How to win a Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lion?

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Savlon from ITC picked the Grand Prix at Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions this year for its campaign ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’. Ogilvy India, the agency behind the campaign, had more reasons to celebrate as Piyush, and Prasoon Pandey became the first Asians to be conferred with Advertising’s highest accolade- the Lion of St. Mark at Cannes.

For Ogilvy India, this was the first Cannes Grand Prix. The agency was among the only agencies in India to be shortlisted for Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lion other being BBDO India.

Savlon’s campaign won 7 Lions at Cannes last year, after all, achieving a behavioral change with your idea is not a mean feat. The campaign inspired behavioral change in the hygiene habits of Indian primary school children by introducing Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks.

These unique writing chalk sticks are infused with soap to encourage children to wash their hands. More than one million children have been reached with the initiative and helping the brand to achieve an earned media worth $524,631 to date.

Fernando Machado, jury president of Creative Effectiveness and Burger King CMO had this to say about the Grand Prix winning entry: “There’s a clear leap between idea and specific result. We ended up awarding a campaign that’s not a campaign. It’s a solution. It solves a real problem.”

What is Cannes Creative Effectiveness?

Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions rewards campaigns that demonstrate tangible business results over the long term. The results could lead to a cultural change or one that becomes integral to the achievement of brand purpose. The award was first constituted in 2015.

In an era where awards have lost their significance, Creative Effectiveness remains the most rigorous ‘Effie’ in the world. Until 2017, Creative Effectiveness consisted of a single category however judges found it increasingly difficult to judge like for like so subcategories were created to make it easier and to ensure the value of Lion. Cannes today has Global and Regional specific categories, long-term effectiveness for campaigns that have run for up to 3 years, Creative Effectiveness for Good, focusing on charity and non-profit work, and Creative Marketing Effectiveness, for in-house and client-side teams.

Winning a Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lion

Creative Effectiveness is among the only category at Cannes Lions which has seen an uptake in the number of entries for the past two years. It’s among the only award that draws a compelling link between award-winning creativity and business-driving results.

1. Know your campaign

To be even eligible for a Creative Effectiveness Lion your brand should have either won a Lion or been shortlisted the year previously. So you already know that your case study is going against some of the best creative work from around the globe.

Research has proven that there is a strong correlation between Creativity and Effectiveness. Creatively-awarded campaigns are seven times more efficient than non-awarded ones in terms of the level of market share growth they drive per point of ESOV (share of voice minus share of the market) as per studies conducted by Gunn – IPA.

So before you even consider nominating your brand take a hard look at your data and be harsh on what you got. If you don’t have enough data to prove your case, then save your time and effort by not nominating your brand.

2. Perseverance 

Phil Johnston, Head of Strategy at Havas Worldwide mentions in his article on Mumbrella that Price Waterhouse Coopers came back to his team thrice after they made their submission for the Creative Effectiveness category.

The requests were for verification of data and claims made in their case study. Auditors employed by Cannes Lion also request for the original data and documents to verify the source of the data.

Gathering data for the nomination can be a difficult task especially when it resides with different stakeholders. In Phil’s case, they had to coordinate with Virgin Mobile, One Green Bean, Starcom, and other partner agencies. You will have to be patient enough to work your way through the different stakeholders involved and answer all the queries raised.

3. What’s the Story Behind the Campaign

Remember that every jury member has hundreds of case studies to read. Your storyline has to leave the jury with a singular thought. Every piece of data should support this singular thought.

‘Monty the Penguin’ from John Lewis was the Grand Prix Winner in Cannes 2016. The jury members knew that the campaign was going to be a top contender for the award right at the pre-selection stage.

4. Writing the Case Study

  • Consider which information fits best in each section of the paper before answering the questions.
  • Be concise while writing the case study. Keep your answers to the point.
  • Provide stats and figures to describe the impact of the campaign. If the stats are not available, then describe the impact anecdotally.
  • Don’t assume that the jury already knows the work. Tell the story of the work as if you are narrating it for the first time.
  • You will have to explain the context, and cultural significance of the campaign considering the jury is from all over the world. For example, in John Lewis’s entry for ‘Monty the Penguin’ the case study explains the significance of Christmas.

5. Learning

For clients and in-house (marketing) teams participating in the category, it is not really about winning the awards. As Harjot Singh, Executive Vice President, Regional Strategy Director for Europe at McCann Worldgroup EMEA explains that learning from other clients makes your work better.

“There are only 4-5 types of business problems that have been stated in different ways, approached in different ways or solved in different ways let’s learn from that. That creates a sense of comfort, confidence and interest in clients as well. Makes the work better for everyone.” – Harjot Singh, EVP, McCann Worldgroup EMEA

So how do you write a case study that inspires the jury members? Maybe the team behind ‘Monty the Penguin’ has the answers. The best way to write a case study is to read a good one and understand why it really worked.

John Lewis – Monty the Penguin – Case Study

So we recommend you read the John Lewis case study by downloading it from the link above. Also subscribing to the WARC and Effie websites will provide you access to some of the best creative work across the world.

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