WARC releases The Health of Creativity report based on WARC Rankings analysis

  • 42% of highly awarded creative ideas are subsequently awarded for effectiveness, compared to 20% for all creatively awarded ideas
  • The use of television remains a key channel for creative effectiveness, with the use of emotion common among the best campaigns
  • Coca-Cola has the highest conversion rate from creativity to effectiveness

30 January 2024 – Each year, WARC tracks the results of the top regional and global award shows for creativity and effectiveness for the WARC Rankings, the ultimate benchmark for marketing. Using the results data from between 2015 and 2022, WARC has assessed the health of creativity to establish how often creative work is also effective. 

The study reveals that of the 5,000+ creatively awarded campaigns analysed, 42% of highly creative ideas (those ranked in the WARC Creative 100) are subsequently awarded for effectiveness, compared to 20% for all creatively awarded ideas. 

Amy Rodgers, Head of Content, WARC Creative, comments: “Since we published the previous edition of ‘The Health of Creativity’ in 2021, there have been many studies proving how creativity supercharges effectiveness, so we wanted to see if the status of effectiveness of creatively awarded campaigns had changed.

“This latest research shows a marginal improvement over the last couple of years. Highly creative ideas awarded for effectiveness have increased from 39% to 42% and all creative ideas have upped their effectiveness from 18% to 20%. 

“Analysis of individual brands in this study suggests that advertisers need to assess both the absolute effectiveness of their work, and the contribution of creativity towards that commercial performance, to see the best impact from their marketing efforts.”

Looking at the characteristics of campaigns highly awarded for both creativity and effectiveness, as well as creative conversion by sector, brand and agency network, key insights outlined in this latest edition of The Health of Creativity are:

  • A fifth (20%) of creatively awarded ideas between 2015 and 2022 were subsequently awarded for effectiveness.
  • When ideas are highly awarded for creativity, the conversion to effectiveness awards rises from 20% to 42%.
  • Since the last analysis in 2021, the conversion rates have only changed by a couple of percentage points, indicating that this conversion rate is fairly static.
  • The most successful ideas across creativity and effectiveness focus on building brand equity through their use of television (highly creative and effective ideas are more than twice as likely to lead with TV as any other channel) and emotion (40% of the most creatively effective ideas used emotion as a creative strategy).
  • The telecoms & utility category has the highest conversion rate to effectiveness, but the retail category has the highest volume of highly creative and highly effective ideas.
  • Successful ideas have higher creative commitment scores (the three drivers of creative commitment to boost campaign performance are: spend, duration, and the number of media channels used). The average creative commitment score of campaigns in the WARC database is 5.9 (of a total of 15). This score rises to 6.8 in ideas that are both highly creative and highly effective. 
  • Highly creative and effective campaigns reach higher rungs of the Creative Effectiveness Ladder, a universal framework for planning effective marketing communications to drive specific outcomes, at all levels of creative commitment.
  • Burger King is the most creatively awarded brand, but Coca-Cola has the highest conversion rate from creativity to effectiveness, with almost a third of its creatively awarded ideas also awarded for effectiveness. Samsung and Volvo outperform their category averages.
  • McDonald’s is the most awarded brand for effectiveness in the WARC Rankings, but this study shows that creativity now has a greater contribution to its marketing results, with its conversion rate trending upwards over the study period.
  • Ogilvy is the network with the most awarded creative ideas, closely followed by BBDO Worldwide, however, BBDO has converted the highest absolute volume of them to effectiveness awards. Whilst Dentsu has the lowest volume of creatively awarded ideas, at 37%, Dentsu holds the highest conversion overall to effectiveness. 

An infographic of the research is available here. WARC Creative members can read the report in full.

The next edition of the WARC Rankings – Creative 100, Media 100, Effective 100 – will be published in March, following analysis of work awarded during 2023.