Measuring the impact of creativity
“The evidence that we’ve seen on Snickers and on many other campaigns… is that when you stick with a great idea and commit to it, invest in it and invest in it over time – I think that’s key – on a regular, repeatable basis, your odds of success are increased exponentially and the chances of long-term impact and growth are multiplied.”
Rankin Carroll, Chief Content Officer, Mars Wrigley
When it comes to the commercial creativity that LIONS champions, few would disagree that economic impact is probably the most important metric. But as Marc Pritchard, CMO of Procter & Gamble regularly asserts, driving business results and doing good are not mutually exclusive. At LIONS Live we saw irrefutable evidence of both. We saw how a supermarket broke an absurd law only to change it (and increased instore traffic by 15%). We heard how a campaign featuring singing vulvas defied category norms and grew market share in the Nordics from 0% to 33% in under two months. So what’s the secret? Here are some top tips we took away.
1. Get dumped, then commit
As referenced previously, Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” platform, created by BBDO Worldwide, is a campaign that we’ve identified as an “Enduring Icon” in the Creative Effectiveness Code. It has been called the “best global campaign in history” and with good reason: it helped Snickers regain a market share equivalent to USD 376.3 million. But, it didn’t start off well. Mars Incorporated fired David Lubars and the BBDO team – but the agency begged forgiveness and were given one last chance. This (47!) Lion-winning partnership was founded on the universally-resounding truth of its eponymous tagline which has been translated the world over. It has enviable longevity and can be adapted to any market.
“I saw the line before I saw any work and the line alone... it communicated the insight in such a human, great way and I thought, ‘This isn’t just a campaign line, this is a platform that’s going to lead us into the future’... the hairs on my neck went up.” David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide
2. Find a simple truth and trust your gut
“With all of these things it’s a feeling. You’ve got to feel it and in this case we felt it early on – and it proved to be the right feeling.” Toby Treyer-Evans, Group Creative Director, Droga5 The New York Times and Droga5’s “The Truth Is Worth It” is the first campaign in Cannes Lions’ history to take home both the Film and Film Craft Grands Prix. Its objective was clear: to increase the number of paid subscribers by convincing them that quality journalism is worth the money. And the campaign device was simple: the truth is worth paying for.
But at the time of launch, the odds were stacked against them. There were 180 million digital newsreaders in the USA but only 14 million were paying for it. For The New York Times, creativity was a survival mechanism.
So what was the creative solution? With Droga5, they crafted a series of videos (collated from footage from journalists’ phone conversations, photos and text messages), which illustrated the rigorous lengths that journalists will go to to seek out the truth on incendiary news topics like parent and child separation and Isis defectors. The results are both beautifully simple and viscerally chilling. It’s work that hits you right in the gut.
At LIONS Live, Amy Weisenbach, the SVP Marketing at The New York Times, shared the incredible results of this campaign:
- 2019 was a record year for digital growth at The New York Times Company.
- There was a 12.4% increase in number of people who felt The New York Times was worth paying for.
- It was the first news organisation to achieve over 3 million subscribers.
- They added as many new subscribers since the launch of “The Truth Is Worth It” campaign as they had in total when they launched.