Every June, advertising luminaries from across the planet gather at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. And every year the sunshine on the French Riviera produces deep insights as well as deep tans.

Naturally, in this Covid-cursed year, the 2020 festival was a purely online affair. But, despite being a "no Cannes do" it has once again produced something everyone with a marketing budget needs to know about.

The ultimate guide to achieving effectiveness

With a severe economic downturn likely to follow the pandemic, true effectiveness has never been more vital for every business with a marketing budget. With perfect timing, this year's Cannes centrepiece takes the study of effectiveness to a whole new level with The Effectiveness Code.

The authors are two of the world's leading effectiveness experts, James Hurman and Peter Field, and they analysed almost 5000 successful campaigns from practically every country and sector to discover:

  • What effectiveness really is
  • What all the most effective campaigns have in common.

You can read the full, fascinating report here, but let's cut to the chase. Their big discovery is something they call Creative Commitment.

Big results doesn’t have to mean big budgets

If you're suspicious that Creative Commitment just means committing more money to your budget, rest assured it doesn't.

"Marketers have three levers," say the authors "spend, duration and number of media channels, and pulling any of these levers will give their work an effectiveness advantage. Even at existing budget levels, campaign effectiveness can be  increased by running for longer and spreading across more media channels."

In short, you can get the best value by showing patience and running it across a diversity of media. Short-termism and over-reliance on one comms channel are the enemies of effectiveness.

ROI is not the best measure

The report authors are particularly brutal about the concept of Return on Investment. It is sometimes seen as synonymous with effectiveness, but instead they portray it as the opposite: the epitome of short-termism.

"Businesses, marketers and their agencies have become over-focused on ROI, especially the very short-term measures that are derived from Big Data. If we want to maximise ROI we have two choices: maximise profit growth (difficult) or minimise investment (much easier)."

Prioritising ROI has led to an emphasis on creating short-lived spikes in sales, because this can drive budgets down. "Mediocre growth at minute cost equals magnificent ROI." Creative Commitment is the antidote to this self-defeating short-termism. Thought-provoking stuff.

Take the effectiveness ladder to success

To help marketers and agencies achieve effectiveness through Creative Commitment, Hurman and Field, have developed The Creative Effectiveness Ladder. This is a hierarchy for assessing campaigns in terms of effectiveness with six levels.

Level One is an Influential Idea that will over-achieve on campaign metrics. Good but not great. Level Six is an Enduring Icon that will generate long-term brand and sales growth. The Holy Grail.

No substitute for the right strategy and creativity

Hurman and Field are quick to add that Creative Commitment can only amplify great strategy and creativity, not replace them. The report's other big conclusion is that "creatively awarded campaigns are much more effective overall, and at every level of Creative Commitment". That's where we come in.

At BBI we believe passionately in effectiveness, and are constantly learning from the best brains in the industry. But above all we are here to provide the outstanding creativity that makes commitment worthwhile.  

If you are looking for the ideal blend of science and art, we've got a lot to talk about.

By Tristan Morris

Brand and Planning Director

Design Digital Content Creation

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