Strong creative campaigns deliver best results

17 June 2010

LONDON: Advertising campaigns based around particularly strong creative ideas typically generate the most impressive payback, a study has found.

The IPA, the trade body, partnered with Thinkbox, which represents the television industry in the UK, to ascertain the impact of creativity.

Some 175 campaigns which had received major creative awards from respected sources worldwide, as collated by The Gunn Report, which collects these statistics every year, were assessed.

The featured case studies were also all drawn from entries to the IPA Effectiveness Awards between 2000 and 2008.

One of the factors emphasised by the research was effectiveness – a concept defined in terms of boosting market share, sales, profit and loyalty.

Efficiency was another metric that informed the IPA/Thinkbox figures, in order to precisely establish the potential ROI from advertising.

This required measuring the market share gains per percentage point of “excess share of voice", or the proportion of category communications held by a brand over and above its market share.

Overall, the campaigns that had been rewarded with the greatest number of accolades for their creative work were 11 times more successful in delivering positive results in these areas.

As 74% of the creative award scores contained in the Gunn Report were for TV spots, this was said to confirm the medium's vital place in the media mix.

The report's other findings included the fact that 44% of the creative awards were handed out to campaigns that were essentially “emotional” in character, while just 19% were “rational”.

This may explain the effectiveness of using TV as a promotional tool, as this channel is often regarded as enabling advertisers to forge a powerful connection with viewers.

Elsewhere, when striking visuals were combined with a meaningful excess share of voice, the benefits to brand owners were generally found to be the most substantial.

Indeed, even though campaigns officially lauded for their excellent creative credentials often lacked this kind of support, they still provided better results than competing efforts that did not win awards.

"With the same level of excess share of voice, creatively awarded campaigns would have driven twice as much market share growth as non-awarded ones," the study added.

Moreover, commercials which stood out creatively helped products achieve considerable levels of "fame" or "buzz" among consumers, argued to be a hallmark of the best ads.

On average, 35% of shoppers agreed they "highly liked" campaigns featured in the Gunn Report, compared with 20% who said the same for campaigns that did not attain such a status.

David Brennan, research and strategy director at Thinkbox, said: "It is tricky to take something intangible and subjective like creativity and show its tangible results."

"We knew anecdotally that strong creativity leads to success, but to finally prove the link should be great news for advertisers and their agencies."

Some of the brands included in the study are BT, Budweiser, Dairy Milk, Virgin Atlantic and Volkswagen.

Peter Field, a marketing consultant who previously co-authored Marketing in the Era of Accountability with Les Binet, produced the report.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff