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Creativity you can trust.

Creativity you can trust.
BJL CEO Nicky Unsworth reports back from DAN Live, the flagship internal event of our parent company Dentsu Aegis Network, on how creativity is once again one of the most trusted tools at a CMO’s disposal.

 Since BJL became part of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) in February 2019, it’s been fascinating to see how a creative agency like ours can harness and enhance the existing capabilities of a huge media and digital marketing group – and vice versa. Creativity is certainly a hot topic for marketers right now, as the media landscape becomes increasingly homogenised and brands seek new ways of gaining an edge on their competitors.

At our recent DAN Live event, it was my pleasure to present alongside fellow creative agency leaders within the network – Emma Rush, President of Gyro; and Gareth Collins, UK CEO of Mcgarrybowen – where we talked about the central, vital role of creativity in driving growth for brands and businesses.

To prove that point, we featured key statistics that demonstrate why CMOs are putting their trust back in the power of creativity. Here I present a selection of these stats, and what they mean for modern marketers.


First and foremost, creativity is so important because it’s a proven driver of effectiveness. In their wide-ranging research for the IPA, marketing effectiveness experts Les Binet and Peter Field have identified a clear correlation between the creativity of an advertising campaign and its success in achieving different commercial results. Having extensively mined case studies from the IPA Databank over both short and long-term timescales, the pair calculate that creatively-awarded campaigns are 11 times as efficient at driving share of market growth versus non-awarded campaigns.

Binet and Field have also found that ‘fame-driving’ creative campaigns outperform all other types of campaigns across all business metrics. Indeed 55% of such campaigns report a very large improvement in sales versus 47% of campaigns that did not have the same creative purpose. Given that brands are increasingly conscious of the need to prove return on investment from their marketing spend, such stats underline the value of creativity in delivering results.

“Binet and Field have proven something we’ve always intuitively felt as an industry – that the more creative the work, the more effective the work,” said Gareth. “By managing to quantify that to a factor of 11, they’ve demonstrated the value of creativity to our client’s brands and businesses.”


We also presented findings from the latest DAN CMO survey which found that 86% of CMOs believe “creativity and the big ideas that build the brand and create an emotional connection will be critical to future business success”. Furthermore, 73% of CMOs agree that “cutting through the noise” requires more investment in creativity and big ideas.

In other words, our creative line of business within DAN is already pushing against an open door. As the survey shows, senior marketers are acutely aware that harnessing creativity is vital if they’re to succeed in better engaging with customers and driving growth for their brands and businesses.

Meanwhile, an article in Campaign magazine noted that because of the ever closer integration between creative and media, creativity now accounts for as much as 75% of the media optimisation opportunity. Commenting on this trend, Emma said: “The commoditisation of media buying means it’s very difficult to create standout. We believe that creativity is our secret weapon – not in isolation but collectively, working together with media. It’s that collaboration that provides our clients with a real competitive advantage.”

35 million views

We concluded the presentation with a look at three case studies that demonstrate the clear, tangible power of creativity. Gareth presented Mcgarrybowen’s acclaimed #BodyProudMums campaign for Mothercare, which achieved huge press coverage and impact by celebrating postnatal female bodies. This striking campaign received over 1 billion earned media impressions thanks to its viral success, as well as a 2.8% increase in market share.

Furthermore, it showed that creativity has the power to create work that resonates far beyond the media spend. By starting a conversation around body confidence for new mums, the #BodyProudMums campaign took on a life of its own and was shared and engaged with by people around the world.

For Gyro, Emma explained how the agency had used creativity to reach a B2B audience on a more emotive, human level during its campaign for payment services brand Square – thereby achieving a 94% increase in website arrivals and 20% rise in service activations. And I explained how BJL’s famous ‘slow TV ad’ for Ronseal – which simply showed a man painting a fence for three minutes during Channel 4’s Gogglebox – helped to achieve 35 million video views on Twitter, massive fame for the brand and a product recall rate of 75%.

These case studies also brought together three key strands of creativity: the cultural impact, the human impact and the ability of campaigns to drive fame and fortune for clients. At a time when brands are starting to shift investment back towards creativity, we at DAN are united in demonstrating that it’s a trusted route to customer engagement and crucially, business growth.


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