One of the most effective campaign strategies is to go big, aim to stoke people's emotions and focus on a social issue. At least, that's the strong message from this year's Warc 100 results, which track results from 79 effectiveness and strategy awards around the world and rank the year's best marketing campaigns and companies. Two of the year's top 20 campaigns exemplify this strategy, and centre on one issue in particular: female empowerment.
And we at Warc are happy to host a session at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next week that will explore the stories behind both of these campaigns. 'This Girl Can', from FCB Inferno, promoted female participation in sport, for its client Sport England. And #likeagirl, from Leo Burnett for Always, a feminine hygiene brand, confronted negative societal stereotypes around doing things "like a girl".
Huge issues, in other words. But, in responding to them, these two campaigns rose above the norm in delivering huge results for the client, and (arguably) a big benefit to society, too.
Always' campaign, which ran worldwide and was developed by Leo Burnett's Chicago, Toronto and London offices, was based around a filmed social experiment, that was then distributed via traditional, digital and social media. In the experiment, people - men, boys, girls and women - were asked to do things 'like a girl'. They found that adults of both genders took this to mean 'silly' or 'not good enough', while young girls did them the best they could.
Within the first month the video had been shared 1 million times, purchase intent increased to 92% and Always received a UN award for the impact the campaign had on female empowerment around the world.
Meanwhile, for Sport England, FCB's focus was on reshaping the way women think about exercise. The campaign strategy, like Always', was based on tapping into emotions - specifically, on women's fear of being judged about how they looked while exercising.
The media approach was truly integrated, with online video, TV and print ads all reaffirming the message that it's not how you look that matters, it's how you're doing.
Following the campaign's launch, Sport England tracked changing attitudes in the British public about exercise - and, crucially, higher levels of exercise among women.
In other words, these two campaigns share many similarities - an emotional approach, a through-the-line media plan, and big results. But they are also in different product categories, with different audiences.
We'll learn more about these campaign strategies, and how the learnings from the campaigns can be applied by other brands, at our Cannes sessions. We hope to see you there: but, if you can't make it, Warc will have full coverage of the session following the event.
And, ahead of time, you can also read more about Warc's day of sessions at the Palais, which take place on Thursday June 23rd.