Is advertising facing a crisis in creative effectiveness?

A new report by the advertising body IPA suggests that the work that picks up the major gongs at award shows is no longer effective. This should be a stark warning to jurors, says Patrick Burgoyne

Those of us on the moany/skeptical wing of the ad industry (hello Bob Hoffman) have been raising our collective eyebrows for some time about the kind of work that has been picking up gongs (or ‘metal’ as the hideous jargon has it) at awards shows recently. Yes, your purpose-driven, 3D printed, AR mobile experience might have excited jurors, but what did it actually do in the real world compared to, oh I don’t know, a brilliantly-written TV ad?, we wondered. But, hey, this was The Future – and look at all those social media likes!

During Cannes Lions this year, the IPA unveiled some research that ought to be read aloud before the commencement of any upcoming adland awards judging. Authored by Peter Field, whose exhaustive studies with Les Binet have led the pair to be dubbed the ‘godfathers of advertising effectivenes’, The Crisis in Creative Effectiveness is, Field says, “the report I hoped I’d never have to write”.