What makes a campaign truly effective? The number of awards? Or the number of YouTube views? Celebrity endorsements? This year's 'CreEf', or the Creative Effectiveness jury, was almost to a point obsessed with the actual percentage of increase in sales, be it donations, products or awareness.
Yes, it was very tough to be neutral while reviewing delightful campaigns that have already won medals at Cannes the previous year, but that is our job and purpose. All of the entries were top quality because receiving a Lion the previous year is an entry requirement.
Therefore some entries from Asia, mostly from India, made it through, but the results were not very high. The main reason was weak or lack of ROI, which was the most critical judging criteria. It's tough enough to get a Lion, but even more to show that the campaign actually made a relevant difference to the brand itself.
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This year's winners show that the emotional connection between the brand and the consumer is the strongest tool in marketing. Despite critics who say branding is merely spending money under the excuse of long-term equity, campaigns have shown to have caught both birds.
Finally, the motivation for Asia in its goal for better success at Cannes will be breaking the cultural barriers that make it difficult for brands to go that extra mile that sets winners apart. Tackling taboos head on is not an easy decision to make, but if it will make a difference not only to sales but also to society, it might be a step worth taking. On a easier route, writing papers that make it easy for the jury to understand the results of the campaign is an easy baby step.
A heartfelt congratulations to all the winners, and thank you, creativity, for letting us do what we do.
Emily Cho is senior vice president for Korean Air and a member of the Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness jury this year.