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Selling Creativity Short: Creativity and effectiveness under threat

The dual impacts of short-termism in marketing and lower investment behind creativity have halved the success of creativity over a period of just four years.

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Peter Field's latest investigation into the IPA's databank of Effectiveness Award case studies and The Gunn Report creative awards dataset reveals five key trends:

1. Budget investment behind creativity has fallen sharply.
The average real campaign budget has fallen, with creatively-awarded campaigns hardest hit, to the point where they are below market share maintenance levels.

2. Short-termism is undermining effectiveness.
There has been a dramatic increase in the evaluation of IPA campaigns over six months or less - up by four times over a decade ago. This is bad for effectiveness and bad for brands. Creatively awarded campaigns are even more strongly affected: almost half of them are now short-term campaigns.

3. Cross-channel, digital creativity is not an answer to short-termism.
Creative campaigns designed to work across the analogue/digital divide improve short-term results, but need more time to achieve their full potential and do not offset reduced budgets. Greater effectiveness comes from being put to work over the longer term.

4. The achievement of fame is in decline.
Record low budgets and the shift to the short term have impacted the buzz around brands, meaning fame effects of creatively awarded campaigns have fallen for the first time in 20 years.

5. TV is still the primary driver of creative success.
An idea that can work creatively on TV is shown to be at the heart of the most effective campaigns.

To further the effectiveness conversation, leaders from the world’s foremost brands and twenty international industry associations are to host Effectiveness Week, spearheaded by the IPA. The collaborative programme, from 31st October – 4th November, will focus on championing evidence-based, decision-making to fuel the growth of brands. Find out more at

Last updated 23/06/2016

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