Creativity + La Colombe d'Or


+ Creativity
+ Content
+ Social Purpose
+ Commercial Return

While the memories of beach parties and standing ovations at Cannes Lions 2015 are beginning to fade it is worth thinking again of the value of creativity. Long before the Cannes Lions opened its doors, another Cannes institution, La Colombe d'Or, was exchanging a stay and a few meals for pieces of art... that was the value then and now full of the art of Miro, Leger, Braque and Chagall we know the true value of those creative pieces.

With the Cannes Lions going from strength to strength and with the number of clients visiting up again we must ask why do brands and their agencies care about whether their campaigns are creative enough to win... and perhaps what those, that don't, have to loose.

There is no doubt that the stock of creativity is rising; We are seeing the blurring of B2B and B2C communications into B2H communications as all sectors see the value of creativity. While we might not be producing the next Miro sculpture any time soon, we are seeing the value of creativity rise and instinctively know this is good, but why?

Creativity +

In 2011 Cannes changed its name from the International Advertising Festival to the International Festival of Creativity. The new festival had eighteen award categories including: Creative Effectiveness, PR and Branded Content alongside the more traditional Film Craft, Design and Outdoor. It was a move away from a dedicated focus on advertising to embrace the creativity of communications in all its forms. Since then we have seen the introduction of further Lions to explore creativity, in 2015 the Glass Lions to address issues of gender inequality or prejudice and in 2014 a whole new festival, the Healthcare Lions.

This change reflects the evolution of brand communications and value of creativity in those campaigns and programs; whatever the sector or audience we know the most effective campaigns use and cross multiple media channels and don't existing solely in the bought media space. We are seeing the rise of B2H communications (1) delivering some of the most creative and effective campaigns in previously little considered categories. The best and most creative ideas are able to jump channel, change ownership between brand and consumer and become part of a constant conversation. What we know from practical experience in the communications industry is now reflected in the awards.

The Healthcare industry is seeing some of the most interesting work as consumers take more control of their 'wellness'... a great example is Samsung Backup Memory for Alzheimer's patients delivering real change.

Healthcare Lions Gold 2015 / Samsung Tunisia (

+ Content

While we have yet to see real-time campaigns win big at the Lions, it is hard to demonstrate the ‘big idea’ or create the ‘tear jerker’ response in 365-24 communications but we are seeing creativity driving campaigns that are effective and are beginning to break though… Miserable in Puerto Rico, although perhaps more reactive than 365-24 is perhaps one of the first and won a Gold and Silver Lions in 2015.

Lions Gold 2015 / Miserable in Puerto Rico (

+ Purpose

Social Purpose or purpose has continued to be one of the major themes for Cannes and campaigns that demonstrate real change and social purpose have been big winners over the last couple of years. As we see the alignment of communications, from CSR to brand, corporate to internal purpose is becoming more and more important. The same level of creativity is being applied to a social purpose campaign is showing its effectiveness as it has always on the 'glossy' brand campaigns.

Multiple award winner Cannes Lions 2015 / Like a Girl (

+ Commercial Return

Jonathan Mildenhall pointed out that companies that had won the Advertiser of the Year Award (now the Creative Marketer of the Year Award) often enjoyed a commensurate period of financial success. In each year preceding their win the companies had recorded an all-time high share price or sales success.

“… At MacDonald’s we’ve seen ROI 54% higher with Creative that wins at Cannes Lions than Creative that doesn’t.”

Matt Beispiel, Sr. - Director of Global Brand Development at McDonalds

A combined analysis of the companies that won the Advertiser of the Year between 2000 and 2009 showed an average 41% stock market growth in the year they won the award versus growth overall in the S&P500 of just 0.5%.

Cannes is just one example of the link between creativity and commercial success. James Hurman continues in his book ‘The Case for Creativity’ (5) by examining the link in more detail. He examined research undertaken by Peter Field, an independent contractor to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the IPA, in 2010. Field had studied 257 IPA Effectiveness award winning campaigns since 2000. He compared campaigns that had won a major award to those that hadn’t, and measured their relative effectiveness. His first finding was that the creatively awarded campaigns were 11x more effective at generating market share increase. The second and perhaps more interesting is that creatively awarded campaigns were statistically much more likely to achieve that result. The less awarded campaigns were not only less efficient but also less predictable than the creatively awarded ones. This suggests a departure from the conventional wisdom to a more creative approach is a ‘riskier’ one!

“Creatively awarded campaigns generate 11x more market share growth than non-Creatively awarded campaigns.”

Alexus Nasard, Chief Commercial Officer at Heineken

Perhaps the most interesting point that Hurman makes in conclusion is that there is no research to contradict his findings. The most creative campaigns are the most effective at delivering a return.

All the evidence points to the fact that the value of creativity continues to grow. We must focus on working with our clients to produce award winning work; we must look at ways to create a culture that allows creativity to flourish and grow; we must shine a spotlight on the best creative ideas and celebrate it. Above all else we must strive for creative excellence in everything we do because this is what will allow us to produce the most effective work for our clients.

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search