Editorial: Why creating iconic ads cannot now be enough

On the face of it, the Cadbury gorilla's absence from the winners' podium at this year's IPA Effectiveness Awards seems odd.

The creation of Fallon's Juan Cabral hasn't only already won a pile of honours, but joined the pantheon of iconic UK advertising figures. It was even cited by the Cadbury chief executive as having a positive impact on sales. Did the judges have some kind of collective aberration?

Not likely. The judges' job is to separate the emotional from the rational. Famous though the Cadbury campaign is, the effectiveness case was clearly not sufficiently proven. But if the ape's absence was a real surprise, it's equally true that the credibility of the awards is dependent on judges subjecting entries to the most rigorous examination.

The awards were set up 28 years ago to convince clients that it was possible to prove whether or not a campaign worked and if the investment in it had been worthwhile.

If subjecting each case study to forensic examination was important then, it is vital now. As the downturn begins to bite, the need to convince advertisers that they'll reap the rewards for holding their nerve has never been greater.

In this climate, the temptation is to opt for short-term fixes. This fits ill with the Effectiveness Awards, which have set out to show the benefits of long-term advertising investment in a brand. But are campaigns that produce short-term results while laying the groundwork for long-term success just wishful thinking? The Effectiveness Award-winning campaigns for Morrisons and KFC suggest it isn't.

Yet while this may be a comforting thought, it puts an added onus on agencies. Producing a dazzling piece of creative work is fine, but clients will also need to hear a compelling case for why it will boost the bottom line.

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