Cannes study: Big budgets deliver

29 July 2016

LONDON: Although digital media continued to feature strongly in the campaign mix at last month's Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions, there was a notable emphasis this year on campaigns that delivered profit for their brands.

Warc's analysis of the 2016 Awards has found that big brands with big budgets delivered high financial returns from their advertising, and often did so through "traditional" channels.

This development reflected a firm choice by the judges to focus on the effectiveness of campaigns, as explained by this year's Jury President, BBDO's Andrew Robertson, who said: "To win a Gold, you needed to have a significant, profit-based ROI."

Winning entries tended to be those from big brands with big budgets that used multichannel campaign models to deliver "hard metrics", such as profit.

A good example came from the Grand Prix winner, John Lewis. The UK retailer's 2014 "Monty's Christmas" campaign, developed by adam&eveDDB, had at its heart a big budget TV ad that underlined the power of emotion.

By creating the character Monty, a penguin looking for love, the brand devised a campaign film where Monty's human friend makes his dreams come true when he gives Monty a new soft toy penguin to pair up with.

The film featured on both TV and social media platforms while Monty was activated in 3D at events and in-store experiences.

The campaign proved its effectiveness after becoming the most watched Christmas ad of 2014 while Monty trended #1 on Twitter, eventually reaching 568m impressions across all social media platforms. Crucially, John Lewis saw a record increase in sales, with £179m taken in a single week.

"It was one that really epitomised what the Creative Effectiveness awards are," said Colleen Leddy, Head of Communications Strategy at Droga5, and one of the judges.

"It had fantastic results, it showed that it was profitable for the company, but it was also fantastic storytelling and beautiful creative," she added.

This is the sixth year Warc has produced analysis of the Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions and the dominance this year of large-scale marketing activity in part reflects the challenges of measuring the profits delivered by advertising.

Many of the judges commented that the industry needs to develop a better understanding of what effectiveness in advertising means, which ultimately boils down to delivering increased sales or profits for clients.

Join us at Lessons from Cannes on 5 August in London to hear Peter Field and Dom Boyd explain some of the key findings into the link between creativity and effectiveness.

Data sourced from Warc