Creative effectiveness: what we’ve learned from French Cannes winners

Creative quality contributes to nearly 50% of media impact far surpassing reach or frequency of touch-points. Learn how you can make the most of the triple impact of advertising effectiveness.
26 July 2023
Head of Brand Guidance, Media & Creative, Kantar Insights France

Head of Brand Guidance, Media & Creative, Kantar Insights France

The business effectiveness of advertising is the somewhat magical result of an alchemy between the creativity of the content and the creativity in orchestrating touch-points, with creative quality at its core. Creative quality contributes to nearly 50% of media impact far surpassing reach or frequency of touch-points, according to Kantar CrossMedia database. And when we add the synergy effects provided by powerful and consistent creativity deployed across all media, it contributes as much as 55%.

The driving power of creativity is therefore essential and must be considered at all stages of campaign development. However, it is often underestimated by market players who tend to focus their efforts on media strategies and investments.

To demonstrate the major contribution of creativity to the impact of advertising on business, the French Association of Communications Agencies (AACC), Media Figaro, and Kantar Insights have had an unprecedented partnership since 2022. Campaigns judged as creative by professionals and winners of creative awards have been tested through Kantar’s Link ad testing methodology, which assesses three areas of performance.

 - Media Impact: effective advertising maximizes the impact of media spending by minimizing wastage. It leaves a strong and lasting brand impression
 - Commercial impact: it also works to build brand awareness and thus has an impact on sales 
 - Brand impact:  enhances brand equity by strengthening emotional connection and brand differentiation.

By combining these factors, we ensure that advertising is effective and generates short- and medium-term business results.

Creativity plays a significant role in this triple impact but can also be a catalyst in creating the most effective cross-media campaigns, according to Kantar CrossMedia database. The mandate to consistently integrate all campaign touchpoints while adapting them may seem impossible - without the power of creative ideas!

There is no magic formula to ensure optimal creative effectiveness, but we have identified five pillars that characterize the best campaigns tested by Kantar:

1. Elicit a strong emotional response to generate attention and evoke branded memories at the moment of purchase, like 97% of the creative campaigns we tested. 

 - CANAL+ “Wakany”, created by BETC  young French people can strongly relate with the characters and live the same emotional journey. As a result, the ad reaches the Top 1% in Expressiveness (instinctive emotions captured by Facial Coding).
  - “The Milkmaid” (Ogilvy), La Laitière  overcomes the technical side of AI to make French consumers dive into the famous Vermeer painting, helped by the emotional power of music. They like it a lot   and find it highly engaging (top 17% and 4%).

2. Be original to highlight the brand's uniqueness. Stand out, leave a memorable trace in an advertising-saturated context. Almost all creative campaigns we tested can make the brand more different by saying or doing something only this brand could say or do. 
 - For example, with “Smile for a change - Bus” UK campaign, developed by VMLY&R, Colgate   offers a mobile dental service on board of its bus to provide essential oral care to those who need it most and shows something new while staying true to its long-term commitment to supporting the dental health, something highly legitimate and which resonates with today concerns of British living in big cities. As a result, it defined a new maximum score for Brand Difference.

3. Show you understand your audience better than any other brand to reflect how they feel, engage them, and spark positive emotions. 

 - Among the creative campaigns we tested, Honda “The Beautiful Fail” (DDB) and Oasis “One Peach” (Marcel) did it very well. They both succeeded in connecting with those interested in motor sports and Japanese comics: as they share the same passion, it truly resonates with the audience and makes the brand more desirable in the short and long-term.

4. Place the brand at the heart of the creative work. The attention captured by the advertisement should primarily benefit the brand.

 - Amazon Prime Video “Dubbing Factory” (Herezie) scores in the Top 9% in Branding. By inviting users to become one of the next French voices of their favourite series, this first 100% TikTok challenge is not only highly engaging but also perfectly integrates the brand. 

5. Promote purposeful innovation , either because the innovation is an answer to a tension and/or it brings the brand commitments further, so it perfectly makes sense to consumers.

 - With “Plug Inn” (Publicis), Renault reveals its revolutionary app that removes the main obstacle to electric vehicles: the lack of charging stations. Highly engaged (Top 1%), French people appreciate that Renault understood the issue and found a solution, which can motivate them to buy a Renault car in the future (Top 23%). 

With “Reaverse” (m_nstr_), Guerlain uses technology to the benefit of its long-term commitment toward bees. Those aware of the metaverse are engaged, like to learn more about the brand and find it more attractive.

Among the 65 award-winning campaigns in 2022 and 2023, tested within the "Creativity is Business" partnership (at Cannes, the Grand Prix Stratégies de la Publicité, and the Effies), 97% score in the top 33% of the most effective ads in Kantar's Link ad testing database. Also, 97% have a Media Impact (among the most enjoyable and/or the most engaging campaigns), and 77% have short- or long-term impact on sales (among the most persuasive and/or the best brand-building campaigns).

Creativity is business.

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