Creativity delivers results

17 June 2011

LONDON: Advertising campaigns boasting strong creative credentials tend to outperform more generic alternatives on a range of metrics, a study published by the IPA has found.

Its research addressed 367 for-profit case studies submitted to the IPA Effectiveness Awards from 1996-2010 and also featuring in the Gunn Report, tracking which brands receive high-profile creative awards each year, or an immediate precursor.

In all, 18% of the featured IPA submissions were also listed in the Gunn Report, and this group was compared with the 82% not achieving such a status in the study.

"The analysis shows that the benefit of creativity increases dramatically as the budget rises (and can be completely negated if it is cut too far)," the study said.

One part of the report focused on a metric called "extra share of voice" (ESOV), which is established by subtracting a brand's market share from its share of category communications.

The net difference between these figures stood at 14.8% for campaigns that did not receive recognition for their creative content, and 6.1% where they did.

This suggests the former group of campaign were typically backed by greater media spend than campaigns listed in the Gunn Report.

"[This] represents a very considerable disadvantage for the creatively-awarded campaigns," the study said.

In proof of this, an ESOV score of ten points typically generates 1.3 points of market share growth per year irrespective of perceived creative merit, meaning financial support can make a big difference.

More broadly, campaign efficiency levels appear to be in decline, as the average case study across the entire panel saw an average market share gain of 1.4 points before 2004, and 1.2 points thereafter.

More specifically, the campaigns applauded for their creative success yielded 5.4 points of market share growth for every ten points of extra share of voice.

Ratings here actually improved from 3.5 points prior to 2004 to 6.2 points during the following period.

This beat a norm of 0.8 points where ideas received no formal accolades, a figure standing at 1.3 points before 2004 and 0.5 points after this date.

Variations emerged by category, as fast-moving consumer goods brands typically accrued just 0.3 points of market share per ten points of ESOV, versus 2.5 points in other sectors.

These scores hit 2.8 points and 6.6 respectively among FMCG campaigns in the Gunn Report, but slipped to 0.2 points and 1.1 points if this was not the case.

Looking at overall market share gains across the board, the study revealed the creatively-awarded campaigns posted a 5.5% lift, compared with 5.2% for the other segment under consideration.

However, if the budget behind creative campaigns - often leveraging more emotional components - in terms of extra share of voice matched that given to rivals, this amount would reach 10.1%.

When monitoring broader business effects, like sales growth, price elasticity, loyalty, penetration and short-term gains, the research found the Gunn Report panel led the way again.

A 69% majority of standout creative efforts delivered at least one positive result here, falling to 62% concerning less compelling executions, and a gap that grew where ESOV totals were lower.

Some 48% of creative campaigns enhanced brand "fame", defined as online and offline buzz, sharing and similar responses, only holding true for 25% of the more functional equivalents.

The study also revealed IPA papers scooping awards recorded by the Gunn Report deployed 6.2 channels on average, versus 5.1 for their generic counterparts.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff