• A new global marketing effectiveness benchmark like no other
  • The awards will be judged using the WARC/LIONS Creative Effectiveness Ladder providing a universal standard
  • Feedback given to winners and shortlisted entrants 

12 January 2021 — WARC, the global authority on marketing effectiveness, has today launched The WARC Effectiveness Awards in association with LIONS, a new worldwide competition showcasing the best marketing campaigns that deliver business results. 


Shining the spotlight on greatness, these awards are unique for being the first to integrate the WARC/LIONS Creative Effectiveness Ladder, a universal framework of the six approaches for using strategy and creativity to drive specific marketing outcomes. It provides a consistent approach and shared language for benchmarking effectiveness globally.

Philip Thomas, President, Ascential Marketing Division and Chairman of LIONS, says: “The WARC Effectiveness Awards offer marketers a global benchmark against which to assess just how well their marketing is working. Using the WARC/LIONS Creative Effectiveness Ladder as part of the judging process will give the industry a universal standard showing what great effective work looks like.” 

Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze accolades as well as Special Awards honouring particular areas of excellence will be awarded to best-in-class work across six categories:

Customer Experience: awarding new ways of engaging with consumers and innovative experiences created to connect and immerse on the path to commercial success.

Collaboration & Culture: awarding strategies and instances of brands entering or impacting on culture that can demonstrate a business outcome.

Sustained Growth: for campaigns that have invested in building a brand over time (12 months or more).

Instant Impact: for short-term campaigns (with a duration of six months or less) that led directly to a sales increase.
Brand Purpose: for marketing initiatives that have successfully embraced a brand purpose and achieved commercial success as well as benefit for the wider community. 
Business-to-Business: awarding effective campaigns from one business targeting another.

Each category will be judged by a high-calibre panel, including senior marketers from some of the world’s biggest brands and top agency professionals and specialists from around the globe. They will judge and score submissions based on their objectives, insight and strategic thinking, implementation, business effects and lessons learned.

James Hurman, Founding Partner of Previously Unavailable, who developed the WARC/LIONS Creative Effectiveness Ladder in 2020, will preside over the use of the Ladder as part of the judging process.

Unique to these awards, shortlisted and winning entrants will receive feedback using the ladder as a reference point. A learnings report will also be published to help drive businesses and the industry forward. 

Paul Coxhill, Managing Director, WARC, says: “Drawing on WARC’s evidence-based expertise and global approach, the WARC Effectiveness Awards will provide the industry with a universal marketing benchmark like no other to shine a light on great effective marketing.

“Additionally, the invaluable feedback that will be given to shortlisted and winning entrants will enable them to consistently produce highly effective creative campaigns and initiatives.”

The WARC Effectiveness Awards are open to submissions from any country and communications discipline and the entry fee has been waived for 2021. Papers will be accepted from 15 February until 01 April. Jury chairs will be announced on 18 January and full juries early February. The six shortlists will be announced in May and the winners will be announced at Cannes Lions in June.

More information on the new WARC Effectiveness Awards is available here