GLOBAL: Strategy needed to go far beyond a creative asset in 2018, a WARC analysis of the 169 campaigns entered into the Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions finds. In a study of the effectiveness awards, product-led solutions, emotion and humour, e-commerce thinking, and purpose with PR were found to drive sales.

The Grand Prix winner, Savlon, exemplified the best of this new competitive set. With its Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks campaign, the brand found a practical solution to encourage Indian children to wash their hands with soap. In so doing, Savlon created an entirely new product idea that shifted the category.

Solutions rather than traditional campaigns did not only solve a problem practically, but helped to earn the brand invaluable PR as an actor in the situation, rather than a passive observer. Edible Six Pack Rings, a Silver Lion-winning campaign from Saltwater Brewery, showed an alternative to the plastic packaging rings used by brewers big and small; in creating a new and different product, the brand was able to impact an industry and drive a crucial conversation.

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Many winning campaigns, including Tencent and Amnesty International, had sustainability or responsibility as their creative strategy and earned media after their campaign periods had ended. Highly creative, memorable ideas captured column inches: Pedigree’s Gold-winning Child Replacement Programme took a new tactic and achieved an 825% increase in dog adoption enquiries and a 10.8% increase in sales.

“We were looking for ideas or campaigns that really developed the business and which also created a cultural impact,” Jury President and Burger King Global CMO, Fernando Machado, told WARC. “Perhaps because I’m on the client side, I celebrate when products and brands win because that’s what helps move our industry forward in terms of creative: it’s key to the industry to show that creative drives results.”

The holy grail of cultural impact is increasingly measured in terms of online conversion. Web traffic as a metric for shortlisted papers more than doubled since 2017, from 7% to 15%, demonstrating the increasing demands on marketing to link to brands’ e-commerce-based objectives. Cheetos Museum, adidas’ Original is Never Finished and The New York Times’ The Truth is Hard drove people online and increased traffic following creative campaigns with a clear mission.

“This year’s Creative Effectiveness Lions winners are powerful illustrations that advertising with heart is more powerful than rational argument,” said Graham Page, Managing Director, Offer and Innovation, Kantar Millward Brown, who wrote a deep dive into the four themes in the report. Emotion, and specifically humour emerged as important drivers. Video remains a crucial channel for delivering emotional or humorous messages. TV was the lead channel among 22% of entrants, followed by online video with 14%.

“This year’s Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions show how marketing is developing in several areas – there is a growing focus on product and a greater need to tie in to e-commerce,” said WARC’s Head of Content, David Tiltman.

“As in previous years, emotion and ‘purpose’ are common elements in the creative work, though we are increasingly seeing these tied with humour or with PR so that brands stand out from the crowd.”

WARC will be holding a ‘Lessons from Cannes’ event in London on Friday 17 August. There will be an event in New York and a webinar later on in August. Register your interest here.

Sourced from WARC