Editorial: The creativity-effectiveness continuum

How the two areas are more connected than you might think.

Strategy recently took a trip to Montreal and, as usual, it was inspiring to see the unique local, national and global work coming out of Quebec. This issue contains some of those ideas, like Lg2’s green gaming concept, and a Q&A with L’Oréal CMO Marie-Josée Lamothe on the company’s digital makeover.

One thing that struck me is how many people we met proudly promoted the accomplishments of other Montreal shops and brands. I’m attributing it to the strides the AAPQ has been making at events like Ad Week in the U.S., where the Quebec industry has been gaining profile with a highly visible unified force.

As you read this, Ad Week in Canada has just begun, with the CASSIES once again kicking things off. This issue contains all the winners in digest case form, so dive in for jaw-dropping nuggets like the Canadian Tourism Commission’s 101:1 ROI.

When it comes to outpacing the industry in troubled travel times, the Grand Prix winner, Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism, has gained so much traction that it’s able to launch a winter tourism push this year. Exploring the doors that great advertising has opened for brands and agencies is a theme we also investigate in the Creative Report Card (CRC), the tally of the winningest Canadian campaigns.

While the CASSIES are included, the majority of the award shows in the CRC prize creativity over results, yet we’ve noticed a creativity-effectiveness continuum. Taxi and DDB had the most CASSIES-winning cases with five apiece, followed by John St. with four, JWT with three and Leo Burnett with two – all agencies that came out at or near the top of strategy’s CRC. In fact, the majority of the CASSIES-winning agencies are in the top 20. There’s a clear causal link between creativity and ad effectiveness, perhaps more than ever, as media weight has less impact.

The CASSIES Gold-winning James Ready program from Leo Burnett – the top agency and brand on the CRC – is a case in point. Based on its success thus far (including a Silver Lion last year), the brand is poised to expand west and into the tap and can market. The James Ready case is also the inaugural winner of the Globe Creative Effectiveness Prize, which awards delegate passes to the Cannes Lions for an agency and a brand team member and an entry into the Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions category.

Why is this important? In addition to showcasing  effectiveness at home, there’s an industry-wide advantage to furthering Canada’s reputation on the world stage. As Cannes continues to matter more to marketers, this is an area that should be developed, and Canada – according to pages 31 to 68 – is rather good at the ROI thing.

This issue also notes the addition of a new category in the Globe and Mail’s Young Lions competition, and I’m happy to say it’s Young Marketers. An expat Canadian, Scott Goodson of New York-based StrawberryFrog, sparked the Young Marketers competition back in 2010, so it’s fitting that Canada’s top talent can now compete for a shot at Cannes.

Since advertising operates in a creativity-effectiveness continuum, more solidarity, more inclusion and fewer silos are needed across the agency and brand board – and that includes awards shows. That’s why new efforts like Young Marketers competing for Lions matter. Plus, whoever wins earns a horizons-expanding week in Cannes, so it’s pretty good ROI.

Cheers, mm
Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy, Media in Canada and stimulant