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Move over Madison Avenue – brands can find the best creative value in Argentina

Argentina comes out top as the best market to get creative value for money but the US and the UK still rank highly

Argentina is the place for brands to head if they're looking for the best creative value, according to new research.

A week after those lucky enough to have been in the south of France have shaken off the rosé residue, the industry is taking stock of which countries were producing the better work this year.

The usual countries were at the top, with a few outliers sweeping the boards on a few campaigns. Markets such as the UK and the US, with big budgets, a long creative history and considerable consumer spending, were obviously going to feature. But which countries give marketers the biggest bang for their buck in the creative awards?

Marketing consultancy TrinityP3 overlayed data from its Global Agency Fees database and Ad Cost Checker over Gunn Report 2016 data to find out, when taking market size, creative costs and the data from both into account, which countries come up top.

According to the data, a global advertiser looking for creative value adjusted for market scale should look to these top five markets (versus its original Gunn Report ranking for 2016):

  1. Argentina (5)
  2. New Zealand (6),
  3. The UAE (12)
  4. Thailand (14)
  5. Mexico (19)

If purely taking into account scale, the top five markets are:

  1. New Zealand (6)
  2. The UAE (12)
  3. Sweden (10)
  4. Argentina (5)
  5. Spain (8)

If looking at award wins versus creative costs, the top five are:

  1. Argentina (5)
  2. The USA (1)
  3. Brazil (4)
  4. India (13)
  5. The UK (2)

Argentina comes out top as the best market to get creative value for money, while the US and the UK still rank highly.

Darren Woolley, founder of TrinityP3, said: “When we just applied the value (creativity/dollar), of course more expensive markets dropped in ranking like Australia, France and Belgium and lower cost markets like India, Thailand and Mexico rose in the ranking. But with the big markets like the USA and UK, the Gunn Report score is four times and double the next four market scores respectively.

“The question we wondered is if this was due to increased opportunity or increased resources available. Certainly the USA, China, Japan and UK represent the four biggest media markets. But it became much more interesting when we adjusted the Gunn Score and ranking by the media market size. It showed very clearly the markets that are punching well above their market size, such as Singapore, Norway, UAE, Thailand and Sweden.

“Only four of the top 25 on the Gunn Report come from Asia (including the subcontinent and excluding Australia and New Zealand). The big improver from this group is Thailand, which considering market size and relatively lower cost makes the top five markets for value considering market size or scale.

"The other big improvers here are Argentina (often overshadowed by Brazil), New Zealand (often overshadowed by Australia), UAE and Mexico, (overshadowed by the wall planned by the USA),” he explained.

The Drum spoke to creatives from markets showing the best creative value, such as Sweden, India, Thailand and Argentina, to find out what makes them creatively special:

Fredrik Öst, founder and creative director, Snask (Sweden)

Conservatism is not that popular here, as well as religion. Why do I think that this affects creativity? Because just listen to the word "conservatism". Taste it. It tastes rotten and boring. The word means to stop and conserve things the way they've always been. The only problem being that the world is constantly changing. Everything that we are today and have achieved is thanks to change. So to actually believe in something with that kind of name feels backwards.

We believe that every human is born creative but that society strangles it for some people. They call it to "grow up" and acting grown up. But the most childish thing you can do is playing grown ups. We firmly believe that anyone can tap into their "lost" creativity again at any point in life, simply by stopping living by stiff rules decided by society.

Chavo D’Emilio, McCann Worldgroup regional creative director and McCann Buenos Aires president (Argentina)

Argentina is a country that has the tradition of advertising creativity running in its veins. Historically we like advertising and we have had many masters along the way. This has led to a creative generation that have been championing new generations, setting a virtuous cycle with good results.

Also, I believe we have a restless culture and we are surrounded by creativity in many dimensions. We are a passionate people, and therefore we like to get around and show ourselves. It all very often takes place in unstable social economic contexts, which favors external policies that also make us a good option in terms of production values. All those elements, when combined, make Argentina very present when talking about global advertising. Eras change, but the will to do things keep renovated and adapting itself to new times.

Somkiat Larptanunchaiwong, chief executive of BBDO Bangkok (Thailand)

The attempt to identify the value of such an abstract matter like creativity is always a good challenge, and this study has done it legitimately in my view. The outcomes shown in the study can be a good thought starter for all marketers to identify the best resources to maximize their investment for the best interest of their business. I am not surprised with the good value of Thailand’s creativity from the analysis. Thailand seems to be trying to play well on creativity. The country is not among the largest market geographically, and the cost is obviously in moderate level.

There is a Thai word called “Zab” which means spicy and flavorful in English. “Zab” is a usual term we use to describe Thai great tasting food. Sometimes the word is used to reflect something so entertaining, like “it’s so Zab”, as well. In advertising, in whichever market we are, we all aim to be creative for the best solution for the business. In Thailand, you will experience creativity a little more “Zab” here. And that’s Thai magic: to grab attention and interest from the people.

Mihir Chitre, creative group head, What's Your Problem (India)

I think we, in India, do know how to get things done. And we work on timelines and costs that will surprise any western nation. While this ability to deliver great ideas with very little money is a fantastic trait, it sometimes leaves us asking for more in terms of things like production value and use of technology. But having said that, I totally think Indian advertising is one of the best value-for-money for brands around the world.

Andreas Friberg Lundgren, art director and co-founder of Lundgren+Lindqvist AB (Sweden)

Sweden has a long tradition design thinking, permeating not only our creative industries, but also more general business segments. From giants such as Ikea and H&M to progressive companies like Spotify and Acne Studios, we have in recent years seen a rejuvenation of our creative scene.

With progressive companies in segments ranging from tech to fashion and advertising, there are also good opportunities and a good climate for recent graduates to stay in Sweden. Not only for local creatives, but also for creatives from abroad.

Additional reporting from Katie Deighton and Taruka Srivastav