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Industry Contributor 29 Jul 2019 - 2 min read

Bravery the biggest factor in effective advertising

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

A study of 6,000 winning Effie campaigns by AdAge and Mark Ritson has found that ads that took the most risks delivered by far the best results (AdAge).


Key points

  • Research suggested brands should either be conservative or very brave. Middle of the road approach least effective
  • Over researching diminished effectiveness
  • Mass reach delivers better than targeted, but most effective campaigns did both
  • The longer the campaign, the more effective it is
  • Differentiation trumps distinction
  • The more channels used, the greater the effectiveness


Taking risks and going large on reach are the key ingredients for effective advertising, according to the study. As AdAge acknowledges, it’s not always easy to convince clients to take big risks, but watering down a brave idea is actually worse than just taking a conservative approach to start with.

Its findings around research are also interesting – you need to do some, but too much will reduce effectiveness – suggesting great creative backed up with a modest amount of marketing science is the optimum approach.

Meanwhile, striking the right balance between broad and narrow in terms of reach and frequency is marketing’s perennial challenge – and the people getting it right, across a broad range of channels, are delivering the most effective results.

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Paul McIntyre

Executive Editor

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