall sense of security and empowerment within the organization.
  • Rave reviews: Some of her colleagues have described her as “one of the most joyful people I have ever had the good fortune to know,” “an excellent team player and supportive of others,” and someone who “exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling to drive positive change and inspire community engagement.”

Meet the finalists:

Water Mission 🏅
Water Mission, a Christian engineering non-profit, builds sustainable water solutions globally. Since 2001, they have helped over 8 million people in 61 countries. Their work extends beyond water to include education, health, and economic opportunities, showing their deep commitment to service and compassion.

Brayden Williams (Purdue for Life Foundation) 🏅
Brayden Williams, Photographer/Videographer for The Purdue for Life Foundation, has built a supportive community of photographers on X (Twitter). He highlights others’ work, encourages sharing, and inspires creativity and networking through social media prompts and challenges.

The Association of Pickleball Players 🏅
The Association of Pickleball Players (APP) promotes pickleball across all skill levels and age groups. Their video series, “Pickleball Stories,” presented by AARP, showcases individuals using pickleball for physical rehabilitation, community engagement, and personal well-being, highlighting the sport’s inclusive and positive impact.

Candace Johnson (Prairie View A&M University) 🏅
Candace Johnson, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at Prairie View A&M University, led a successful rebranding campaign with the tagline “Excellence Lives Here.” Her creative storytelling integrated the university’s history, strengthening its brand identity, increasing visibility, and engaging the community.

Meet Paul:

Paul Newby, the Wisconsin School of Business’s in-house photographer, is renowned for his storytelling and photojournalism expertise. For seven years, he has connected with students, faculty, donors, and staff, known for his kindness and ability to make subjects comfortable. Paul’s dedication to mentoring and learning underscores his significant impact and value to the institution.

Why he deserves recognition:

  • Hard work & dedication: Paul captures and processes thousands of shots every year for the Wisconsin School of Business, leading visual storytelling efforts for marketing materials, print magazines, social media, headshots, event photography and more.
  • An authentic role model: Paul is regarded as a fantastic mentor and an inspiration to those around him. “He’s what they mean when people say, ‘the genuine article.’ That’s Paul.”
  • Shining star: Paul’s team told us, “We are so, so lucky to get to work with, learn from, and collaborate with a storyteller like Paul. He is a fantastic photographer, but more importantly, a really remarkable guy.”

Meet the finalists:

Craig Schreiner (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) 🏅
Craig Schreiner, UW-Whitewater’s photographer and writer for over a decade, engages the community with compassion. His thousands of photos capture campus life with technical skill and heartfelt storytelling. Craig mentors students and highlights diverse voices and achievements in his work.

Erick W. Rasco (Sports Illustrated) 🏅
Erick W. Rasco, Director of Photo Operations at Sports Illustrated, elevates the brand and SI’s photo department with his innovative and creative approach to photography. His dedication to compelling images and team upliftment strengthens Sports Illustrated’s legacy.

Dakota Williams (University of Florida, Division of Student Life Marketing & Strategic Communications) 🏅
Dakota Williams, new to the UF team, has raised photography standards and workflow efficiency. He guides student photographers, values learning, and brings a sports background’s eye for detail, professionalism, and speed to improve social media content quality and engagement.

Annice Lyn & Aisha Nazar (Women Photographers Malaysia) 🏅
Annice Lyn and Aisha Nazar are key figures in Women Photographers Malaysia (WPM). Annice, a photojournalist and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, has covered major events like the Olympics and promotes gender equality. Aisha, a commercial and documentary photographer, empowers women through projects with Sony and AirAsia. Together, they co-founded WPM to support women in photography, videography, and filmmaking through leadership and creative initiatives.

Ready to transform your team’s creative workflow?