The PR industry had better stop thinking it has a corner on “earned” media, because that’s what the ad game is focused on too. According to the introduction to last night’s Creative Effectiveness Lions ceremony, the awards honored “the best work today at a time when you CAN’T BUY ATTENTION and YOU’VE GOT TO EARN IT.” Sound familiar?

The lead juror did not open with praise, but rather with a familiar lecture about measuring effectiveness. He said there were many missed opportunities for trophies among entries that were “too lazy to prove effectiveness properly,” that people seem “overly impressed with their own social media stats,” and that entering work for a company or brand that’s now out of business is downright laughable (but apparently what one hopeful agency did do).

It was exciting to see a handful of campaigns that married measurement and moxie. The winners:

  • Watermark Rum: In response to flooding in Australia, the brand created a limited-edition rum that earned more money for flood victims than typical corporate donations and spiked sales.
  • Chrysler: The Weiden-Kennedy campaign restored pride in Detroit and helped sell the Chrysler 200 with the tagline: “Imported from Detroit” with the music of Detroit-born rapper Eminem, singing with a local Detroit gospel choir as he drives through the city. The campaign, which debuted Super Bowl, sparked conversation and sales.
  • Febreze (P&G): The “Breathe Happy” campaign by Grey NY placed blindfolded people in places that ordinarily stink, but instead smelled like fresh Febreze. Blindfolds off, they were surprised to be standing next to dead fish and the like. The jury praised the insight and sales went way up. (P&G is a Ketchum client)
  • Snickers (Mars): The “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ad series by BBDO features celebrity icons like Betty White, Liza Minelli and Roseanne Barr and builds off the insight that a guy’s off his game when his belly is growling. Celebrity women turn back into men once they eat a Snickers. Selling hunger satisfaction, the campaign saw sales soar. (Mars is a Ketchum client)
  • Germany’s Biggest Search for Missing Children: This campaign used social media effectively to track and locate victims of trafficking and abduction. The jury said it was a working model for a global movement, starting in Germany and going more broadly.

And the Grand Prix winner for Creative Effectiveness was by BBH London for its “Even Angels Will Fall” campaign. The judges hailed it as proof that brilliant creativity often drives better sales results and moves a functional brand to an emotional space. Based on smart insight, the campaign was picked up in 100 markets.

Set to the song “Fallen Angels,” residents of a European town are visited by angels who fall from the sky in search of a young man who has captivated them by using Lynx Excite shower gel. One by one, the voluptuous angles rip off their halos and throw them at the ground, smashing them to bits. The tagline: “Even Angels will Fall.”

This one reminded me that creative directors and jurists are primarily male – speaking personally, it sort of left me blank.

The evening’s message: Creativity and effectiveness can co-exist. And that’s a message that’s entirely measurable.

Karen loves winning trophies for clients, believing awards affirm how much strategy and creativity matter. As Ketchum’s chief strategy and creativity officer, as well as co-lead of Ketchum’s 50+ specialty, she is an evangelist for courage and creativity in communication, and she ensures strategic discipline and creative liberation for the firm’s global network of planners. Her devotion to studying human behavior, crowdsourcing creative ideas and working across silos have contributed to Ketchum winning more awards for clients than any other PR firm. Some of her initiatives include the creation of Mindfire, Ketchum’s crowdsourcing site for fueling creative ideas; the Ketchum Creative Community and related Passion Panels to solve client challenges; and the Ketchum Media Optimizer, the first media planning discipline in the public relations business. As a member of the small minority of female agency creative chiefs, Karen is on a mission to inspire and empower more women to take on lead creative roles.