THE BLOG

Extolling the Commercial Value Of Our Creativity

19/03/2013 15:37 GMT | Updated 18/05/2013 10:12 BST

I'm so pleased that Advertising Week has come to London. This city has long been one of the world's leading centres for our great industry - and we have much to showcase. What's more:

There couldn't be a better time to stage a week of events to celebrate and debate the value of our commercial creativity.

We've all been battered by the economy over the last few years, but there is a resilience about the advertising world that continues to impress. So it's great to have a week like this to do a bit of tub-thumping. The power of advertising to transform markets and brands has long been understood by all of us insiders. As Rory Sutherland says:

"We use human understanding to gain business advantage."

We know how well it works. But many others - often opinion formers and policy makers - have been suspicious of this skill and have tended to position us as frothy, vague creative types who operate on the edge of real commerce. This myth was well and truly busted by the excellent Deloitte report Advertising Pays, commissioned by the Advertising Association. The findings were startling.

Advertising is, quite simply, economic fuel.

Deloitte calculated that the £16bn spent on advertising in the UK resulted in a £100bn contribution to the GDP. They estimated that every £1 spent on advertising generated £6 across the economy.

Putting this in context:

Most other industries' economic impact is in the range of £2-£4.

Meanwhile, we at the IPA have been mining our own databank. That's effectiveness data covering 996 campaigns over thirty years. It has long been believed that creatively outstanding ads work better than their rather ordinary cousins, but until now there has been very little proof. Peter Field's analysis of our databank, however, has finally provided us with the evidence to back up our instincts.

And the news is:

Creatively-awarded campaigns are, on average, ten times more effective.

Tell that to those clients who say that they are not interested in how many creative awards your agency has won.

Another revealing piece of work on the IPA databank by Les Binet and Peter Field has been their study into the effects of long and short-term strategies. It debunks the old observation that the long term is nothing more than a series of short terms joined together; both need to be planned to work together to achieve maximum impact.

Their findings are clear:

Emotional long-term campaigns - which build over years - prime and amplify consumer response to short-term, more rational campaigns - which are driven by news.

And there's a 60:40 rule, too:

Around 60% should go behind brand building and 40% towards sales activation.

So whilst competing in a world where there's precious little growth, brands need ideas and insights. This is where agencies come in; we are nonpareil in using creativity to create commercial success. And there's overwhelming evidence about how important advertising is to growth - proof that great creativity gives brands valuable fame and validation of the importance of balancing long and short-term strategies.

Here's to Advertising Week.

Ad people love to talk - and what could be better than a whole week celebrating our world-class advertising in one of the world's best cities.