LONDON: Some 15 campaigns from last year have been recognised for their creativity and effectiveness in the latest industry study from the Gunn Report.
But its Cases for Creativity 2016 report also noted that just six of the total were campaigns on behalf of commercial brands – the others being not-for-profit or corporate social responsibility – and that some showed signs of feeling too similar.
The 15 campaigns showcased by the Gunn Report represented those which achieved the highest accolade in advertising by winning a Cannes Gold Lion for creativity as well as a Gold Effie award for effectiveness.
They included three each from the US and India, three from Latin America (Argentina and Colombia), two from the UK, two from continental Europe (France and Romania) plus one each from Canada and New Zealand.
The annual report, now in its fifth year, was produced by James Hurman, a leading strategic planner whose own work has won 20 Cannes Lions and more than 50 effectiveness awards.
He highlighted campaigns for Procter & Gamble's Old Spice and UK retailer John Lewis, created by adam&eveDDB and Wieden+Kennedy respectively, describing them as feeling like "proper advertising creativity".
He said they were campaigns that took two brands "that by rights should have been as dull as dishwater" and "made them transcend their natural order".
"But looking at the other, more recent campaigns, I worry that we're losing the ability to do that," he added. "We're in danger of becoming overly seduced by anything that's trying to save the world."
These commercial campaigns looked less like efforts to make brands "transcendent", Hurman continued, and more like "attempts to follow a fashion of being so real and authentic that we actually kind of avoid creativity".
He acknowledged these campaigns were effective, as shown by their Gold Effie award success, but questioned whether they really set brands apart.
"Whilst these campaigns can be disarming to the consumer, I'm not sure it's really creative," he said. "Most troubling, these campaigns all feel just a bit too similar."
Data sourced from The Gunn Report; additional content by Warc staff