adam&eveDDB John Lewis home of thoughtful gifting

Cannes Lions 2023

Creative Effectiveness: Cannes 2023 Decoded

Adam&eveDDB scoops a Silver Lion while Ogilvy's Mumbai division bags the Grand Prix

By Creative Salon

Adam&eveDDB has won a Silver Lion in the Creative Effectiveness Cannes Lions category for its work with John Lewis.

Though the agency declined to re-pitch for the account and parted ways with the brand recently, over the years adam&eveDDB has created a series of captivating Christmas ads for John Lewis. From Buster the boxer to Monty the penguin, the campaigns have not only garnered excitement and anticipation but have also had nearly seven billion impressions and brought in £1.2 billion in incremental sales, solidifying John Lewis as one of the most loved brands in the UK.

As for the Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category, the big prize was awarded to Ogilvy's Mumbai division for its campaign for Mondelez's Cadbury Celebrations.

The 'Shah Rukh Khan-My-Ad' work saw the chocolate brand collaborate with the Indian actor to support local retailers during Diwali. Different versions of the same ad with local store names were targeted as per the pin code of the viewer showing them only near-by stores.

Three separate Gold Lions were also awarded to Rethink for its 'Heinz Draw Ketchup' campaign for Kraft Heinz, Africa Creative DDB for its 'Foamy Haircut' campaign for Brahma and Leo Burnett for its 'Invaluable Food' campaign for Madrid Fusion.

Rethink's Heinz work saw the brand anonymously ask people all over the world to 'draw ketchup'. With the majority drawing Heinz, the campaign received international acclaim and also boosted social engagement by 1496 per cent and sales by 11 per cent.

Overall, a total of 16 Lions were distributed in the Creative Effectiveness category: one Grand Prix, three Golds, five Silvers and seven Bronzes.

The Creative Effectiveness Lions hail the measurable impact of creative work.

The Judges Said....

Ete Davies, Chief Operating Officer, EMEA at Dentsu Creative was one of the prestigious jurors and this is what he had to say...

Cannes Lions 2023 was an eye-opening experience. It was the third time I had attended the world-famous festival, but my first time as an awards judge in the Creative Effectiveness category. As well as being a huge honour, sitting on a Cannes jury is a great opportunity to take a step back from your day job and consider the industry with a more objective eye. With the festival celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, and with so much turmoil and uncertainty in the wider world, it was fascinating to see how the age-old debate of purpose vs profit played out amongst this year’s big winners.

I have always found the purpose vs profit argument to be reductive. As an industry we should strive to do both; working with our clients to ensure purpose-led work is authentic and logically connected to the brand’s business ecosystem and value chain. There is lots of evidence to show that when purpose is done well, profits follow. Most importantly, purpose matters to customers and delivers long-term, sustainable growth.

Just consider the sheer scale of the issues that now dominate the news. War. Climate change. The cost of living crisis. The ongoing battle for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Brands cannot operate in a vacuum, pretending that these issues don’t matter to their customers, or to their own bottom lines. Purpose and profit are more interlinked than ever before. It was telling that many of the Grand Prix winners at Cannes Lions 2023 managed to achieve this authentic and effective balance of purpose vs profit, especially in the Creative Business Transformation (Microsoft), Creative Strategy (Renault) and Creative Effectiveness (Cadbury) categories. These awards are arguably the clearest business cases for how creativity can deliver tangible economic impact, drive innovation and brand competitiveness.

From a personal perspective, I must also commend Cannes Lions for its commitment to DEI on its juries. The festival is exceptional at bringing together global, diverse perspectives and local market insights, ensuring that jury evaluations are as rigorous and fair as possible. Juries are gender-balanced, ability inclusive, culturally and globally representative, and contain some of the best established and ‘rising’ creative talent in the world. Following my thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating experience as a judge on the Creative Effectiveness jury, I’ve put together some top tips for how to turn a Cannes Lions submission into an awards contender.

Hone your storytelling skills

It might sound obvious, but the quality of the submission paper is key – especially when it comes to judges deliberating between the higher awards of Gold and Grand Prix. In many cases, the creative work and the results will be exceptional across the board, so the differentiator becomes the story and information conveyed in the submission. This is particularly true in the Creative Effectiveness category. Have a read of the Cannes Lions/WARC Creative Effectiveness Ladder and use this to frame how you tell the overall story of your submission.

Balance detail with brevity

Unsurprisingly, the volume of submissions is extraordinarily large. In the first and second rounds, judges could be reviewing in excess of 150 different pieces of work, with many trying to fit this around their day jobs and lives. The art is to balance being comprehensive in the details of the submission, but also as succinct and specific as possible. Clearly signpost the reader to the business context, objectives, insight, results and challenges overcome in making the work. Remember too that the appendix is the opportunity to provide supplementary information and data wherever possible, to help keep the main submission succinct. It’s there to provide additional information and context so try to avoid filling it with designed presentations which regurgitate your written submission or case film. If you can afford to make a case film, it's highly advisable, but again ensure that this is both comprehensive and succinct.

Context is critical

You're not in the room with the judges, so don’t rely on them to make assumptions or investigations that will fill in the gaps in your submission. Provide not just the market context for your sector, but also the specific context for each of your objectives and what it meant in terms of the challenges you overcame. Clearly delineate the hierarchy between the business, brand and customer objectives, directly relating each to the core challenge of the brief and what the baseline KPI for each objective was.

Be transparent and comprehensive. Too many questions get asked and challenges raised due to unclear or missing information, especially in the ‘discounting factors’ and ‘additional context’ sections. If possible, never leave these blank, even if you perceive it may have a negative perception on the tangible effectiveness of the work. You can be assured those questions are already being asked and being transparent with discounting factors is more likely to help the judges in evaluation, as opposed to leaving them to assume what the factors were. Remember it’s an international jury, so insights on local market conditions and consumers are critical, especially if the insight is a unique and defining element of the idea.

Clearly connect creativity with ROI

If you’re entering an effectiveness category, it might be tempting to skip over the finer details of the creative idea. In fact, it’s extremely important to highlight any creative firsts, leaps of innovation or challenges you overcame in getting to the final idea. This all adds to the colour and context that judges consider. If purpose is a big part of the campaign story, speak to the challenges and sensitivities that you had to contend with as you developed your idea. And of course, when it comes to results, be very specific about the methodology used. ROI is measured differently in almost every organisation. The strongest entries are those which can prove a clear correlation between brilliant work and brilliant impact. It helps to ‘show your workings’.


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