Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer, Razorfish, and Will Sansom, director, Contagious Insider, took stage at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016, post a year of analysing Lion-winning work from the last 15 years. In their talk on 20 June, the duo presented findings from their study.
Setting up the talk, the speakers observed that from e-mail to AI, Big Data and now an AI creative director, the world of creativity has seen big changes. So they pondered over what role human creativity would play. With technology probably leveling the playing field, human creativity will step in to go one level higher, they surmised.
The premise for the 'Code of Creativity' was to demystify 'creativity', which the duo labelled as a 'mysterious, intangible thing'.
The sample they worked on was 4,00,000 entries from 40,000 agencies, from 123 countries. There were 15,000 winners. And 96 per cent of submissions fail to win at Cannes Lions.
The gender divide
53 top names for award-winning entries belonged to men
11 per cent of the winning entries featured a woman creative director
9 per cent had women ECDs
8 per cent had women CCOs
The number has been decreasing (by 0.1 per cent) over the last five years
Budgets and winners
Does a brand need a big budget to be creative?
After studying the marketing spends of the top 100 brands globally, the duo figured that the budget had no impact on creativity (by Lion wins).
The size of the agency doesn't matter either. Analysing 700 different agencies that won, they found that the win rate for a smaller agency wasn't much different from that of a bigger agency.
The third point considered under costs was the GDP of a country. They looked at 35 countries from Philippines (lowest GDP) to Norway (highest). Only three of the top 10 agencies belonged to the wealthier countries. They revealed that there was no meaningful connection, again.
Bonner said, "Not all creativity costs, but that doesn't mean you have to look at cheap solutions."
Coming to a conclusion that cost isn't a factor when it comes to cracking the creativity code, the duo then looked at relationships.
Sansom said, "We looked at 5,00,000 entries and mapped the stuff that won. We saw a huge drop of agency-client entries after one year (99.94 per cent drop off). Those who stuck to each other saw a peak in terms of winning in the second year."
The findings show that there is a drop-off again in the third year. But if the agency and client stick together and enter into the fourth year, they climb back up and go higher than the peak of the second year (sometimes), it was observed. Client-agency relationships of over 10 years were found to have twice the average win-rate.
Does team size matter?
A third consideration was the size of teams credited.
It was found that submissions with more people in the credits were more successful. Submissions with people credited below the level of director have had a higher win-rate.
Sansom added, "We need to kill the rockstar culture. Diversity delivers. You should look at collaboration, both internal and external. Entries where three or more agencies are credited have 42 per cent higher win rate than average."