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Effectiveness can be defined as the extent to which a marketing communications programme (or other piece of marketing activity) achieved its objectives. Effectiveness metrics can include intermediate measures such as awareness or brand health; however, ‘true’ effectiveness – particularly as judged by effectiveness awards – requires financial measures such as sales or profits. Effectiveness is often conflated with ROI (return on investment). ROI is an efficiency measure that reflects the ratio of financial returns from a campaign to the cost of that campaign.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

A guide to creating truly effective advertising, addressing the reason to purchase, brand recognition, pretesting and amending - all embedded within a long-term strategy. Overall, effectiveness requires enough emphasis on the brand, positive product information for consumers and judicious use of pretesting.
A guide to selecting the right metric to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
How to balance close targeting against mass reach, and short-term versus long-term strategies.
Five measures CMOs can take towards a collaborative approach to the marketing effectiveness.

Case Study

This case study describes how Mars, the confectionery and food manufacturer, reversed declining growth and increased sales of its Maltesers snack through its portrayal of disability in its advertising.

Case Study

This case study explains how car company Volkswagen filmed a stunt and placed it on TV and social media to sell its Passat car model in Norway.

Case Study

This case study shows how Badger and Winters, an advertising agency, successfully initiated change globally towards the non-objectification of women in advertising, by directly targeting the industry with powerful campaign films.

Case Study

This case study shows how Deutsche Telekom, a telecommunications brand, used gaming to raise awareness towards dementia research in Germany.

Case Study

This case study explains how laundry brand Persil used a comparison between the time children and prisoners spend outside to build brand relevance and sales in a global, integrated campaign.

Case Study

This case study shows how DB Export, a beer brand, increased sales by asking New Zealanders to drink more beer as a way to help produce biofuel and save the environment.
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This article discusses what learnings from neuroscience are revealing about how the brain responds to storytelling to encode information into long-term memory, and applying this knowledge to the 2017 WARC 100 top campaigns.


This report analyses the key themes and summarises the winning case studies from the WARC Innovation Awards, and presents the views and opinions of the 25 judges.


This event report provides an insight into the best practices pursued by creative companies, based on research from McKinsey, the management consultancy.


This event report provides details of research conducted by McKinsey, the management consultancy, regarding the business impact of creativity.


This article examines why creative effectiveness has halved since 2011 and how marketing needs to change to focus on long-term brand health with improved creative effectiveness.


This short report summarises the results for the food category from the 2017 WARC 100, which ranks the world's best advertising campaigns based on performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.
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  1. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, discusses how to achieve marketing effectiveness in the digital age by striking the right balance between close targeting and mass reach, and between short- and long-term strategies.

  2. Article

    This article summarises Warc's Toolkit 2017, a guide to six key challenges for brands in the coming year.

  3. Article

    This exclusive report analyses the most effective social media campaigns, including an in-depth review of how social strategy drives effectiveness and practical suggestions for other brands to follow.

  4. Article

    This report highlights trends among the campaigns entered into the 2016 Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions, including campaign budgets, media channel usage, campaign duration, creative approaches, metrics and regional variation.

  5. Article

    This report explores excellence in connection strategy, channel analysis and measurement, by studying the entries to the 2015 Warc Prize for Connection Strategy.

  6. Article

    This article offers an overview of how marketing drives business performance by explaining the theories of buyer behaviour, the ways that marketing can influence that behaviour and how advertising works.

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