Testing In The Lions Den: The Toplines

We went to Cannes with a simple question to ask. How effective are Cannes Lions winners, really?

It turns out there’s good news and bad news.

First of all, the good.

The chart below shows the percentage of ads we tested which achieved each Star Rating in our testing system, from 1- to 5-Star. 1-Star ads won’t amplify media spend and lead to growth. 5-Star creative has the potential to give a huge boost to growth (if you invest in it).

There are a lot of 1-Star ads – over half of all work that airs on TV. How do we know? We’ve tested 34,000+ recent ads for our Ad Ratings service. That’s the pink line on the chart below. Big on 1-Star, ineffective ads, with fewer than 1 in 100 ads hitting 5-Star heights.

The blue line are all the Cannes Gold Lion and Grand Prix winners we tested – a decade’s worth of Film Lions, from 2010 to last year.

And they’re far more effective. That “Cannes wave” shape shows that over half the winning ads score 3-Stars or higher. Top-level creativity really does lead to brand growth.

So what’s the bad news? There’s a gulf between the runner-up ads and the ones that win the top prize.

The Yellow line isolates the Grand Prix ads. And here’s the problem – they do worse than the Gold Lion runners-up. In fact, half of the 12 ads awarded a Film Grand Prix this decade only managed 1-Star. Brilliant creativity…. which fails to land with a wider public.

We’ll be exploring why this is, digging further into the data by region and by year, looking at specific ads which performed strongly, and exploring actions for marketers in our downloadable report on this study. That will be out next week, so we can include data on 2019’s winners and over 50 of this year’s shortlisted ads.

Meanwhile, enjoy the only Grand Prix winner to get a 5-Star score in our testing – P&G’s hilarious Super Bowl spoof, It’s A Tide Ad.

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