This new year we’ve again gathered together a family of campaigns that represent something of a high water mark of achievement in our industry. To be judged Gold at Cannes and then Gold at the Effies is evidence of an advertising idea that is beyond reproach, both in terms of the commercial or behavioural impact it creates for its client and the way it moves our industry forward through sheer imagination and innovation. And in 2013, 12 campaigns achieved this remarkable distinction.
They’re all big ideas that have spread contagiously through earned and social media, which is now almost a necessity for true advertising effectiveness. Tellingly, they are not, in the main, ‘digital ideas’, but indeed they are ideas that are interesting and exciting enough to have taken on a life of their own in the digital world.
Perhaps the most interesting theme running through this year’s list is a theme that ran brightly through this year’s Cannes Lions: the trend of brands building brilliant and effective campaigns from a platform of social conscience and contribution.
A friend of mine calls this trend ‘Good to Great to Good’; brands that have transformed from commercially ‘good’ to commercially ‘great’ and then looked to connect with consumers in a deeper way through doing things that add something good to the world around them. Eight of the 12 are bang on this trend.
- Check out 2012's winners here.
In the case of the Colombian Ministry of Defense, its remit is purely a social one. And the Argentinian newspaper La Voz’s campaign is a CSR initiative. But the rest are commercial organisations unapologetically selling more product, but doing it in a way that leaves the world in a better state than which they found it.
Chipotle has educated us all about the need to rethink food. Dove has continued to challenge the way we think about beauty in even more powerful ways. Vodafone addressed a curious currency issue in Egypt in a brilliantly innovative way. P&G rallied support for mothers all over the world. American Express supported small businesses in a meaningful and sustainable way. And Dela Funeral Insurance convinced thousands of people to celebrate their loved ones while they still have the chance.
It’s difficult not to be buoyed by this proof that brands can achieve at the highest level commercially while at the same time making the world a better place.
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, famously said that "good is the enemy of great". But in an age of brands going from great to good, the two are very much friends.
I hope that agencies and their clients all over the world take inspiration from these cases, and that as we continue to strive to do great work, we also succeed in doing good work.
On that note, special thanks to David Tiltman at Warc for his extremely good work helping identify winning papers.
The 2013 Cases for Creativity are:
1. 'Anything is Possible at Christmas' for Colombian Ministry of Defense by Lowe SSP3, Colombia
This beautiful and tenacious effort to convince Colombian guerilla soldiers to stand down produced the Gold Lion winning 'Operation Christmas' and 'Rivers of Light' campaigns and the Silver Lion winning 'Operation Bethlehem'. Together they created three years of outstanding results, earning gold in Sustained Success at the 2013 Colombian Effies.
2. 'Cultivate a Better World' for Chipotle by Creative Artists Agency Los Angeles, USA
At TED, Daniel Pink called Chipotle's social mission to cultivate a better world “the ultimate ad worth spreading”, and Chipotle CEO Steve Ellis was subsequently named America's most inspiring CEO. Following a litany of extraordinary engagement results and two 2012 Cannes Grands Prix, Chipotle's sales revenue grew 23 percent, for which the campaign won two Golds at the 2013 North American Effies.
3. 'Fakka' for Vodafone by JWT Cairo, Egypt
By far the cleverest shopper marketing idea of 2013, Vodafone addressed Egypt's scarcity of small change currency by creating low value micro recharge phone cards that could be used by shops in place of small change. Opening up an innovative new distribution channel earned Vodafone a Gold Lion, a seven percent increase in average revenue per user and the Grand Prix at the 2013 MENA Effies.
4. 'Life Signs' for La Voz del Interior by Ogilvy & Mather Buenos Aires, Argentina
This CSR campaign for Argentinian newspaper La Voz used the mangled wrecks of real car crashes as warning billboards placed on main highways. The confronting power of using actual crash remnants instead of contrived billboard images reduced speeding violations by 40 percent and drink driving incidents by 50 percent, earning Gold at both the Cannes Lions and Argentinian Effies in 2013.
