ASIA: Some of the most effective marketing campaigns in Asia demonstrate a purposeful remit as well as a commercial one, a Warc report has said.

The 2017 Asian Strategy Report, based on an analysis of entries to the 2016 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, noted that a quarter of the winning entries had been purpose-led campaigns, but added that purpose in itself was not enough – there needs to be a clear link between the brand and the social cause it espouses. (Non-subscribers can download a summary here.)

"Before the shortlist stage, I saw a lot of brands trying to tap into some cultural tensions or social issues," noted Andreas Krasser, Head of Strategy & Innovation at DDB Group Hong Kong and one of the judges.

"While the issues themselves were worthy and the executions were not bad," he added, "there was often a disconnect between the brand and its category and what kind of cause it was trying to support or push."

Another criticism was that many brands were being too tactical and short-term in their approach and the judges evinced respect for those brands that had committed to a particular cause as part of a long-term marketing strategy.

The Gold-winning Future Child for Unilever-owned Lifebuoy, a sequel to its Help a Child Reach Five campaign, was a case in point.

"It takes two to three years to implement programmes like this," observed Tracey Hamilton, founder and CEO, Lady Group, and a member of the judging panel. "So you know how long it's taken Unilever to get to the stage where they are able to measure effectiveness."

Purposeful strategies are expected to continue to be a feature of Asian strategy, the report said, but it also cautioned that "the real challenge for brands and agencies will be in developing purposeful campaigns that are relevant and can stand out in a marketplace that's increasingly saturated with such strategies".

Data sourced from Warc