Effectiveness is a gauge of creativity's corporate worth
A view from Claire Beale

Effectiveness is a gauge of creativity's corporate worth

Apparently, if you tally up the winners of the major effectiveness awards around the world over the past year, you'll discover that Procter & Gamble has displaced Unilever as the world's most effective advertiser.

Warc has run its calculator over the results of 79 strategy and effectiveness shows and found that P&G accounted for nine of the 100 most effective campaigns, compared with three from Unilever. Since you’re asking: Saatchi & Saatchi and OMD Australia delivered the most effective campaign in the world, for OPSM; MullenLowe Mumbai was the most-awarded creative agency globally and Starcom Mediavest Group Chicago the most-awarded media agency; while Coca-Cola was the most-awarded brand and the US the most-awarded country. 

It’s interesting to contrast this list with the recent Gunn Report on the world’s most creatively awarded agencies and brands; the correlation is patchy. Anyway, it’s about time effectiveness awards got the sort of gamification treatment afforded the established creative awards, with brands and agencies vying for the top spots, and careers built (and undermined) by the results.

Creative awards – or at least the handful of credible ones – play a vital role in setting benchmarks, inspiring greatness, motivating talent, educating clients and on and on. Effectiveness awards can and should do exactly the same job and more – underlining the value the advertising industry delivers to the corporate bottom line. Yet effectiveness awards have often occupied a less prominent place on the industry’s mantelpieces. Agencies that consistently produce work that works deserve the spotlight and this is definitely set to be the year that happens. The inaugural London Effies takes place this spring and the IPA’s biennial effectiveness awards this autumn will be a bigger showcase than ever. 

But it’s disappointing that the Effies have chosen (inadvertently, I assume) to hold their first London awards on 19 May, the same night that D&AD will be on the other side of London compellingly anointing the most creative campaigns in the world at its annual show.

It’s a cock-up, but one symbolic of our collective failure to convincingly join the dots between creative excellence, advertising effectiveness and business success. A report by the IPA found that creatively awarded campaigns are on average seven times more efficient than non-creatively awarded campaigns in delivering market share growth – yet advertising is still frequently considered a cost rather than an investment. If the ad industry wants to cement its place in client boardrooms as a business partner in the pursuit of corporate growth, it needs to bang the creative/effective drum relentlessly. But I’ll be at D&AD on 19 May.