Research finds strong advertising creativity is at heart of business success

A new research study from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertisng (IPA) and Thinkbox, in conjunction with The Gunn Report, has identified a direct correlation between strong advertising creativity and business success.

The study, which scrutinised 175 campaigns from leading brands including campaigns by Budweiser, Volkswagen, Virgin Atlantic, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and BT, showed that the most creatively awarded advertising campaigns are 11 times more efficient at delivering business success.

The research analysed the correlation between campaigns’ performance across a wide range of advertising awards determined by The Gunn Report, and their performance in hard business terms recorded in the IPA Effectiveness Awards Databank between 2000 and 2008.  

It examined the ads on two criterias. The first looked at effectiveness – in terms of a campaign’s ability to drive business effects such as share, sales, profit and loyalty.

The second looked at efficiency – in terms of share growth per point of “Excess Share of Voice” – of creatively awarded and non-awarded campaigns.
Key findings include:

  • Pound for pound, creativity makes ad campaigns more efficient; on average, creatively awarded campaigns are at least 11 times more efficient
  • The vast majority of Gunn Report creative award scores (74%) are for TV commercials, showing that TV creativity is at the heart of the success of these campaigns. The remaining scores cover press and online
  • The more creatively awarded a campaign, the more effective it becomes
  • Creatively awarded campaigns are much more likely to be ‘emotional’ than ‘rational’ (44% vs. 19%). This partly explains the prevalence of TV in creatively awarded campaigns as TV creates emotion better than other media
  •  Investing in creativity is a powerful way to achieve fame (i.e. buzz). The study shows that brands can buy awareness but not fame; fame is proven to be at the heart of the most effective advertising.
  • Creatively awarded campaigns that invest strongly in Excess Share of Voice (ESOV) perform particularly well, suggesting that many creative campaigns could further improve ROMI by investing more in Share of Voice (SOV).
  • Despite generally being disadvantaged by lower levels of ESOV, creatively awarded campaigns still generate more and greater business effects than non-awarded ones
  • With the same level of ESOV, creatively awarded campaigns would have driven twice as much market share growth as non-awarded ones.
  • Creative awards strongly reflect consumer liking of ad campaigns. On average, 35% of consumers ranked Gunn awarded campaigns as ‘highly liked’ versus just 20% for non-Gunn awarded campaigns. Liking an ad is the best predictor of business success

Peter Field, author of the new study, says: “The takeout from this report should be that creative campaigns are more effective when they have more, rather than less, budget put behind them; and that creativity helps drives long-term business success, providing a powerful antidote to the short-term nature of so much activity today.”

Neil Simpson, chairman of the IPA Value of Advertising Group and CEO of Publicis, says: “What we have now is the weight of eight years of statistical evidence and an exciting, and very tangible, set of findings to provide food for thought for all advertisers.”

David Brennan, research and strategy director at Thinkbox, adds: “We knew anecdotally that strong creativity leads to success, but to finally prove the link should be great news for advertisers and their agencies, and should hopefully help unlock more creativity and more success.”

See the winners of the Marketing Week Engage awards here

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