Ads that sell, entertain and don't compromise on effectiveness

Ads that sell, entertain and don't compromise on effectiveness

Creative work by Cadbury, eBay and The Wayback App made the cut for Rik Moore, managing partner strategy, The Kite Factory’s most captivating campaigns of the year.

2023 hasn’t provided the best context for creativity to flourish. To say that it’s been tough would be a mild understatement.

Given the volatility of the economy, while many marketers subscribe to the relationship of brand and activation communications working together, it is understandable that many businesses have battened down the hatches and gone short-term to keep the lights on.

This short-termism has historically worked against creativity, and the ability to create fame and mental availability early in the consumer journey.

Given this context, we should applaud those marketers who were able to find a way to be both creative and effective in 2023.

Being effective in what we do is always critical, but the financial conditions raise the stakes dramatically. The creative moments that really spoke to me in 2023 brought effective thinking and smart craft planning to the fore.

Glass half full

We begin with Cadbury. 

The brilliant work that the previous IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix winners did throughout 2023 reflects the consistency over time as advocated by the Effectiveness Ladder. Its “Glass and a Half” campaign continued this year, including the understated yet stunning “Garage” TV ad. 

Beautiful, minimalist, animated DOOH ads reflecting small acts of kindness, with giant festive OOH special builds to celebrate the return of Cadbury’s Chocolate Coins after a decade away were just some of the notable beats in a packed year. 

All were unique in their own way but laddered up to consistently tell one unmistakable and ownable singular brand story.

Beavertown goes bold

With its stunning artwork at the forefront, the brewery Beavertown utilised the challenger brand quality of overcommitment as it furthered its association with music. 

From a vast array of co-curated artist playlists on Spotify designed to soundtrack a host of drinking occasions, to free experiential live gigs, to a clever collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age on the video for its ‘Paper Machete’ single, Beavertown dove headlong into music with credibility and evident passion. 

The result was engaging and compelling.

VR nostalgia

Small but perfectly formed, Stairway to the Past - a film to promote The Wayback VR app - felt like it was all over DOOH escalator sites on TfL through the summer. 

It promoted a fascinating, award-winning app that hosted 360-degree films that immerse the viewer in the faithfully recreated sights and sounds of the past, using a simple cardboard headset and a mobile phone. This is because, for people living with Alzheimer’s, one method of managing the disease is reminiscence therapy. By using nostalgic photos, videos and music from the past with a carer, developers found that the app can elicit positive responses and start conversations. The DOOH format was a great way to bring this to life for a cross-generational audience and showcase the app. 

It’s a great example of using tech for good.

It must be love

Finally, with the climate crisis accelerating, sustainability is a critical issue. 

Also wisely joining the consistency bandwagon, eBay once again partnered with ITV for Love Island Series 10, revisiting its Pre-Loved Island initiative. From a creative perspective, what is impressive is the sheer level of integration this partnership achieved. The campaign used (takes a deep breath), product placement in the programme, airtime on ITV2, ITVX, social, digital and the Love Island app, with eBay branding and clothing showcased across each touchpoint. TikTok influencers were used in the idents and then integrated and amplified on the social platform. 

It all felt integrated, everything had a role, and nothing was spurious. The result was a masterclass in partnership and integration.

Looking ahead

What’s most exciting is that the examples above all point to a return to ads that entertain as well as sell. This is further evidenced in the levity and bombast showcased across 2023’s bumper crop of festive ads.

The great news is that it is not at the expense of effectiveness. As the results from marketing research and effectiveness company System 1 show, 2023 was a record year in the UK for effective Christmas ads, with 20 out of 50 ads tracked reaching 5 stars. Fun and entertainment, as a counterpoint to the world around it, is resurfacing in our industry, and to great effect.

Settling into 2024, with uncertainty still heavy in the air, these campaigns, reflecting work of all shapes and sizes, speak to the power of creativity and effectiveness combining to cut through and make a difference. They reflect high standards in craft planning to integrate and support and tell a consistent compelling narrative.

The power of this creativity and effectiveness should give us a great deal to feel inspired about as we take on the challenges of the coming year.

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