5. 'Oreo Daily Twist' for Oreo by DraftFCB, USA
To celebrate 100 years in existence, Oreo created 100 topical ads over 100 days showing the trending news of the day through the playful eyes of an Oreo cookie. A social media runaway train, this campaign became a lesson in how to create modern engagement for a heritage brand. Despite a 28 percent drop in media spend, the campaign drove a four percent sales increase for one of America's most mature supermarket brands, winning Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes and Gold at the North American Effies in 2013.
6. 'Proud Sponsor of Moms' for Procter & Gamble by Wieden + Kennedy, USA
Brand strategy at its finest, this campaign created a believable and meaningful cause for P&G during the Olympics. A big idea capable of being executed with incisive relevance everywhere in the world, 'Proud Sponsor of Moms' delivered $200M incremental sales, with retailers who activate the programme reporting a five to 20 percent sales uplift. This Gold Integrated Lion winning campaign went on to win Gold at the 2013 North American Effies.
7. 'Real Beauty Sketches' for Dove by Ogilvy, Brazil
Arguably the most powerful execution of Dove's remarkable Campaign for Real Beauty, 'Real Beauty Sketches' won a ridiculous nine Gold Cannes Lions as well as the Titanium Grand Prix. With 74 million YouTube views, this local Brazilian campaign captivated the world, going on to win Gold at the 2013 Brazilian Effies.
8. 'Small Business Saturday' for American Express by Crispin, Porter & Bogusky and Digitas, USA
Proving that B2B campaigns can be as creative as any, American Express' 'Small Business Saturday' won two Cannes Grand Prix in 2012. After being declared an official day by the US Senate, being tweeted about by Obama and reaching 74 percent consumer awareness, the campaign created $5.5B in independent merchant sales on Small Business Saturday, earning AMEX two Golds at the 2013 North American Effies.
9. 'The Great Paper Airplane Project' for Pima Air & Space Museum by BBDO San Francisco and Becore, USA
To attract a younger audience to Arizona's Pima Air & Space Museum, BBDO created a 45 foot paper airplane modeled off the winner of a paper plane school competition. This 2012 Gold Lion winning flight of fancy captured the imagination of young Americans, doubling the percentage of 26-40 year old visitors and making 2012 the biggest year ever in terms of Pima attendance. The campaign earned Gold at the 2013 North American Effies.
10. 'The Liberation' for Only Jeans by UncleGrey, Copenhagen & Stockholm, Denmark & Sweden
With this film-cum-game-cum-catalogue, Scandinavian fashion brand Only Jeans reimagined retail for the digital age, creating an interactive story throughout which any character's clothing could be identified, explored and bought. 'The Liberation' won a Gold Cyber Lion, and after online store traffic increased 442 percent and sales doubled, the campaign took home a Gold Euro Effie.
11. 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' for Dos Equis by Havas Worldwide New York, USA
This perennial favourite has, over many years, transformed Dos Equis from a little known Mexican beer into a cultural icon in the US market. Winning Gold Lions in 2010 and 2013, 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' earned $38M worth of free media from parodies alone. In a category that has declined nearly five percent, Dos Equis has experienced double-digit sales growth for five consecutive years, earning Gold in Sustained Success at the 2013 North American Effies.
12. 'Why Wait Until It’s Too Late?' for Dela Funeral Insurance by Ogilvy & Mather, The Netherlands
That we're foolish to wait to eulogize our loved ones until after they're gone is powerfully obvious. In connecting an awkward product with a wonderful human insight, Dela Funeral Insurance won the 2013 Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix. And after becoming one of the ten best-known brands in The Netherlands and growing sales 50 percent it won a Gold Dutch Effie.
- James Hurman is the managing director of Y&R NZ and in 2013 was named the top planning director in the world by the Big Won report for his work with Colenso BBDO. In 2011 he published The Case for Creativity, which summarised two decades of evidence of the link between imaginative marketing and commercial success.
- This article originally appeared on thegunnreport.com.