Advertising rewards inspire competition and drive industry excellence

In today’s fast-paced marketplace, where competition for ideas is fierce, striving to win during awards season is more pronounced — and adds value — than ever.

But it’s not just about recognition from peers and customers, or headlines.

Market evidence shows that the broader awards ecosystem and its culture of always striving for the iconic is driving higher levels of excellence, which is a win for the industry as a whole.

McKinsey Researchfor example, analyzed 16 years of data from the Cannes Lions Trophies and it was a clear victory for the validity of advertising rewards. The most creative companies performed better financially and were more innovative than their peers.

About 70% of the most creative companies achieved above-average organic revenue growth and total shareholder return.

“In these remarkable times dominated by a global pandemic and massive news flows across various platforms competing for consumers’ attention, ads can only be interruptions, so creativity is key to making messages stand out” , says Keith Manning, Executive Creative Director at TBWAHuntLascaris Johannesburg.

Manning adds, “Tough times inevitably prompt difficult attitudes and demand that campaigns not only be creative, but add additional value by winning contracts. Creativity is now tied to extensive testing, refinement and originality must meet the demands of an increasingly digitally driven market. .”

Manning says, “It’s a testing arena where every hard-earned advertising rand is returned twice before it’s spent, and measurability, return on investment (ROI), and growing market share are markers of success. “

The myth that award-winning designs require big budgets has also been debunked.

“Big budgets don’t rule creativity. What drives creativity are relationships. Creativity is born and thrives when an agency absorbs the ethos of a brand and is immersed in the culture, communications, strategies and its client’s operational requirements,” adds Kagiso Tshepe, Chief Creative Officer at Grid Worldwide.

Add marketers and teams confident enough to let the agency follow their creative instincts and sometimes defy conventional wisdom, and the result is skyrocketing campaigns.

The mundane “me too” work that often satisfies conservative business leaders is replaced with memorable, award-winning messaging and content that:

  • build brands
  • boosts brand affinity, and
  • encourages consumer interaction.

According to Manning and Tshepe, the most important skill of award-winning creativity is to take the ordinary and elevate it into an eye-catching, compelling creative campaign that meets needs.

In the case of MTN, this has been achieved by encouraging community action through the 2021 ‘Y’ello Hope’ campaign. The aim – to support the government in persuading people to wear masks during the Covid pandemic -19.

“The ‘WearItForMe’ campaign ran simultaneously across multiple MTN African regions. The basis of the campaign was MTN Group’s desire to move Covid-19 mask-wearing from grudging compliance to desirable action. The use of guilt had to give way to emotional appeal and conformity,” Manning says.

Manning adds: “The central idea was that Africa is a dynamic, multi-generational society. Cultures across the continent emphasize respect, love and care for the elderly, the people who are also most susceptible to the virus.

“The multigenerational message behind the campaign was to do something good for others, not just yourself, by evoking personal identity and realizing the role each person can play in the lives of those who matter most. “says Manning.

Manning adds, “The chosen trigger was the most influential people in the world – our mothers and our mother figures. When African mothers talk to their children, they listen – something that happened when mothers via MTN said, “Wear it for me”.

At the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, Joburg Ballet faced a reality in which the young and diverse audience it needed saw ballet as “old-fashioned” and “stale”.

Manning says, “Step into ‘Breaking Ballet,’ eight miniature ballet films inspired by the stories that drove the conversations of the day. We’ve tapped into everything from pop culture and societal issues to international boxing bouts to develop the films within days, which means they were still highly relevant.”

“The return on investment measured by free advertising was 560%, with 24 million media impressions recorded. The viewer engagement rate was 91%, well above the industry average, and the social following was 31%. More importantly, ticket sales hit an all-time high, and audience ages fell to an all-time low,” Manning adds,

“We must remember that award-winning ads and creative campaigns are tangible measures of success for marketing and advertising professionals,” Manning says.

According to Tshepe, marketers are demanding more creativity from their agencies and only looking for those with the drive and reputation to run campaigns that lead locally and can compete on the global stage.

“Awards are a testament to an agency’s ability to build brands. Using awards as indicators of an agency’s capabilities ensures that the bar is set high and remains as a partnership between the agency and the customer grows and matures,” says Tshepe.

Manning adds, “The Loeris rewarding excellence for 40 years. TBWASouth Africa’s reputation as The Disruption Company means we are always in competition for attention. And it pays.”

“We won the Creative Circle General Ranking Agency and Group of the year four times in a row and 103 local and international awards over the past three years. We will always be contenders for the accolades that place our clients and their brands at the forefront of advertising excellence,” concludes Manning.

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