Arati Rao
Sep 20, 2011

Arati’s Blog: As Sir John Hegarty, some numbers and James Hurman said…

A session at Spikes Asia 2011 by James Hurman of Colenso BBDO highlighted the importance of creativity in driving effectiveness

Arati’s Blog: As Sir John Hegarty, some numbers and James Hurman said…

One of the sessions I managed to catch yesterday was on advertising effectiveness, and whether it’s powered by creativity. It made for an interesting session, because the speaker was James Hurman, planning director at Colenso BBDO (a much awarded creative hotshop from New Zealand), and he used numbers to prove his point, and a little help from Sir John Hegarty.

Let me start with the quote from Sir John regarding his agency BBH, that Hurman used as a concluding point:

“Our objective is effectiveness. Our strategy is creativity.”

The numbers Hurman highlighted from various researches (from the UK and Europe) over the past few years certainly seemed to drive home the point of Sir John’s well-put words.

For instance, one research found that regarding campaign effectiveness success rate, non-creatively awarded campaigns scored 80 percent, as compared to creatively awarded campaigns that scored 88 percent.

Again, with regard to campaign efficiency, non-creatively awarded campaigns resulted in a 0.5 percent market share gain, as compared to creatively awarded campaigns that resulted in a 5.7 percent gain, media spends being the same.

Hurman said that there was evidence that the effectiveness of creatively awarded campaigns has increased over time. The reason for this could be changes in culture and technology that have created a “conversation economy”, where consumers trust conversations more than advertising. Conversation isn’t something that can be bought – it has to be earned by creating interesting campaigns, he stated.

If the success of Cadbury’s ‘Shubh Aarambh’ work by Ogilvy (which won the Grand Prix at Goafest and picked up metals at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness awards) and BBDO’s W.A.L.S campaign for Gillette (Indian’s first ever Creative Effectiveness Lion winner) are any indication, some Indian agencies are thinking on the same lines. 

How much does a planner aid that process of coming up with a creative idea, that isn’t just a creative trip, but something strategically sound as well?

Kawal Shoor, head of planning, Ogilvy Mumbai, said in a ‘From The Planner’s Table’ interview with Campaign India, “A planner has a role to play when you have to prove that your ideas work. We’re working in an ROI environment and unless and until you can prove your idea is worth delivering business results, there is no point to having the idea.”

Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet Martin Weigel, who is head of planning at W+K Amsterdam.  I asked him how does a planner fit in at a creative hotshop like W+K, and his reply was, “When I joined, I wasn’t sure whether my voice would be let into the process, and listened to. What surprised me is the demand from creatives for planning, for insight, for more material for the creative process.  Last year, a creative director said, 'Be the third member of the creative team'.” He also talked about the making of Heineken’s ‘Open Your World’ campaign based on the new Heineken ‘worldly-wise’ man, and said it was a collaborative exercise to the extent that, “…if you walked into the meeting room, you wouldn’t have guessed who is the client, the planner, the account person and creative.”

Now that could be a utopian situation, but it definitely seems like something to work towards.

India-spotting: Mudra's Madhukar Kamath, Draftfcb's Nagesh Alai, RK Swamy BBDO's Srinivasan Swamy and JWT India's Colvyn Harris diligently attended the sessions on Day 2. Also spotted Bates141's Sonal Dabral and Dheeraj Sinha outside. Pops introduced me to Shibaji Ghosh of MOFILM India. Met Lowe Lintas' Joseph George at the Lowe Street Carnival Party. 

Singapore experience: It rains every 2-3 days, it seems. Had to be these 2-3 days that we are here, naturally. Talk about bringing the Mumbai weather with us. 


Campaign India

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