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Cannes Lions 2011: BBDO & Gillette’s W.A.L.S. wows in Creative Effectiveness

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Cannes Lions 2011: BBDO & Gillette’s W.A.L.S. wows in Creative Effectiveness

The first time Creative Effectiveness Lions was announced, the general feeling from India was, “difficult to win”. Some were more forthright and said, “No chance”, and the feeling prevailed all seven days of the festival too until the Creative Effectiveness winners were announced on the last day of the Festival. BBDO India’s W.A.L.S, Women Against Lazy Stubble, done for P&G’s Gillette, proved everyone wrong by winning India a Creative Effectiveness Lion in the inaugural year of the category.

Creative Effectiveness Lion for Respect
For Cannes Lions organisers, Creative Effectiveness comes in the same rung as the coveted Titanium and Integrated Lions. And this was reflected in the points system of the Festival too. A prerequisite to enter in this category is that the work should have won a Lion in the previous year. Philip Thomas, Festival CEO, explained, “The category will measure the effectiveness of those pieces of work that won last year, and what they did for the marketer in the last year. This was an extremely complex and difficult to get right category. Entrants were encouraged to enter a document with as much information on the work as possible. After we reviewed, if necessary, we would send it back to the organisation. The next step was to send the work to PricewaterhouseCoopers, who too would, if necessary, send it back to the agency for improvement.

The jury played a key role in helping Cannes Lions to design this category. Jury President Jean-Marie Dru, Chairman, TBWA\Worldwide, put together a team from the jury, headed by Giles Hedger, Group Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett, to hone various aspects of this category so that it could be truly reflective of the difference that communication made to the client’s objectives.

Dru said, “There is a link between creativity and effectiveness and now we can see it for real. A category like this would draw more respect for a forum like Cannes Lions. We must also remember that just because something was not awarded does not mean that work was not creative. Sometimes the cases were not entered with enough information, or there was too much disconnect between the communication and the results.”

The jury was clear that it would study every entry very well. And hence, 142 entries in the category looked like a large enough number. The jury looked for crisp articulation of the strategy and then gave its points on three dimensions – Strategy, Creative Idea and Effectiveness. Strategy and Creative Idea were 25 per cent, and the remaining 50 per cent was for Effectiveness.

Elaborating on the India win, jury member Nirvik Singh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Grey Group APAC, said, “W.A.L.S was a disruptive idea. It had a direct correlation between the idea and the objective that they had to achieve.”

Dru added, “W.A.L.S did better than some of the other winners in the category. It was amongst the top two or three. And Gillette is a big client. This was very good work and very innovative. It was easy for us to isolate the communication and verify how effective it was for the client.”

The Grand Prix went to Abbott Mead Wickers BBDO, United Kingdom, for PepsiCo’s Walkers. Dru explained, “In the case of Walkers, the entry proved beyond reasonable doubt that the impact on the brand’s performance was due to the communication.”

The jury members also pointed out that the entry packaging in this category’s case made all the difference. And entries from the UK had an advantage, because they knew how to enter, due to the effectiveness awards in the UK. Singh observed, “The rigour and the data that we saw in the UK entries were of a much higher quality.”

The inaugural jury had spent significant time on formulating the nuances of this category itself, so that in future years, the category would retain its original objective of measuring effectiveness. The questionnaire built by Cannes Lions was very precise, and each winning entry would be submitted in a white paper format to explain the reason of the win. The category attempts to award work that has directly impacted the marketer’s business objective.


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