CANNES: True effectiveness can be achieved by long-term brand-building and long-term, multi-year campaigns, with the creative work directly engaging with a social issue, a session organised by Warc at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has suggested.

The event featured two campaign stories with both thematic and strategic similarities. Juliana Azevedo, VP/Global Feminine Care at Procter & Gamble, listed the lessons learned from #LikeAGirl, a campaign for Always which began in 2014 and is still ongoing, while Vicki Holgate and Nicola Willison, of FCB Inferno in London, discussed This Girl Can. The campaign, for Sport England, began running in early 2015.

Both campaigns were recognised for their exceptional business results by finishing in the top 20 of this year's Warc 100, the annual ranking of the world's top marketing campaigns based on results in effectiveness and strategy awards. #LikeAGirl achieved share growth and became the most-watched video in P&G's history, while This Girl Can inspired 2.6m women to take up exercise.

The campaigns also share strategic similarities: both were based on a human insight around female empowerment, employed emotional creative, amplified a core campaign film with huge earned media support, and aimed for long-term brand-building rather than short-term impact.

Azevedo said that #LikeAGirl would continue its push into new channels. Most recently, it has launched a digital campaign pushing back against gender-normative emojis by releasing a branded emoji range of its own – and, for the future, it is going to increase its efforts in below-the-line touchpoints.

"That's really the next frontier – bringing purpose and product together and finding out how we engage with customers in stores," Azevedo said. "For us, the store is very important, uniting the brand with what people see in stores. It's all to come - so stay tuned!"

Meanwhile, Holgate confirmed that FCB is working on the next phase of the campaign, to launch in September. She praised Sport England's "brave" decision to concentrate on building support for the campaign message on social media, encouraging women to share stories and talk to each other, reshaping the campaign message as the different phases roll out.

"Ordinary women joined in – they would empathise with a post someone put up, give them encouragement or hints and tips to help them keep going," Holgate said. Willison added: "One of the most fun things about being a planner in this day and age is doing the long-term stuff – and also reacting and being quick on your feet."

This long-term message chimes with research unveiled at another Warc event at the Festival this year, in which Peter Field unveiled new research from the IPA, showing that true effectiveness is generally achieved by long-term brand-building campaigns, but that the rising popularity of short-term thinking is doing great damage to marketers. Viewed this way, #LikeAGirl and This Girl Can offer a counter-example to the trend towards short-termism.

"You will see much more from this campaign," Azevedo said. "There are many more girls in the world that we want to impact."

Data sourced from Warc