Key lessons from this year's IPA Effectiveness Awards' winners

ITV's Carolyn McCall and JWT's Neil Godber on their key lessons from this year's IPA Effectiveness Awards' winners

Chair of Judges and CEO of ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall, and Convenor of Judges and Head of Planning at J. Walter Thompson, Neil Godber, share their biggest take-outs from this year’s IPA Effectiveness Awards.

Inspiration and innovation that can still inspire us all, Dame Carolyn McCall DBE, Chair of Judges and Chief Executive Officer, ITV

Despite its longevity, the IPA Effectiveness Awards continues to surprise, stretch and present new learning for judges.

In 2018, the competition’s 38th year, the range of entries was striking. With small budget apps to extensive initiatives across many different media, the breadth was impressive, the innovation inspiring.

From single market campaigns to those targeting audiences in 81 countries, the quality of submissions was high. Entries were shortlisted by a panel of senior agency figures before our jury of client marketers chose the overall winners.

Being a judge was a privilege and gave an opportunity to learn more about the communications industry’s best work and question what makes for true effectiveness.

Our conversations were both dynamic and rigorous, and I would like thank my fellow judges for the passion and expertise they brought to the process.

The cases we awarded offer fresh insights – about data-fuelled creativity, for example – and confirm established truths, such as the importance of long-term approaches to brand-building.

The Grand Prix Winner from Audi illustrates the combination of new and old. Audi has a heritage as a consistent and effective advertiser, but it used fresh thinking and tools to supercharge the brand’s desirability and sales.

This strategy resulted in Audi UK’s highest ever return on investment, an extraordinary achievement given the many years it has been advertising.

With the announcement of the winners and the online publication of all the 2018 entries, you can now read all about Audi’s winning approach and all the cases in full.

Now is the time for brand to experiment, engage and excel, Neil Godber, Convenor of Judges and Head of Planning, J. Walter Thompson

Given how polarising views of marketing sometimes are, our industry can seem one characterised by conflict and dogma, wracked with either/or perspectives.

Either brands should act as mental shortcuts, simplifying consumers’ choice, or they should be beacons of higher purpose. 

Either mass marketing is wasteful when technology makes it possible to hyper-personalise, or one-to-one targeting misses out on the shared beliefs and behaviours of a mass approach.

Either speed and disposability trump craft and consideration, or storytelling requires care and immersion. For one side to ‘win’, the other must ‘lose’.

The 2018 IPA Effectiveness Awards work to demonstrate why such binary choices are unnecessary.

The 38 winners include excellent examples both of what is regularly working in marketing communications, and of what operates only at the fringes today, as well as instances that combine old and new.

What we’ve seen are gems such as the use of algorithms by cough remedy Prospan; mass personalisation in L’Oréal’s True Match; channel innovation in Suzuki’s inventive use of sponsorship that works akin to TV shows. There are also cases that illustrate a return to first principles, such as the AA’s decision to prioritise emotional messaging over short-term response activity, and the Grand Prix-winning Audi’s focus on brand fundamentals.

The variety demonstrated in the Awards, which takes place during the similarly diverse EffWeek programme, convinces me that this should be an age of curiosity, openness, experimentation and dialogue rather than either/or rhetoric that closes down creativity, not opens thinking out.

All the winning cases are available for download from the IPA website and Warc.com. Please read and re-read them, and learn from them to propel your own success. Far from win or lose, this is a win and win.

These comments first appeared in Campaign's IPA Effectiveness Awards supplement.

The 2018 Effectiveness Awards are sponsored by DBS Data, Facebook, Google, Marsh, Newsworks, Radiocentre, System1, Thinkbox and Warc.

Full details about the winning campaigns and additional effectiveness content, including what the judges thought, can be found on the IPA website or WARC.