Different categories, similar challenges

Reading IPA case studies is a chance to learn from other industries

IPA Effectiveness Awards cases that involve very different categories and brands from your current clients can provide the spark for a fresh way to approach a challenge.

One of the best things about heading up a Strategy team is the opportunity it offers to learn something new on a regular basis. Although I am exposed to new learning daily, I can’t seem to get enough. Because things in this industry move fast. People change, culture evolves, disasters happen, new brands get launched, categories get disrupted, and technology redraws the playing field in an instant. And the truth is, there is no way as individuals we can be expected to keep up.

As individuals, that is. As a collective, however, our ability to learn, digest and proliferate knowledge is vast. This is why I believe in the power of the network. In spending time with your peers. In sharing skills, knowledge, and learnings. And why I am always willing to invest my time when asked to support organisations like the IPA.

How to drive new learning

Recently, the team at the IPA asked me to input on a thought piece they were doing about the impact of the IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Studies. In particular, how case studies are used to drive new learning in agencies. Now, I have always been a fan of reading the IPA’s Effectiveness cases. Not just because as someone charged with authoring cases, it helps me to get a steer on what wins awards but because they are filled with juicy insights into what my peers are up to. And not just what they are up to, but what they are doing that is effective.

In this industry, whilst our categories differ, our problems may not, and taking a learning from one industry into the next is a great opportunity. Having that learning backed by a proven success case just makes our job of working out how to apply it that tiny bit easier.

Coral Cranmer, Associate Director, McCann Leeds

Case study evergreens

But what about the cases I come back to time and time again? There are some case studies that no matter how many times I read them or refer to them, never get old or less useful.

The first example relates to Think! The Department for Transport’s campaign for reducing road deaths across Britain, which has featured in several IPA cases, including this Silver Award-winning 2010 case which covered eight years of the strategy from 2000 to 2008.

This campaign predates my entry into the industry. In fact, I think the first time I came across it was at University. But it has remained engrained in my subconscious ever since. Why? Because it’s the best example of finding a powerful insight and telling it so well that it has the power to move a nation. Whilst there have been many executions under the Think! banner, I regularly refer to the ‘It’s 30 for a reason’ campaign when discussing motivating insights. Theirs was simple… the difference between hitting a child at 30mph and 40mph is simply life or death. Hence the strapline: It’s 30 for a reason. Coupled with a jaw dropping creative execution, this campaign reduced those speeding on 30mph roads from 67% of the driving population to 48% in under a year. A simple story, told well.

Another example is Diageo’s Marketing Catalyst case study (IPA Gold & Channon Prize for Best New Learning, 2020). In almost complete contrast to the Think! example, this case study is not about output at all but about how creating a culture of effectiveness can drive incremental revenue across an already phenomenal business. How Diageo did that was to utilise tech in the introduction of Marketing Catalyst (a proprietary tool) designed to revolutionise how the group’s marketing leadership teams planned their budgets.

This alone would have made a huge impact, but what sticks with me, and what I have referred to when using this case study, is the duality of introducing the tool alongside a commitment to upskilling the teams using it in creative excellence. Because it demonstrates that creativity and effectiveness must work hand in hand. Yin and Yang. Something that is worth remembering when you are balancing heavily commercial decisions with the requirement to still provoke emotions with your creative output.


These are just two from more than 40 years’ worth of case studies that contain value to be unlocked. Learnings to be applied.

So, what are you waiting for?

Find out more about the IPA Effectiveness Awards 2024 and download your entry pack.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 01 May 2024