Three major themes emerge from an analysis of this year’s Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions, including the important role of creative catalysts, PR and social and the enduring power of the real, according to a new WARC report.

Cannes Lions 2019 – Insights from the Creative Effectiveness Winners is based on interviews with all of the judges and the winners of the Grand Prix and Gold Lions, as well as an analysis of the metadata around all 227 entries submitted to the category with WARC examining factors such as the media mix, creative strategy, metrics and results.

WARC highlights three major themes in the report:
  • Creative ‘catalysts’ pay off
    This year’s winners highlighted the trends for brands to invest in highly creative short-term initiatives alongside their everyday marketing activity. However, marketing consultant Peter Field advises exercising caution to ensure that these “flashes of creative brilliance” drive long-term strategy as opposed to derailing it.
  • PR and social underpin participation
    Fifty per cent of shortlisted papers cited participation as a creative strategy constructed to be executed via PR and social channels. Jury member Joanne Lao, CEO, TBWA\ Greater China, said: “Participation was undoubtedly a key theme in the shortlist work. The best campaigns allowed people to take deeper action beyond likes.”
  • Enduring power of the real
    Successful brands have a more holistic interpretation of customer experience that isn’t confined to digital channels. Jury president John Seifert, Chief Executive, Worldwide, Ogilvy, commented: “Brands have to live in the digital reality but they can’t be defined by it; they need to have some kind of connection to a physical space.”
Summing up, Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor, Case Studies, WARC, said: “This year’s winners show the potential return of risk-taking for brands of all sizes. Marketing that plays it safe is finding it harder to cut through with audiences. The fantastic set of case studies included in the report will provide inspiration for marketers seeking to use creative power for greater effectiveness.” A sample of the report can be downloaded here. The full report is available to WARC subscribers.

This latest study follows the recently published report Strategy and effectiveness lessons from Cannes Lions 2019, providing a bite-sized summary of the industry trends picked up on by WARC at the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival. A sample of the report is available here.

WARC also recently launched the ultimate guide to marketing effectiveness:
Anatomy of Effectiveness is a white paper highlighting five key priorities for brands seeking to drive better consumer engagement. It can be downloaded at

Sourced from WARC