I think the most audacious belief lingering around the marketing and advertising industry is that people's enjoyment of the creative work doesn't really … well … matter. It seems ridiculous to even write it, but there are huge amount of people out there who actually think this way. The proof lies on your TV. It's there right now if you go and look. But be careful, it's brutal. No one should have to endure the horrors that lay hiding within the nooks and crannies of our content.
Which is why I was so glad to read this piece from an executive at Coca-Cola who espouses the importance of creative success in achieving commercial results. I've posted a bit of it here, but the whole piece is well worth a read.
"I have long been an absolute believer in the correlation between outstanding creative success and outstanding commercial success. In this year’s marketing platform for Cannes Lions I am quoted as saying ‘If Cannes has taught me one thing, it is that creativity drives effectiveness. You can not have one without the other. That knowledge has been instrumental to my career. I have been going to Cannes for nearly 20 years and can’t help but notice that the the client organizations recognized as Advertiser of the Year often enjoy periods of historic financial success at the same time. Let’s take a brief look at a few of them.
- Volkswagen: Recognized as Advertiser of the Year in 2008. The same year that its share price grew 89% to 283 Euros. This most prolific period of stock market growth coincides precisely with its most prolific period of creativity.
- P&G: Recognized as Advertiser of the Year in 2007 when its share price hit an all time high of $74.67, beating the S&P 500 by a country mile.
- Honda: In 2006 Honda was awarded Advertiser of the Year for brilliant work like Cog and Grrr. During this time its share price was as high as $38.50 and its UK sales were up 28%. Wow.
- Playstation: Was awarded Advertiser of the Year in 2005. Now, Playstation is a sub-division of Sony so we cannot isolate its share price. However, what we can do is isolate its sales. During that year it became the worlds biggest selling gaming console selling a record 100 million units.
- BMW: Took the mantle of Advertiser of the Year in 2004. So rightly deserved when you consider the lasting legacy of BMW films (still held up by most as the breakthrough work taking advertising into long form content). As a result of this work, which ultimately landed them the award, BMW saw a sales increase of 12% and a stock price rise of 16%. This is huge, especially when you consider the turbulent, post 9/11 period.
- Nike: In 2003, the same year that Nike was awarded Advertiser of the Year, Phil Night, CEO and Founder, wrote ‘’We decided to cross the threshold of 9/11. Eight months later we delivered a 14% increase in earnings and beat the S&P 500 by 45 points. Advertiser of the year was a defining moment. A Nike moment.’
- Swatch: From 1999 – 2001 the S&P 500 did not grow a cent but Swatch reported it steepest growth period on record."
Clearly the correlation between winning at Cannes and winning in the market place is compelling. That’s one of many reasons why The Coca-Cola Company places a premium on creative excellence. It is simply makes sound business sense. The creative industries and client organizations are in a co-dependent relationship – we need each other. As Phil Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, puts it: ‘‘The Advertiser of the Year award is presented to advertisers who have distinguished themselves for the inspiring, innovative marketing of their brands and who embrace and encourage the creative bravery of the creative work produced by their agencies.’’
(hat tip to John Gibson)