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Short-termism and lower investment halve success of creative campaigns

The dual impacts of short-termism in marketing and lower investment behind creativity have halved the success of creativity over a period of just four years. This is according to the latest IPA report, Selling Creativity Short: Creativity and effectiveness under threat, launched in Cannes today (23rd June 2016).


The report, written by Peter Field, is a follow up to the ground-breaking 2011 IPA publication The link between creativity and effectiveness and reveals that a destructive trend of short-term commitment and investment short-fall has developed. As a result, creatively awarded campaigns are now 6 times as efficient as non-awarded campaigns, down from 12 times in 2011.

The report* reveals five key trends:

1)    Budget investment behind creativity has fallen sharply

The average campaign budget has fallen, with creatively-awarded campaigns hardest hit.

2)   Short-termism is undermining effectiveness

More than 30% of IPA Effectiveness Award-winning campaigns are now being measured over six months or less, four times more than a decade ago.

3)   Cross-channel, digital creativity requires more time

Campaigns with a heavy focus on digital are effective in improving short-term results, but not at offsetting reduced budgets. Their overall success comes from being put to work over the longer term.

4)   The effects of ‘fame’ are in decline

Reduced budgets and the shift to the short term have impacted the buzz around brands, meaning fame effects have fallen for the first time in 20 years.

5)   TV is still the primary driver of success

An idea that can work creatively on TV is shown to be at the heart of the most effective campaigns.

Says report author Peter Field: “There are a number of clear recommendations to emerge from this analysis for any marketer wishing to tap the considerable potential of creativity to boost effectiveness. What is clear is that creativity is greatly worth striving for so long as it us used for long-term objectives. Short-termism is a threat not just to the power of creativity but also the health of brands.”

Says Donald Gunn, Founder of The Gunn Report: “This latest report presents a brilliant analysis of all the factors, trends and issues, as well as thought-out, detailed recommendations on how to tap the powerful potential of creativity to deliver superior sales. It deserves the attention of every ambitious marketer.”

The report, written by Peter Field and produced in association with Thinkbox, is free to IPA members and available for non-members to purchase here.

To further the effectiveness conversation, leaders from the world’s foremost brands and twenty international industry associations are to host Effectiveness Week, spearheaded by the IPA. The collaborative programme, from 31st October – 4th November, will focus on championing evidence-based, decision-making to fuel the growth of brands. Find out more at


The analysis is based on the fusion of the IPA Effectiveness Databank with the Gunn Report creative awards dataset. Only commercial for-profit campaigns are analysed in this report.

Last updated 23/06/2016

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