Top TV: The resilience of television and other media trends from the 2008 Euro Effie awards

Laura James
WARC Online

In a companion piece to her recent analysis of the US Effies, the Media Editor of WARC Online who was one of the EACA Euro Effies 2008 judges, argues that television still delivers for the continent's advertisers.

One of the stated objectives of the 2008 EACA Euro Effies was to reduce the historic dominance of television-based campaigns in this advertising effectiveness competition. 

Whilst there was evidence from the 08 awards' results of progress towards this goal, of the 14 award winners (down from 20 winners in 2007) an estimated 52% of the winners' total media spend was still invested in television. 

This is higher than the average 31.5% per cent of media budgets dedicated to television across the EU 15 (Note: throughout this article we have used figures from WARC's European Advertising and Media Forecast to benchmark media expenditure patterns in the 2008 Euro Effies). All but one of the 2008 winners used television (the same proportion as in 2007). 

The new media gap between the US and European Effies

On average, an estimated 15% of total Euro Effie winners' media budgets were invested on the web - a considerable rise on the EU 15 average of 8.6% and some 85% of this year's winners mentioned the web in their entries, compared to only 60% in 2007.
However, perhaps a more informative comparison is with the recent 2008 US Effies. The dominance of television is apparent in the contests on both sides of the Atlantic. But judging from the awards, online - especially in the form of video sharing websites - has been embraced to a far greater degree in the US as an integral part of the communication strategy. 

In the US, more than half of this year's winners mentioned a role for YouTube in their competition entries. For a few US winners, serendipity arguably played a hand in this: YouTube parodies of TV ads were proudly displayed as evidence of a campaign's success. 

However, a very different picture emerges from the 08 Euro Effies. In the latter there were very few mentions of the use of video sharing on the web and none at all of YouTube. 

Social networking sites did not feature strongly in either the US or the Euro awards. Only five US award-winning advertisers used this genre of website and even fewer in the Euro Effies. Is this a sign of European laggardness in exploiting new formats or of greater discernment in identifying that some digital platforms are not yet advertiser-friendly? Until social networking sites develop more robust and standardized metrics for any value they create for marketers, this question will be keep recurring. 

There was, however, a notable exception to this overall pattern:

  • Intel's Intel Powers Music MySpace Programme (Bronze), the only Euro Effie campaign not to use broadcast TV, allocated its total budget to online with the focus on MySpace. The aim was to engage "tech-savvy digital musicians" who rely on their computers and educate them about Intel's Centrino Duo product. MySpace users were provided with tools to make better music and invited to participate in a competition to create an Intel SuperGroup. As a result, 6 million profile views have been generated and Intel has signed up over 60,000 friends. This was impressive for a small budget campaign.