This post originally appeared on the Wunderman Thompson blog and was written together with Chloé Van Elsen.

“Now that’s a fun campaign, but did it actually work?” is a reaction often heard in our industry. At Wunderman Antwerp, we continuously strive to make sure our communication efforts are as effective as possible. Last month, we won Bronze at one of the most prestigious awards shows in Belgian advertising: the Effie Belgium Awards. And this week, we added a Gold Euro Effie Award, granted at the international Euro Effie Ceremony. 

Effie Awards are assigned to marketing ideas with proven effectiveness. Our Effie success was not a quick and easy win. Months of preparation went into the little statues that now decorate our reception desk. In this blog post, we’ll take you back in time, on our ‘road to Effie’. Hopefully, you can take away some valuable lessons for your next journey to marketing effectiveness.   


An Effie trajectory starts long before the campaign, even long before receiving a campaign brief. Pursuing an Effie should be a mindset adopted in every part of your organization. As an agency, it is a shared responsibility of Client Service, Strategy and Creation. Make sure everybody recognizes the importance of an Effie award and maybe even incentivize your people to actively spot and collaborate on Effie-worthy projects. 


If a client brief has the potential of becoming an impactful campaign, you can go ahead and assemble your Effie team. This team should consist of members both from agency and of client side, in our case Child Focus. There is no use in aiming for an Effie without a dedicated team since building an Effie case requires a long-term investment, a lot of effort and coordination with different partners. Getting all of these partners on board is critical. To spark the team drive and ambition, we launched the ‘Road to Effie’ project. The project had its own logo and even a short mission statement. The ‘Road to Effie’ was presented internally and at the offices of Child Focus. Next to raising enthusiasm, the ‘Road to Effie’ also served another purpose: assisting as a plan of action. 

Our ‘Road to Effie’ project included clearly defined goals and deadlines. We appointed project members that were responsible for every single step of the journey, from giving the initial creative brief to rereading the final document. All these small tasks were collected in our “Who Does What” spreadsheet. If you’ve got your promising client brief and you have a dedicated and driven team that has a clear plan of action – you can head on to the next step.


To find out if your campaign actually worked, you will need a lot of (pre- and post-campaign) data. Before launching the campaign, we made sure all our data traps were adequately set up. It is important that you team up with the right research partners.  For instance, we partnered with Insites Consulting for the qualitative part of the data collection. Another important source of data is your client. But be aware that the data you need, isn’t always as easily accessible as you think. In our case, the most critical parameter that determined our campaign’s effectiveness was the reach and number of shares of the missing children’s Facebook posts. As Child Focus places great importance on the privacy of the children that went missing, they make sure to immediately and permanently delete all digital traces of the missing children posters when the child has returned. To track the effectiveness of the posters right up until the return of the child, a new process was created, presented, approved and finally implemented in the way of work of the Child Focus digital team. 


In the week before the International Day of Missing Children, we launched the ‘Closer Than You Think’-campaign. The main objective of the campaign was getting more people to share missing children’s posts on Facebook. To increase shares, we also had to increase the feeling of involvement with missing children. So, we decided to get people to feel connected to missing children, we had to show them they actually are related in some way.

The campaign strategy was based on the well-known ‘Small World’ theory of Harvard professor Stuart Milgram. Milgram proved back in 1967 that every person on earth could be linked with a complete stranger through a chain of maximum five people. Have a look at our case movie to see how the campaign turned out. Click here to watch it


After running your campaign, it is time to assess its impact and analyse your results. An important remark here is that, in writing your Effie case, you should write concisely and focused. Only report results that link back to one of your earlier set campaign goals. For instance, our primary objective was increasing shares and involvement. While we also saw positive effects of the campaign on the image of Child Focus, we only reported results that were relevant for pre-set objectives. 


You will probably want to start writing your Effie case before the campaign results are in. You could for example already start documenting your strategy and campaign idea. But let’s be realistic, chances are that you, just like us, will have to start writing the Effie document after your campaign has ended. That’s okay. The good thing is, if you have followed the previous steps, it should at least be easier to start writing your 10 page-Effie document. 

Writing an Effie document is tiresome and requires teamwork, vision and the balls to make big decisions (‘kill your darlings’, as they say). It is impossible to write everything down in as much detail as you would like, or to report every small increase your brand tracker showed. Bottom line is you have to stick to the plan and write a concise and focused report. If the result doesn’t directly lead to obtaining your main objective, delete it. And read the document, correct it, reread it, rewrite it, and again, and again. Chances are you will change details until the very last moment before submitting (we know we did). Until you end up with “effiedoc-final_realfinal_submissionversion_.docx”. 


To help you write a solid Effie case, you can call out to the Effie masters. This is a community of previous jury members and/or Effie winners, in other words: Effie experts. Go and pick their brains for extra input on how to carve your Effie document to perfection! 


The result of months of preparation, execution, writing and rewriting? Beginning of September we knew we made it to the shortlist of the Effie Belgium and Euro Effie Awards. Three weeks later, at the Effie Belgium award ceremony in Docks Brussels, we climbed on the podium as the proud winner of a Bronze Effie Belgium Award! 

To top off an already unforgettable evening, we also received “the most beautifully crafted award that I’ve ever seen” (© Erwin Jansen): the special Strategic Shift Award, granted by ACC Belgium! A couple of weeks later, we returned to Brussels to attend the international Euro Effie Award Ceremony. What happened there absolutely topped all expectations: we went home with a GOLDEN Euro Effie Award. Wow. 
We can proudly say that all the hard work we put into the campaign and writing the Effie case, paid off. 

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