The judges’ decision was unanimous: Bartle Bogle Hegarty won the 2018 IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix for its work with Audi, a client of the agency since its launch in 1982.
BBH – which also won Effectiveness Company of the year thanks to more awards for Barclays, Virgin Media, Weetabix and IAG – was active on Twitter ahead of the awards, trumpeting: “Brands don’t want ads, they want growth,” and claiming that its five shortlisted entries together demonstrate £2.5 billion of incremental revenue for the brands involved.
The agency claims that the Audi is now more desirable than a BMW or a Mercedes, thanks to the durability of the Vorsprung durch Technik line and the way that the creative and strategic work has adapted around that proposition over the last 36 years.
BBH’s winning Audi paper was called, “Beauty and brains: how we supercharged the Audi premium 2015-2018. The case study passed the rigorous IPA criteria by showing that Audi sales grew three times faster than the UK market; they closed the price gap with the highest priced competitors by 10%; lifetime customer value increased by 6%; £1.78 billion of incremental revenue was generated; and Audi made £2.07 profit for every £1 invested.
Carolyn McCall, ITV CEO and chair of the judges, said: “Audi used fresh thinking, tools and multiple media to supercharge the brand’s desirability and sales. This strategy resulted in Audi UK’s highest ever return on investment, an extraordinary achievement given the many years it has been advertising.”
Controversially, JWT’s work for Vype, part of British American Tobacco, won a Bronze award. Many in the industry think that this kind of marketer should not make it to the shortlist, however good the numbers, let alone win a prize.
Adam&eveDDB, which won the last three IPA Grand Prix (2016 for John Lewis, 2014 for Fosters, and a pre-Omnicom adam&eve in 2012 for John Lewis again) had, by its own very high standards, a relatively modest showing this year, even though they won Gold for AA and Silver for Skittles.
The IPA Grand Prix do seem to be shared out between a relatively small number of agencies. BBH won in 2008 for Johnnie Walker and 2002 for Barnardo’s, while Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R won for Marks & Spencer in 2006 when Alison Hoad – now chief strategy officer at BBH – was leading planning at RKCR/Y&R.
The IPA victory will be sweet for BBH, which has had a tricky transition phase over the last couple of years since becoming fully owned by Publicis Groupe, but is also this week celebrating its third place in Campaign’s best agencies of all time.
IPA’s Effectiveness Network of the Year was McCann, thanks to a gold for L’Oreal True Match, and a silver and a bronze for Aldi. Diageo won the prize for Dedication to Effectiveness; Best International was Publicis Italy for Heineken’s champions league communications, which also won Best Multi-Market, and Best Small Budget went to Havas London’s work on Ella’s Kitchen.
For those interested, the other gold winners were British Army by Karmarama and MediaCom; DFS by Krow Communications and MediaCom; DLG by Direct Line Group and Ebiquity; Guinness by AMV BBDO; Lidl by TBWA\London; Suzuki by the7stars; The AA by adam&eveDDB and Carat; and True Match for L’Oreal Paris by McCann London.