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Creativity is the last legal competitive advantage

 Creativity is the last legal competitive advantage

“When ad legend Bill Bernbach said ‘Creativity is the last legal competitive advantage’ he may not have realised that he’d be even more right today than he was back then. Almost every other advantage is near commoditized” So says Charl Thom, Group CEO of FoxP2.

With the annual agency awards season now in full swing, an interesting pattern is emerging, and one which comes as no real surprise to FoxP2.

When FoxP2 was established 9 years back, it was done so with the firm philosophy that at the heart of all solutions to a client’s marketing problem lies creativity, for strategically applied and insight driven creativity is the most effective marketing tool a company can employ.

As a fledging agency, FoxP2 were invited into pitches as the “wild-card” agency, and were awarded work by visionary marketeers who bought into their strong creative concepts. Their creative prowess was never in question – evidenced by their groaning shelf of creative awards. FoxP2 has tasted significant success at Cannes, Clio’s, D&AD and The Loeries. They ended up fifth overall on the most recent Creative Circle rankings, have been top of The Loeries rankings twice, and have consistently ranked in the top 10 from day dot.

“What has changed, over the years, however” explains Thom, “is the fact that we have, through our growing base of blue chip clients, been given the chance to prove what we have always believed, that creativity goes beyond creativity-for-creativity-sake, but that it makes good business sense too. Our model works – and while we don’t judge our success by the awards we receive, they are certainly painting an interesting picture.”

Ster-Kinekor and FRANK.NET – FoxP2 Cape Town clients with a similar penchant for buying brave creative work – are good examples. FoxP2 finished the 2013 Loerie weekend with one Grand Prix, three golds, two silvers, six bronzes and two craft certificates, for work on these brands. The Loerie (considered the biggest celebration of creativity in Africa and the Middle East) wins come as no surprise given the highly creative nature of the campaigns.

The noteworthy trend, however is the fact that both FRANK.NET and Ster-Kinekor campaigns have also won gold APEX Awards – which recognise the achievement of a communications campaigns’ performance excellence in an industry that is constantly refining and redefining creativity.

The adjudication process for APEX is stringent because entrants are required to prove that their
campaigns achieved performance excellence by contributing a measured return to their client’s bottom line. A gold is only awarded when the submssion receives a score of between ninety and a hundred percent. An APEX is not an award for creativity as such because “effectiveness” is not positioned against “creativeness”.

At the 2012 Apex Awards, only 8 Apex Awards were handed out, of which FoxP2 Cape Town were awarded a bronze and Special Chairman’s award for their Drive Dry “They’d Love to Meet You” campaign and one of only two Gold Apex awards in recognition of the impact that direct life investment company FRANK.NET’s advertising campaign had in driving sales within its first year of operation.

Similarly, at the most recent 2014 Apex Awards, only 12 Apex Awards were handed out, of which three were gold. Once again, one of these went to FoxP2 for their “Some Things Should Only Be Experienced on the Big Screen” campaign for Ster-Kinekor. The campaign was the only Apex winner to be recognized with a gold Loerie.

With a 181% ROI, the campaign increased Ster-Kinekor brand awareness by 13% and delivered a 2% increase in market share for the cinema theatre chain. Perhaps most impressively, it reversed a decline in cinema attendance.

“Having won numerous creative awards, winning a further Apex puts the real seal on our achievements by demonstrating that our creative award winning campaigns effectively contribute to our clients’ profitability, further proving the FoxP2 mantra – Creativity, often the most-undervalued tool for business, sells!” concludes Thom.


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