Leo Burnett CCO Tutssel: Why The Gunn Report acts as a barometer of the health of our industry

Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 2.25.56 PM.jpgMark Tutssel, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett, was Guest Editor of The Gunn Report 2011, released last month. Writing exclusively for Campaign Brief, Tutssel outlines why it acts as a barometer of the health of our industry - and why creativity is no longer an option: "It is, along with courage, the primary asset of brands and communications companies in the 21st century," says Tutssel.

I grew up in a football crazy family. My father is a lifelong Manchester United supporter and my brother a devoted Manchester City fan. I follow Liverpool. So you can imagine Saturday evening at our house. Every statistic was debated from points won or lost through the league rankings and top goal scorers. But when the results came out on the weekend and the tables were adjusted, the arguments were over. We had conclusive proof of performance and superiority.
Winning the English Premier League and topping the table means everything in football. A big, shiny trophy, European football the following season, a magnet for the finest creative players in the world, a lucrative shirt and stadium sponsorship deal with an iconic brand, a healthy bottom line, and more importantly, attracting a loyal global fan base of hundreds of millions.

The advertising game is no different. The Gunn Report is our results scoreboard and league table. The definitive report on creativity, it acts as a barometer of the health of our industry.

This year we saw one of the greatest creative performances ever by Wieden + Kennedy. The network dominated the awards season, winning at every major competition. As a result they topped the 'Most Awarded in the World' in four tables: Creative Agency, Commercials, Digital and All Gunns Blazing.

Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 2.45.18 PM.jpgTheir remarkable body of work is so unique, pure and new it cannot be labeled in a conventional way. Nike "Write the Future", Heineken "The Entrance", P&G Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" & "Responses", and GM Chrysler "Born on Fire" - time after time, they break through traditional award-category boundaries, creating something altogether better.

This acclaimed performance comes after years of delighting the world with their brilliant work for Honda, such as "Cog" and "Grrr" (The Most Awarded TV Commercials and Campaigns in the World 1999 - 2010). This was a master class from a phenomenal creative agency who are clearly on their game and pure inspiration for us all.

From an Australian point of view, Leo Burnett Sydney & Melbourne catapulted into the world's Top 10, ranking joint 7th in the world with Droga 5 New York. This is the highest ranking ever recorded for an Australian agency.

Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 2.40.57 PM.jpgAnother highlight of the Gunn Report 2011, which may well turn out to be a growing trend, was China's dominance at the top of the print table. The brilliantly art directed Samsonite campaign from JWT Shanghai shows that China's economic rise is starting to be matched by a new creative momentum.

In the highly competitive Asia Pacific region Leo Burnett was the most awarded agency network.

And in what is the 'headline' table for some (especially in New York, Paris and London), the "Agency Network", a mere four points separated the 2nd and 4th positions. Leo Burnett came fourth with 121 points, Ogilvy & Mather third with 124 points and DDB second with 125 points. This was the closest race ever in this league table. BBDO notched up a grand total of 180 points to become the most awarded agency network in the world in 2011.

This report reminds us that we are all caught up in a global revolution.

Creativity is no longer an option. It is, along with courage, the primary asset of brands and communications companies in the 21st century - the one and only way in which effective and valuable connections can be made with people that transform the way they think, feel and ultimately behave.

In the ongoing battle for attention, brands are no longer competing against each other, but with the whole of popular culture. Creativity is key to winning the battle and ideas are our currency.

We are in the creation business and those at the cutting edge know that they must operate as part of a wider culture. It's why in the last few years we have seen a remarkable increase in the number of global marketers attending the Cannes Festival of Creativity and other major awards shows, all in search of creativity. They are no longer there to observe, they are there to participate, to learn, to be inspired, and to discover the finest, most fertile, imaginative creative minds in our industry, knowing that award shows are the breeding ground for new world thinking - the incubator for future-facing ideas that will redefine our industry and its clients.

Donald Gunn, while at Leo Burnett, conducted three major global effectiveness studies, "Does Award Winning Advertising Sell?" He proved conclusively a direct correlation between high creativity and market place success - the greater the level of creativity, the greater the effectiveness.

Those ranked No. 1 in their industries, be it Wieden + Kennedy, Manchester United (I wish I could type Liverpool), the All Blacks, Sebastian Vettel, Novak Djokovic, HBO, Google, Apple or Coldplay, all simply do one thing: they lead by example and reset the bar.

The Gunn Report contains the best of the best - bold, innovative, category-defying thinking that will ignite the imagination of the world.

6 Comments

ted dibiase said:

Comparing an ad for a suitcase to the amazing work done by Wiedens undermines your valid argument.
While the award judging junket train rolls on, you may still pretend to believe that print ads like that aren't a waste of agency time and resource, but no one else apart from the shows that make money out of them does.

Paradox said:

Just because things win awards, it doesn't mean they're creative.

And that's the problem with awards these days. Not that clients don't think creative work is effective, but that most award shows don't reward ground breaking creativity. They reward same-same, flavour of the day shite.

erm said:

Dunno if I'd refer to the examples above as 'flavour of the day shite'... but each to their own!

Really? said:

According to Mr Tutssel's argument, Avatar and Titanic are the best movies ever made. I suppose the table below is also a barometer of health for the movie industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

Weary said:

"creativity is no longer an option"?

They were blathering that platitude when I entered the industry in 82.

Nothing has changed, including the rock bottom level of creativity.

But keep spoutin' that expensive hot air!

Two schools said:

Award winning work doesn't mean non-award winning work is less effective.
I don't think Bunnings' work will ever win an award, but it's just as outstanding in its efficacy as the examples above. Mr.Tutssel's position supports one school of advertising - a very legitimate one - but it doesn't render other schools of advertising invalid in the process.There's room for both, as Bunnings continually demonstrates.

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