Show some emotion

Posted 20 May 2016.

By Paul Head, CEO, CAANZ.

The holy grail of “effectiveness” in marketing communications has never been more complex or more important. Internationally and locally we’re seeing a transformed media landscape, the impact of technology, the rise of consumer involvement and ever-increasing budget pressure. Nothing new here, but even more true this year than it was last year. Exciting for sure, but demanding for clients and agencies alike.

There are, unfortunately, no magic solutions or silver bullets. Demonstrable ROI proven by data is increasingly important but as our world evolves, innovative approaches to media and connecting with consumers can sometimes move ahead of our ability to measure. This creates its own challenges in the pursuit of proving ROI but we must continue to find ways to measure.

In this environment, creative awards are often seen by advertisers as a distraction from the business of doing business. Although there have been signs that attitudes have begun to move in favour of creative awards in recent years, by no means all clients believe that they hold any commercial value.

This is not an academic debate. As advertisers are forced to look ever harder for an advantage in their marketing communications, creative awards have the potential to provide a constructive stimulus to agencies – if it is indeed true that the winning of creative awards is linked to superior effectiveness.

If you ask your agency what the key to success is in advertising, and you’ll most likely get an answer that echoes the mantra of Stephan Vogel, Ogilvy & Mather Germany’s chief creative officer: “Nothing is more efficient than creative advertising. Creative advertising is more memorable, longer lasting, works with less media spend and builds a fan community…faster.”

But are creative ads really more effective in inspiring people to buy products than ads that simply catalogue product attributes or benefits?

Numerous laboratory experiments have found that creative messages get more attention and lead to positive attitudes about the products being marketed, but does that translate into real world results.

Unequivocally, the answer is yes. Renowned effectiveness guru Peter Field has done a significant amount of work on the link between creativity and effectiveness. One of the key things Peter looks at is the impact of a campaign having won creative awards.

What he finds is that campaigns that win multiple creative awards are about 9 times more efficient for a similar share of voice compared to campaigns that aren’t awarded and they are more than twice as effective at generating a significant sustainable price lift effect for the brand.

In fact, on all key business measures; sales; market share; price premium; loyalty and market penetration, creative campaigns that elicited an emotional response were significantly more likely to have a very large positive effect. And when you then take a long term view, the profit effect of emotional campaigns over a 3 year time horizon is almost 2.5 times that of rational campaigns.

And it appears that things are no different in NZ. Next month CAANZ is publishing the inaugural Effie Report in conjunction with Nielsen. This report is based on a quantitative and qualitative review of the finalists from last year’s Effie awards and pulls out the common themes that drove effective marketing in 2014–15 and what we can learn from that.

The report clearly finds that the most effective campaigns found a genuine emotional connection with their audience through a human truth or insight and that campaigns that ‘spoke’ to their audience delivered their key message with the best chance of success.

We’ll be making the report freely available to anyone who wants it in an effort to make marketing more effective for all of us.

Creativity and emotional response are the magic ingredients at the heart of advertising’s power. They remain the biggest lever you can pull to drive advertising effectiveness. They make brands famous, gets them talked about and boost a campaign’s efficiency. So show c’mon, some emotion.