Smart solutions, creativity for good dominate AdForum’s latest Business Creative Report
Posted on 2024 Feb,29  | By ArabAd's staff

Smart solutions and creativity for good dominate the most awarded advertising campaign in the world in 2023 as per AdForum’s latest Business Creative Report

Now in its seventh year, AdForum’s Business Creative Report (BCR) is out. This unique ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns by industry sector allows advertisers and agencies to measure their creative impact against competitors in the same industry.

The BCR report is based on the results of more than 40 awards shows, both local and global. This year an additional festival was added— the Ciclope Festival, which covers production, directing, visual effects, animation, editing, sound and other vital elements of craft.

The report covers 9 categories: Automotive, Entertainment & Leisure, Finance, Food & Beverages, Health & Beauty, Luxury, Retail, Technology and Transport & Tourism.

The most awarded advertising campaign in the world in 2023 was “McEnroe vs. McEnroe” by FCB New York for Michelob Ultra, the report found. And AI played a significant role in the success of the campaign. But while the project combined elements of artificial intelligence and robotics, at its heart is the performance of a charismatic athlete.

Overall, AI was less prevalent in the world’s most awarded work than might have been expected. Perhaps because agencies are still testing its potential.

There was one very clear trend: film and print are slipping lower down the list of awarded entries, replaced by case studies that could be broadly described as “innovations”, both digital and alternative.

It seems that the most creative agencies and their clients are doing less classic “advertising”. Instead, they’re working on long-term solutions that benefit customers.

“Smart solutions powered by an urge to improve life for customers continue to reflect an industry in transition,” stated the report.

Sleek films of cars cruising through attractive landscapes were nowhere to be seen in the auto top five. Instead, it features clever and humane ideas.

Take two widely-awarded initiatives from Renault and Publicis Conseil: “Time Fighters”, which improves the safety of vehicles from the design stage up; and “Plug Inn” which helps the drivers of electric vehicles recharge their cars. In the field of Health & Beauty, Vaseline and Edelman Worldwide created a new searchable database that finally allowed people of colour to diagnose potential skin conditions, while before they’d felt invisible.

Similarly, if purpose-driven projects are still present, they tend to be more deeply integrated into the DNA of brands, avoiding charges of opportunism. Mastercard and McCann come to mind, particularly with “Where To Settle”, which aided Ukrainian refugees by crunching financial transaction data.

As for the the Tech category, it was dominated by innovations that improved lives. 

While print and packaging design dominated Food & Beverage category in BCR 2022 report, the most awarded campaigns in 2023 embraced technology. At least three of the top five in this specific category harnessed tech, and even the Skittles campaign deployed social media to great effect. Burger King was notably absent from the top campaign slots – although it remains the fourth most awarded brand overall. Also less evident, with the exception of the Coors project, were heavily purpose-driven campaigns.

Another noticeable trend in this space is that brands seem to have finally cracked the delicate business of seducing gamers and securing a presence in games, mostly by creating fun and speaking the right language. Oreo’s “cheat cookies” and the #ThisIsMcDonalds virtual treasure hunt are two prime examples.

In general, media choices are becoming more eclectic.

As for Design thinking it seems it has dominated many  of the world’s leading campaigns: the most-awarded project in the Automotive sector, “The Call of Adventure”, was inspired by the Jeep’s iconic headlights and radiator grille. And here comes our focus on the Middle East region.


Middle East Focus

The Publicis Groupe did well for the region, as Publicis Middle East scored number 1 in the Automotive category with its work for Jeep "The Call of Adventure”—  This multi-awarded campaign had the Jeep’s iconic and unmistakeable headlights and radiator grille transformed into a “Jeep Morse Code” summoning the brand fans and viewers in general to  great excitement; while Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai’s campaign for Kinokuniya Bookstores was at 7th place in Retail- where Leo Burnett MENA ranked 5thas agency for the category. 

In Entertainment & Leisure, Impact BBDO spoke out about censorship for the newspaper An Nahar, taking 2nd place (as well as 13th). Impact BBDO were also present in Food & Beverages thanks to “Schoolgirl Newscasters” for EBM at 10th place, and FP7 McCann’s “Heinzjack” took the 14th slot in the same category.

In conclusion, plenty of interesting insights are to be found in Ad Forum’s BCR, so it is worth checking in its entirety.