Adland creativity misses the mark on branding

5 months ago

Many ads winning creative awards are failing to deliver meaningful branding and so limiting their effectiveness, according to research from Kantar.

The data and insights company analysed 25 Cannes Lions winners across five markets using its own ad creative pre-testing solution and benchmarked the results against its database of almost 200,000 ads, including previous Cannes winners.

The research found that this year’s winners were only 50% as effective at long-term brand building compared to five years earlier.

The key issue, according to Kantar, is poor branding: just one quarter of the 2019 Cannes award winners were easily linked to the brand, it said, and in certain cases consumers were unable to even remember what category an ad was for.

The content also struggled to make the brand meaningful to consumers. In seeking a ‘shock’ factor to build emotional engagement, several winners failed to achieve high enjoyment levels – suggesting that the ads do not trigger the right emotion.

But as Martin Guerrieria, Global BrandZ Research Director, has pointed out in an article for WARC (How to maximise the power of brand assets), ads are just one part of how a brand registers with consumers: point of sale, interaction and consumption for example are just as important, he says.

“The key is making a brand distinctive at all potential consumer touchpoints – and that requires strong brand assets.” Marketers need to identify what those are and then think in terms of longevity and consistency. Minimise any need for the consumer to ‘work’, he advises.

In this context, the notion of ‘fluent devices’  is particularly effective, according to System1 research. Long-running characters, and to a lesser extent slogans, help drive market share gain and also profit gain (How the ‘Fluent Device’ leads to long-term profit gain).

Kantar’s limited study also backs up Peter Field’s research in the IPA Databank, unveiled in a WARC session at Cannes, which found that the effectiveness of campaigns that win awards for creativity has plummeted in the past decade amid an “orgy of short-termism” that wins plaudits and quick sales, but does nothing to build a brand.

“There has been a growth in short-termism across the board,” said Field, “but it seems creative awards judges have been particularly entranced, and seduced by, what many people would regard as disposable creativity – these ideas that are in the market briefly, are very novel and then are gone.”

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