LONDON: More than any previous year at Cannes, online video has proven to be a key channel for creative effectiveness, according to a WARC study of the 122 campaigns entered for the Creative Effectiveness Lions this year.

WARC’s analysis of the 2017 Awards found that video in all formats was integral to effective campaigns, with the trend reflecting a growing range of options for marketers as video consumption increases across screens.
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Television remained highly effective for bigger budget campaigns – and social media was the most used channel overall – but online video and TV were the most used lead media among the 28 shortlisted entries.

Good examples of optimising video usage across screens and across platforms, both online and offline, included The Man on the Moon campaign for UK retailer John Lewis as well as for Justino by Loterias Y Apuestas del Estado, the Spanish lottery ticket brand.

Significantly, there was a major shift this year in terms of the strategic use of social media. In 2016, social media was the second most used lead channel, accounting for 41% of the shortlist, but this year it was chosen by only 8% of all entries and 4% of the shortlist.

That suggests social media performed more of a supportive or amplifying role to increase reach, often in support of other channels, rather than being used as a central strategy for community engagement.

For example, this year’s Grand Prix winner, the Art Institute of Chicago, partnered with Airbnb in a bid to boost attendance rates to a Van Gogh exhibition, but social media was not central to the campaign.

Its Van Gogh’s Bedrooms: Let Yourself In campaign, developed by Leo Burnett Chicago, involved an exact replica of a bedroom painted by the famous artist to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the experience. Social media then expanded the exhibition’s visibility and rental opportunity.

“The Chicago Art Institute’s activation with Airbnb was a prime example of how a local activation became a global phenomenon and ultimately had an influence on consumer awareness and sales,” said Alegra O’Hare, VP of Global Communications at adidas Originals and Core, and one of the Creative Effectiveness judges.

Elsewhere, purpose-led advertising, both through non-profit campaigns and brands that used a CSR or sustainability message, was a major feature of this year’s shortlist.

Reflecting this focus, several winners were powerful campaigns with low budgets that had an outsize impact for the investment.

These included MACMA’s ManBoobs4Boobs, a breast cancer awareness campaign from Argentina, and The Swedish Number on behalf of the Swedish Tourist Association.

Finally, the number of campaigns using emotion as a creative strategy increased this year with emotion featuring in 71% of the shortlisted campaigns.

Commenting on this year’s winners, Jonathan Mildenhall, Creative Effectiveness Jury President and CMO at Airbnb, said: “All of the gold winners are based on ideas that are genuinely innovative and in some cases, are downright risky.

“So it’s important to commend the relationship behind each of these ideas. Clearly the clients and the agencies understand how to live in that uncomfortable space where it’s necessary for the work to be truly remarkable.”

Data sourced from WARC