Why Challenger Brands must win advertising awards

By Mark Barden, 6/11/2012

There’s a landmark study by Peter Field and Les Binet that you should be aware of. Not enough people are. It is one of the most rock solid analyses we know of about how to change the fortunes of your brand with marketing communications.

Les and Peter’s methodical, quantitative, meta analysis of hundreds of IPA Effectiveness case studies — in itself possibly the most rigorous competition there is in the world of advertising — reaches simple conclusions about what works, time and again, to drive success for brands.

One of those conclusions is the power of fame. Seems obvious. But can also sound self-serving when it comes from your agency partner, can’t it. If they make that case next time, listen. Les and Peter’s work proves beyond reasonable doubt that becoming famous should be your primary goal as a marketer. It is the most reliable predictor of success. (If you want to know exactly what they mean by “fame” you’ll have to read the study. It is not the same as notorious. And for an extra bonus read James MacKenzie’s review at the bottom of the link.)

Fame is particularly important for the Challenger. We asked Les and Peter to take a look at the sub-set of data on Challenger brands within their study and give us a steer on how much more famous a Challenger needs to be to shift the momentum away from the heavier spending brand leader. The answer: 300-400% more famous. The reason we are always pushing our clients to be as dramatically different as they dare is right there.

And so we’re thrilled when our clients win awards. Not because we get to wear a tux mind you. By the time the gongs are handed out our work is but a distant memory (sniff). But awards can be a reasonable proxy for fame. An early indicator, perhaps.

So with that said, congratulations to two clients whose work did just win awards. Newcastle Brown Ale just picked up a Jay Chiat Award for the No Bollocks campaign, the idea for which emerged more or less fully formed in sessions last year.


And, hurrah for Xoom, too, whose battle to wrest the hearts and minds of international money transfer customers away from Western Union leads to some fabulously quirky TV advertising we just love – winning an ANA Multicultural Excellence Award this month for best Hispanic campaign. Sales are up 46%.



Comments are closed.