Great Gunns

2012 was one of the strongest years in the history of The Gunn Report and saw two brands - Canal+ and Samsonite - break records, Donald Gunn writes.

First, 2012 was a great year for advertising. There is so much awesome work clustered at the top end of our four ad tables that 2012 has got to go down as one of the strongest years in The Gunn Report.

In film alone, Canal+ "the bear", The Guardian "three little pigs", Chipotle "back to the start" and BGH "dads in briefs" would all have been worthy Cannes Grand Prix winners in normal years.

Canal+’s "the bear" topped our table for film with the highest points total ever. Samsonite’s "heaven and hell" came first in the print table for the second year in a row (they must have had a cunning entry plan), which is the first time this has happened. Intel’s "museum of me" tops the digital table, creating absorption without end for the self-absorbed. The All Gunns Blazing winner, American Express’ "small business gets an official day" (pictured below), obliged the US Senate to vote in a new and permanent official day in the national calendar.

In the seven tables that focus on where the ads came from and who made them, the theme for 2012 is consistency. In the countries table, the US and the UK were the top two for the 14th year out of 14. In the advertisers table, Volkswagen won for the 11th time in 14 years.

MJZ, the winner in the production companies table, had taken this title six times before. Wieden & Kennedy (Portland and New York) romped home in the agencies table, having been number two last year. Three of the top five had won previously.

Finally, in the agency networks table, we have now had the same top four, in exactly the same order, for each of the past four years. Leo Burnett fourth; Ogilvy & Mather third; DDB second; and BBDO Worldwide is the most-awarded agency network in the world for the seventh year in a row.

People like to ask about trends, which is difficult for me. I have never got off on trends. A trend is a split second away from a cliché. But something fundamental has happened in advertising in the past six years or so, which is far, far more than a trend – it’s a sea change.

It’s to do with creativity and sales. When I was doing the Do Award Winning Commercials Sell? study back at Leo Burnett in the 90s, people from agency- and client-side broke down into two camps: the creative-driven versus the sales-driven. The latter lot were strongly in the majority. They were of the view that the motives behind an ad that won awards and an ad designed to sell were fundamentally different and, indeed, mutually exclusive.

In the intervening years, however, evidence has inexorably accumulated to show ads that people – whether award-show juries or our clients’ customers – like and admire are much more likely to drive commercial success. Good agencies and good clients no longer have to choose to be "creative" or "effective". This has been replaced by the simple ambition to be both.

Not long ago, certain networks were content to position themselves as service-driven and reliable. Now they all want to do famous creative work – and all can do it. It’s just that some do a little more of it in a few more places than others. As for clients, just look at how the client population at Cannes has multiplied in the past five years.

The IPA/Gunn study has provided the clincher. Using the IPA measure of points of extra market share driven by ten points of extra share of voice, effectiveness entries that won for creativity as well turned out to be seven times more effective.

Two things are happening at the same time. Ads that are strategically accurate but with a tendency to be boring are finding it harder to deliver commercially. Ads that people like, and talk to their friends about, are working – not just as well as ever, but actually faster and better, thanks to connectivity and the internet.

The function in life of The Gunn Report is to identify the best new ads in the world every year. And to identify who is doing them. And to celebrate both. We are happy that this is giving us a tiny part to play in advertising’s second creative revolution.

Donald Gunn is the founder of The Gunn Report

The most-awarded film ads in the world 2012
Rank Brand/campaign Agency Ad pts
1 Canal+ "the bear" BETC Paris 47
2 BGH "dads in briefs" Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi (Buenos Aires) 29
3 Doritos "Dip Desperado" Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (London) 23
4 Chipotle "back to the start" Creative Artists Agency (Los Angeles) 20
5 John Lewis "the long wait" Adam & Eve/DDB (London) 18
The most-awarded print ads in the world 2012
Rank Brand/campaign Agency Ad pts
1 Samsonite "heaven and hell" JWT Shanghai 23
2 Pictionary "quick draw wins" Ogilvy & Mather (Kuala Lumpur) 16
3= Coca-Cola "#cokehands" Ogilvy & Mather (Shanghai) 13
3= Ministry of National Defence Colombia "rivers of light" Lowe/SSP3 (Bogotá) 13
5= The Sunday Times "Rich List" CHI & Partners (London) 12
5= Volkswagen "park assist" DDB Sydney 12
The most-awarded digital ads in the world 2012
Rank Brand/campaign Agency Ad pts
1 Intel "museum of me" Projector (Tokyo) 17
2= Google Chrome "OK Go – All Is Not Lost" Hakuhodo (Tokyo) 14
2= Philips "obsessed with sound" Tribal DDB (Amsterdam) 14
2= US Department of State "slavery footprint" Muh·Tay·Zik | Hof·Fer (San Francisco) 14
5= American Express "small business gets an official day" Crispin Porter & Bogusky (Boulder), Digitas (New York) 11
5= Chipotle "back to the start" Creative Artists Agency (Los Angeles) 11
5= CNN "the CNN ecosphere" Heimat (Berlin) 11
5= Skittles "touch the rainbow" BBDO Toronto 11
The most-awarded All Guns Blazing in the world 2012
Rank Brand/campaign Agency Ad pts
1 American Express "small business gets an official day" Crispin Porter & Bogusky (Boulder), Digitas (New York) 19
2 National Australia Bank "break up" Clemenger BBDO Proximity (Melbourne) 14
3= Engagement Citoyen "the return of dictator Ben Ali" Memac Ogilvy Label (Tunis) 13
3= Mercedes-Benz F-Cell "the invisible drive" Jung von Matt (Hamburg) 13
5 Troy Public Library "book burning party" Leo Burnett (Detroit) 12
The most-awarded agencies in the world 2012
Rank Rank 2011 Agency Winner Winner Winner Winner Total
pts film pts print pts digital pts AGB
1 2 Wieden & Kennedy (Portland, New York) 29 1 8 7 45
2 4 Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi (Buenos Aires) 32 9 1 42
3 Bartle Bogle Hegarty (London) 24 4 5 5 38
4 3 AlmapBBDO (São Paulo) 11 9 11 1 32
5= 25= Adam & Eve/DDB (London) 23 6 1 1 31
5= 6 Dentsu (Tokyo, Fukuoka) 17 2 7 5 31
The most-awarded networks in the world 2012
Rank Rank 2011 Agency Film Print Digital AGB Total
1 1 BBDO Worldwide 75 43 43 33 194
2 2 DDB 61 52 39 14 166
3 3 Ogilvy & Mather 47 53 19 22 141
4 4 Leo Burnett 34 33 19 34 120
5 6 Y&R 53 45 6 8 112
The most-awarded production companies in the world 2012
Rank Rank 2011 Company Ad pts
1 4 MJZ (Los Angeles, New York) 29
2 Soixan7e Quin5e (Paris) 26
3 Rattling Stick (London, Los Angeles) 22
4= Nexus Productions (London) 19
4= 24= Primo (Buenos Aires) 19
4= Propaganda (Tunis) 19
The most-awarded directors in the world 2012
Rank Rank 2011 Director Winner pts
1 Matthijs van Heijningen (Netherlands) 26
2 18= The Glue Society (Australia, UK, US) 24
3 18= Nico & Martin (Argentina) 18
4= Johnny Kelly (UK) 17
4= 6= Tom Kuntz (US) 17