The Cannes Debrief: A Two-Fold Effectiveness
24 July 2020

View our Cannes Lions Live Debrief here

A small slice of normality was felt when Cannes Lions announced it would be taking its renowned festival online. For five hours a day during the week that would have seen the Croisette filled with industry folk waxing lyrical about the world-class content, we could turn all the lights on in our new home offices, pour a rosé and lose ourselves pretending we were on the French Riviera.

We have pulled out three themes we feel are prudent to focus on, as we look to H2 2020 and beyond, and highlighted the sessions we think you must watch, along with further recommendations (all clickable from the PDF). We also share our point-of-view on the theme; offering you solutions, tangible advice, and ways in which we can offer added value. The third theme we explore is called A Two-Fold Effectiveness.



How can brands assess whether they are striking the right balance between short-term and long-term focused marketing?

For all businesses there is a big pressure on achieving short-term results with the most efficient ROI. With econometrics and attribution modelling focusing on short-term results now widespread, the focus
has truly shifted to support the activations which will have the quickest return. The prioritisation of short-term objectives is not only affecting long-term brand growth but also has a direct effect on all key decisions we make around budget allocations, audience targeting, media platforms, campaign durations, creative objectives, creative strategies and how we measure success.


OMD Must Watch: The Effectiveness Code

Cannes Lions Live 2020 invited James Hurman & Peter Field to present ‘Cracking the Effectiveness Code’, a new analysis aimed at helping brands address the creative effectiveness crisis, impacting the bottom-line, which has been decaying largely over the past 10 years.

This essential study aims to:

  • Create & spread a shared language of effectiveness.
  • Clarify the misunderstanding of how brands grow whilst checking against the Creative Effectiveness Ladder, a new framework designed to help improve creative commitment & use creativity more effectively.
  • Identify the main types of marketing outcomes & rank them according to commercial value & a clear scoring methodology to measure current & future marketing activities.


Field stated that creativity is the single most important thing we can do to drive effectiveness and when we go down a route of low creative commitment, we rob the greatest evidence we can get to show off creative effectiveness.

This is not just an issue for big brands. The research shows that increasing the duration or number of media channels increases effectiveness at any level of budget.

In fact, campaigns with high creative commitment at lower levels of media spend, outperform those with higher media spend.

You can download ”The Effectiveness Code” here.



Acknowledging the differences in effectiveness and reflecting them in our approach to measurement:

This latest report again shines a light on the industry’s seemingly self destructive obsession with short-termism. Furthermore, whilst the evidence to the contrary appears appears to be pretty incontrovertible, the report also suggests “the value of marketing seems to be in question more than ever”.

Previous work by Peter Field, in partnership with Les Binet, highlights the need for brands to redress the balance between long- and short-term marketing activities, famously proposing an ideal 70:30 split in favour of the former. Whilst there can be little doubt that there has been an overemphasis on short-term tactical activity at the expense of the brand, this ideal ratio has often appeared over-simplistic. Effectiveness in Context, a 2019 follow up study from Binet & Field, as a  welcome addition that looked to address this, highlighting the deviations from the norm that applied by category.


The Effectiveness Code again builds on the original assertion that longer term brand health is the more desirable ambition, whilst acknowledging the many nuances that exist in the day to day. This time, it is accepted that there is often more than one definition of effectiveness. Whilst the ultimate ambition may well be creating long-term brand and sales growth, there will be instances where business reality will require us to deliver sales spikes, or conversely a more focused effort to build brand health. This acceptance of further variation is again welcomed.


Whilst the study goes further to propose best practice for each level of effectiveness at an activation level, how we start to put in place the right kind of measurement frameworks is perhaps most instructive.


The study sets out a three-level approach to measurement that captures Campaign Metrics, demonstrating how well the activity was delivered, Brand and Behavioural metrics demonstrating how consumers think, feel or behave as a result of the activity and finally the desired Commercial metrics, that demonstrate the profitability of the campaign. Using this approach to measurement sits at the heart of OMD Design, our end-to-end planning approach. Universally applicable, the real value comes in understanding which specific metrics to apply, at each level, depending on the definition of effectiveness by campaign. Clearly, the desired campaign metrics and behavioural change will differ significantly if we’re attempting to drive short-term sales vs longer term more sustained brand and commercial growth. Having a clearer understanding of these variations, provides a much clearer framework for making the right communication decisions depending on the brief. Ensuring we’ve set the right KPI’s from the outset is critical, which is why we’ve placed it up front in our approach to planning.



Lions Intelligence Presents a Guide to Creative Survival  

Since the virus hit, brands have been forced to pivot at breakneck speed in order to meet changing consumer demand. Communications, supply chains, and core product lines have been rethought.

The industry has weathered tough times before. Creativity bounces back. But is this recovery different? What can history tell us?

Susie Walker, Head of Awards at Cannes Lions, has trawled thousands of Cannes Lions winners in The Work to identify how creative communications responded to periods of economic turmoil, from the 80s to the 2000s. What trends and tactics worked then, and which will work now? Which creative trends are set to accelerate? Will the aftermath of this recovery see the creation of new, iconic

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