Galactic victory: Martin Walthert is "Advertiser of the Year 2020

The jury and online voting have decided: Martin Walthert, Head of Marketing at Digitec Galaxus, is the new "Advertiser of the Year. The Zurich native succeeds Petra Dreyfus, Co-CEO of Wirz Communications. The "Egon" statue was presented to him at the Best of Swiss Web Award Night on Thursday evening at Samsung Hall Zurich.

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Martin Walthert accepts the Egon. (Image: Johannes Hapig/Advertising week m&k)

In an election that was exciting right up to the last second, Martin Walthert, Chief Marketing Officer of Digitec Galaxus, prevailed over fellow nominees Andrea Bison, Thjnk Zurich, Matthias Kiess, TBWA\Zurich and Tobias Zehnder, Webrepublic.

After 1977, 1985 and 2005, this is the fourth time that a "non-agency" non-advertiser has won the most important personal award in the Swiss communications industry. Martin Walthert has been working for Digitec Galaxus since 2006. Today, he heads a marketing team of around 70 and has played a key role in building the strong brand of Switzerland's leading online retailer. The Digitec and Galaxus campaigns are very popular with the Swiss population. Digitec, for example, advertises with genuine - even negative - customer reviews, while Galaxus has been attracting attention for years with spots that skillfully parody other advertising genres.

The company implements the majority of its advertising measures in-house instead of relying on an agency. Together with Creative Director Flurin Spring, Walthert demonstrates courage time and again: not only in the creation of unconventional, humorous campaigns, but also in the strategy of consistently relying on branding and, in the age of performance marketing, also on classic advertising channels.


Award with protection concept

The new "Advertiser of the Year" received his "Egon" statue on October 22 at the Best of Swiss Web Awards Night in Zurich's Samsung Hall. The "Egon" statue was presented to Martin Walthert in a festive setting in front of around 450 guests. Predecessor Petra Dreyfus paid tribute to the CMO of Digitec Galaxus in her laudation: "Martin, you show how brands can be successfully managed with independence, consistency and courage."

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Petra Dreyfus, "Advertiser of the Year 2019," delivers the laudation to the newly crowned "Advertiser of the Year 2020." (Image: Screenshot)

In from the start

The 42-year-old Walthert grew up in Zurich-Wollishofen, went to Kanti Wiedikon and then studied journalism at the University of Zurich. While still a student, he helped out at Digitec, among other side jobs, building PCs and using newsletters as an early form of content marketing. Immediately after graduation, he joined the online retailer and has remained there to this day. He lives with his wife and two children in Kilchberg. His biggest hobby, besides hiking, is being a singer and board member of the Bach Collegium Zürich.


Galaxus campaigns are known for their irony, as well as for taking aim at other advertising. Even in the crisis spring of 2020, when many advertisers were relying on thank-you messages, Galaxus wanted to realize something fitting, with (self-)irony, but without making fun of the situation. The spot with CMO and "Advertiser of the Year" Walthert was a success and now counts almost 1.2 million views on YouTube.

More links:

  • The portrait of the nomination of Martin Walthert can be found at here.
  • The portrait of the freshly elected "Advertiser of the Year" with the Digitec-Galaxus campaigns can be found at here.
  • The list of all previous "Advertisers of the Year" can be found at here.
  • Interview with Martin Walthert on the in-house marketing department of Digitec Galaxus in Werbewoche (March 2019) you will find here.

In Advertising Week 10/2020, there will be detailed information on the 2020 "Advertiser of the Year," the campaigns and the election, as well as the Hall of Fame.

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About the Award: 

Werbewoche has been awarding the "Advertiser of the Year" since 1977. Since 2001, the winner has received the "Egon" designed by Zurich artist Max Grüter. The four candidates were nominated by the jury of experts. The final decision as to who won the title was then made 50 percent by the readers of Werbewoche via online voting and 50 percent by the jury. Each member of the jury was allowed to cast one vote. As the organizer of the award, Werbewoche itself abstained from voting. 

The expert jury:

The "Advertiser of the Year" jury is made up of former "Advertisers of the Year", representatives from French-speaking Switzerland, nominees from the past two years, as well as personalities from academia and the media. The 2020 jury members (in alphabetical order):

  • Alexander Jaggy (Thjnk Zurich)
  • Anja Janoschka (HLSU)
  • Curdin Janett (entrepreneur, content and form)
  • Danica Zeier (ZHdK)
  • Daniel Zuberbühler (Sir Mary)
  • Dennis Lück (Jung von Matt/Limmat)
  • Gabriel Mauron (Havas Genève)
  • Heike Rawitzer (HWZ)
  • Livio Dainese (Wirz)
  • Michael Kamm (Agence Trio)
  • Pascal Deville (Kind regards)
  • Peter Brönnimann (Publicis)
  • Petra Dreyfus (Wirz)
  • Regula Bührer Fecker (Rod Communication)
  • Thomas Wildberger (Publicis)

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