Go for growth
The connection between marketing and business growth desperately needs strengthening if businesses are going to survive the turbulent times ahead. The Creative Impact track, co-curated by WARC and LIONS, offered plenty of expert evidence for brands seeking inspiration on how to produce work that delivers results.
Nearly three quarters of CMOs admitted they had failed to deliver against profitable growth objectives, according to data shared by PWC at the Festival.
Even more startling was the outlook of CEOs. Only
think that their businesses will be economically viable in the next 10 years.
With budgets tightening against a backdrop of global and economic uncertainty, there’s mounting anxiety about where growth will come from. Help at this year’s Festival came in the form of new models for creativity and effectiveness that emphasised continued innovation.
Speak the same language
As brands and agencies re-examine internal structures, the power of a singular platform vision has become stronger. Molson Coors explained how ‘Tastes Like Miller Lite Time’ transformed creative execution. Similarly, Mondelēz-owned confectionery company Cadbury detailed the theme of generosity at the heart of ‘A Glass and a Half in Everyone’. These robust brand narratives continue to drive strong business results, as seen in the Creative Effectiveness Lions Grand Prix being awarded to Mondelēz International's ‘Shah Rukh Khan-My-Ad’, by Ogilvy, Mumbai. This piece of work extended Cadbury’s central positioning of generosity, using AI to deliver ads starring the Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to 130,000 small businesses across India.
Work with, not against, your CFO Internal barriers can inhibit progress. In ‘Happy Tensions: The Power of CMO and CFO Partnerships’, Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, and Sachin Mehra, Chief Financial Officer, explained how communication, clarity and collaboration helped to reset their relationship. “If we can work jointly as a team to establish trust, we can break through all of these issues. Invest in doing that with your finance team and it will pay in spades,” says Mehra.
SHAH RUKH KHAN-MY-AD | MONDELEZ
OGILVY, MUMBAI | 2023 GRAND PRIX CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS LIONS
Growth in business
The results highlight how strong brand platforms can flex in different directions and also drive growth.
MIE-LIE WONG, SENIOR VP GLOBAL BRANDS | MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL
Invest in a framework. For inspiration, consult examples that were shared at the Festival: Creative X’s Creative Quality Score, WARC’s Align, Build, Embed framework for building a culture of creative effectiveness, The B2B Institute at LinkedIn’s Promise to the Customer (PTTC) model and AB InBev’s Creative Spectrum.
Impactful brands tackle barriers head-on. This can mean responding to bans by finding unconventional workarounds. AB InBev did this when it circumvented the ban of beer sponsorship on jerseys by inviting footballers to don beer-foam-inspired haircuts. The end result, Brahma Beer’s ‘The Foamy Haircut’, by Africa Creative DDB, São Paulo, took Gold in the Creative Effectiveness Lions.
Another way to tackle barriers is to use legal barriers as a creative starting point. Winners of a Silver Outdoor Lion and a Gold Lion for Print & Publishing, NotMilk and MRM Worldwide, Santiago, turned a lawsuit into an out-of-home success, using lawyers’ legal arguments as the advertising copy in ‘We Didn’t Write This Campaign’, boosting trial conversion to 93%.
THE FOAMY HAIRCUT | BRAHMA
AFRICA CREATIVE DDB, SÃO PAULO | 2023 GOLD CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS LIONS
Those strategies mean taking risks. One brand that embraced risk was ‘M&M’s Spokescandies On Pause’, through BBDO, New York.
“When you’re a brand as pervasive as M&M's, it's very difficult to take a risk. It could have all gone wrong. But that’s the kind of staking you want to see that makes great campaigns happen,” points out Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe Southeast Asia, and Creative Strategy Lions Jury President. The brand racked up 25.2 billion earned impressions – over four times the average for the Super Bowl – by sabotaging its very expensive airtime during the game with a deliberately unlikeable commercial.
M&MS SPOKESCANDIES ON PAUSE | M&M'S
BBDO, NEW YORK | 2023 GOLD CREATIVE STRATEGY LIONS
Invite the audience in
New channels, content proliferation and media fragmentation are blurring the effectiveness landscape. “With so much content, inefficiencies compound,” notes Anastasia Leng, Founder of Creative X, in the talk ‘A Masterclass in Creative Quality’. While new content and technology are shifting the landscape, some creatively effective work this year baked a participatory mechanic into both traditional and emergent channels. Take ‘Phone It In’ by Colenso BBDO, Auckland, for the telco Skinny, as an example. Winning the Grand Prix in the Radio and Audio Lions, it promoted a promise to keep prices low using reverse participation, making audiences contribute the voice-over. This novel approach earned Skinny a 34% increase in acquisitions year on year. Kraft Heinz’s ‘Draw Ketchup’ by Rethink, Toronto, similarly put consumers front and centre when using people’s drawings of Heinz as the main media asset. It took home a Gold Lion in the Creative Effectiveness Lions and saw brand affinity rise. Both pieces of work shine the spotlight on how hard traditional channels can work for integrated initiatives. But as advertisers identify new ways to appeal to Gen Z, the time is right for new campaign models. Samsung’s ‘Flipvertising’ by CHEP Network, Sydney, was awarded the Grand Prix in the Social & Influencer Lions, for its innovative understanding of Gen Z behaviour on social media. “I have never seen an example of how people got how the media works, got how the algorithm works and flipped it. If we can use that incredible depth of media knowledge and then turn it into something creative then that’s incredibly inspiring,” enthused Diageo’s Isabel Massey, Global Head of Media and Content Transformation, and a Media Lions Juror.
PHONE IT IN | SKINNY
COLENSO BBDO, AUCKLAND | 2023 GRAND PRIX RADIO & AUDIO LIONS
FLIPVERTISING | SAMSUNG
CHEP NETWORK, SYDNEY | 2023 GRAND PRIX SOCIAL & INFLUENCER LIONS
VP of Brand Strategy | Jellyfish Speaking at the session 'The Third Age of Effectiveness'
“Of course we’re taking time to learn how to build brands in a media world. We had 80 years to learn how to make TV ads. We had three years to learn how to use TikTok.”
B2B is rich with participatory experiments, too. Bronze winner in the Creative B2B Lions, ‘Tip for Heinz’ by Mischief @ No Fixed Address, New York, saw restaurant-goers become brand advocates. And Heineken’s ‘Office Cleaners’ by Publicis Italy | Le Pub, Milan, set up an effective partnership between cleaning companies, bars and the beer brand as it aimed to re-establish the work–life balance of office workers. It won two Silvers in the Creative B2B Lions. “Heinz and Heineken were after something particular and they killed it,” said Tom Stein, Chairman and Chief Brand Officer at Stein IAS, and Creative B2B Lions Jury President.
Find the right way to make your brand thrive. Experiment with new models, innovate within partnerships and embed participation into your work.
YOUR FINAL THOUGHT:
Drive impact by exploring new techniques, frameworks and models that work for your brand. Creative impact may rely on evergreen components: a consistent brand platform or positioning, cultural relevance and unique advertising models. But the methods and structures for creating ideas that deliver business value are evolving.