cannes lions creative effectiveness: 
insights from the 2016 awards

What can you learn from this year’s Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness Awards winners, shortlisted entries and Jury?

What insights and tips can you pick up from over 100 Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness entries? What helped the winners create work with measurable and proven business impact? Read the 2016 Cannes Lions analysis report to explore how:

1. Big budgets deliver big profits

This year the judges deliberately focused on campaigns that delivered a profit, resulting in a more ‘traditional’ set of winners – big brands with big budgets. An example is the Grand Prix winner 'Monty's Christmas' from UK retailer John Lewis, built around an emotional Christmas TV ad. Read the report to see how it became the most watched Christmas ad of 2014, with John Lewis enjoying a record increase in sales (£179 million taken in a single week) and an ROI of 8:1.

2. Online leads, but traditional media overperform

Digital media featured heavily in the campaign mix. For example, social was the most widely used channel and lead channel. But 2016 was a strong year for ‘traditional’ channels with TV the second-biggest ‘lead’ medium. Radio, outdoor and cinema also all overindexed. Silver winner Under Armour created a multi-channel campaign using digital videos, TV, OOH and a live web experience. Find out how the ads generated over 10 million views, resulting in 5 billion media impressions.

3. Emotion works when it aids memorability

Emotion was a widely used creative approach reflecting how emotional appeal drives results. A neuroscientific analysis of the Grand Prix winner found that the John Lewis ad’s emotional peak coincided with a strong response in terms of memory encoding. In other words, emotional appeal and memorability work together in effective advertising. The power of emotion can also be seen in Silver Winner Media Markt, Germany's biggest electronics retailer, who created a live race between real Easter bunnies. Over 21m people watched the live races on TV and the Internet, and consumers spent on average €8.60 more than in the previous year.

4. ‘Real-time’ effectiveness is an emerging challenge

Although effectiveness is still largely backward-looking, the challenge is increasingly being able to identify real-time effectiveness indicators. This can be seen in a Gold winning campaign from The Economist. The campaign was built around online content and programmatic technology, following what content was working with the target audience in real time, and evolving the strategy during the campaign. In 9 days it hit 50% of target – 650,000 new prospects – hitting full target in 5 weeks.

WarcAre you a Warc subscriber? Log-in to view the report

Read the full report