Global giants hold strong in creative index

Global giants hold strong in creative index

Weber Shandwick, BCW and Ketchum win big

The Holmes Report’s Global Creative Index for 2019 has just been announced and for the third year in a row, Interpublic’s widely-respected Weber Shandwick came out on top.

It’s the eighth time the world’s creative agencies have been ranked and marks a fourth win in five years for Weber Shandwick, whose big moments over the past year included campaigns for pharmaceutical company Eisai Korea, HSBC, Iceland and more. Hot on their heels came BCW, who hit the headlines for their work with Huawei, Converse and Air China, among others, and – in third place – Ketchum, who came fifth last year.

Of particular interest is the Index’s “weighted” table, which measures agencies’ success in relation to their head count. It’s a kind of “pound-for-pound” guide to the most creative firms around, and allows much smaller agencies to shine. The winner was Alexander PR from New Zealand, and four UK firms made the top 15: Tin Man, Taylor Herring, Talker Tailor Trouble Maker and The Romans. The top European slot was bagged by Finland’s Kurio.

When it came to individual campaigns, the top three places went to DNA Medical Communications, IKEA Italy and MSL – though Weber Shandwick’s Who Sprinkled Salt on My Cake! campaign to help kids understand dementia and Ketchum’s #BloodNormal campaign for Libresse also made the top 10. Here’s the top three individual campaigns in reverse order…

3/ Always fights to #EndPeriodPoverty
Agency: MSL (for P&G)
In brief: Recognising that more than 100,000 UK girls and a fifth of those in America have missed out on school because they couldn’t afford period products, this campaign set out to highlight the issue and initiate change. It won a whole slew of awards and was backed up by some serious action: a donation by Always of five million pads to schoolgirls.

2/ No Room For Violence
IKEA Italy
In brief: IKEA’s creative bods often outperform even the best agencies, and when the company’s Italian team set out to tackle the issue of domestic violence, they found exactly the right tone – and vehicle – to reach a wide audience. Another huge award winner, the campaign was centred around in-store spaces in which a room was closed off and recorded clips of real-life domestic abuse could be heard through a wall. The message? Violence is closer than you think.

1/ The cUUpcakes
Agency: DNA Medical Communications (for Roche Hong Kong)
In brief: Proving once again how campaigns with a strong social message tend to resonate the most, the top-rated campaign used cupcakes to boost awareness about the importance of breast self-examinations among young women in Hong Kong. With one in 16 women in the region diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, DNA inserted a secret lump inside one-sixteenth of the 6,000 breast-shaped cupcakes they gave out at a pop up store. It was a gloriously easy-to-fathom concept and the campaign quickly went viral – with the number of local searches for “breast cancer symptoms” shooting up 240 times on the previous month.

You can read the full report here.

What I find most interesting about any indexes or research like this is deconstructing the campaigns themselves and figuring out what has made the work so impactful – in terms of consumer impact, media, influencer and ultimately behavioural impact or change. All three of these projects are major companies taking on social issues once again proving that purpose is still a big driver of creative work, that is cutting through. Of course entering awards is expensive and time-consuming so the weighted index is also a great indicator of how smaller firms are challenging the big boys for creative gongs. Often an independent firm’s work goes unawarded whilst having great results due to not having the resources of the big boys (and girls).

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