The 5 key lessons to deliver effective advertising, as per WARC

To coincide with the start of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, WARC, the global authority on advertising and media effectiveness, has released ‘Anatomy of Effectiveness’, a white paper for brand marketers and advertising agencies alike,highlighting five key priorities for brands seeking greater impact.

The report has been created by distilling evidenced best thinking, expert opinion and real case studies, all combined with 30 years of WARC’s experience on helping the industry advertise effectively. The report seeks to change the way brands and agencies market and will drive better consumer engagement 

Paul Coxhill, Managing Director, WARC, pointed out, “Poor marketing wastes money, time, attention and resource. All of which we can ill-afford in this fast-moving, resource constrained world. With ‘Anatomy of Effectiveness’ we provide five lessons to help combat this and make marketing more effective.”

Data suggests that advertising, in its current forms, is not driving the growth it should be. Advertising spend is not having the intended impact, and, at its worst, it is alienating the people it is supposed to be engaging:

  • A study by the Advertising Research Foundation found that 69% of all US TV commercials receive no visual attention (putting up to $40 billion of investment at risk in the US alone); 27% air in an empty room.
  • A focus on short-termism has halved the business impact of creativity, according to researcher Peter Field.
  • Only 12% of supposedly ‘viewable’ ads are actually noticed by consumers, according to Lumen Research
  • Nielsen reported that only 53% of the impressions served in the UK reached their intended target.
  • More than 600 million devices now have ad blocking, in what US journalist Doc Searls called the biggest boycott in history.

David Tiltman, VP Content, WARC, added here, “Against this background, we wanted to pull together the best thinking from around the world on effectiveness. This white paper examines whatthe current range of evidence shows, and where it is being challenged by a fast-changing industry.”

WARC’s ‘Anatomy of Effectiveness’ highlights the following five priorities for brands who want to improve the impact of their advertising:

  • Invest for growth: Covers the wide range of factors that marketers need to consider when drawing up budgets, setting objectives and working out what they want a campaign to deliver. 
  • Balancing spend: Sets out the frameworks for investment between brand-building and performance marketing. 
  • Be creative, be emotional, be distinctive:Analyses the arguments for investing in creativity – including the power of emotional communications and the importance of distinctiveness. 
  • Plan for reach: Discusses thefactors to be considered when planning media spend. 
  • Plan for recognition: Focuses on the need for strong brand assets in an era of short-form ads to ensure consumers know whose ads they are seeing. 

Tiltman further said, “While it sounds simplistic, none of these concepts is easy to apply. Every element involves trade-offs and hard decisions on where to invest. And, of course, insights and creative thinking are required to bring it all to life – that’s what makes marketing such a dynamic industry.” 

“The five priorities are not a linear process. We increasingly live in a world where media selection and creative development go hand in hand, where creativity can be at the heart of business strategy, and where real-time feedback can allow strategies to evolve during the campaign. We hope this report promotes the evidence that exists to help advertisers – and ultimately their consumers,” he added. 

For each of the five key priorities on how to advertise more effectively, the white paper includes evidence, what’s changing, common mistakes, examples, and expert commentary from industry experts, including Paul Dyson, Founder of Data2Decisions; Les Binet, Head of Effectiveness at Adam&EveDDB; Peter Field, Marketing Consultant; Faris Yakob, Co-founder of Genius Steals; and Jenni Romaniuk, International Director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. 

Summing up, Paul Coxhill said, “Great marketing can and does cut through. We need to challenge ourselves to think differently. By finding new ways to engage or through creatively brilliant executions we can avoid a world where consumers just ignore our best work.” 

WARC will also be hosting a full day programme on marketing effectiveness at Cannes Lions on Wednesday, June 19m in Audi A, Palais des Festivals.


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