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Winning Effie Campaigns Outperform on all Key Metrics According to RED C Research

Charley Stoney, IAPI and Richard Colwell, RED C

IAPI’s 2023 Irish Effie Award Winners significantly outperform the norm when the available creative adverts from the entries are tested against the extensive RED C database, according to Richard Colwell who presented the results of a study carried out by the research agency into this year’s winners at an event organised by IAPI.

The average scores for TV ads found in the 2023 Effies award entries reach an excellent RED Star overall effectiveness rating of 69, far outperforming the norm of all TV ads tested which stands at 57.  The research testing also showed that most 2023 Effie award winners excelled on at least one key attribute that is known to drive effectiveness, including Fame, Distinctiveness, Creativity and Emotional Response.

The week after the Effie Awards Ireland Winners were announced, RED C tested 16 TV or Video based adverts that were part of the campaigns that won awards.  The 16 chosen were those awards where the collateral available made sense to test vs. the norm database of video-based adverts.   The ads tested included a range of Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners.

The ads were tested on the RED C DIY advertising testing platform, RED C Direct, which examines advertising creatives on a number of metrics including Creativity, Distinctiveness, Fame, Emotional Response and Brand Impact, the answers to which generates our RED Star overall one number effectiveness score.

On RED C Direct, clients and agencies are able to test ads very cost effectively and at speed.  The report gives ratings on all aspects of the ad, including an overall one number score, that are all benchmarked against thousands of ads that have been tested over the past 10 years.   The test also provides invaluable diagnostic guidance for agencies and brands on the changes needed to make the creative more effective.

In the case of the Effie award winners it is clear that not much guidance is needed, as in general the ads perform significantly above the norms seen across all our testing.


Most Gold Effie winners outperformed our database norm on the FAME metric.  This is a key effectiveness metric, as it measures how likely people were to share or talk about the ad.  As Paul Feldwick says Fame is the driver of successful advertising and a social construct. It emerges from the interactions between people, the media, and each other.”  This metric is one of the hardest metrics for adverts to perform well at, as consumers are generally reticent to say that they talk about or share advertising.

The ad that smashes our Fame metric norms is the overall Grand Effie winner “The World’s Strongest Women” campaign created by F&B Huskies for their client Allianz Ireland. It achieves a record fame rating of 82, which is 47 points above our norm database of over 3,000 ads. The average score on Fame for Gold Effie winners was 64, for Silver Effie winners it was 54 and for Bronze Effie winners it was 44.  Suggesting Fame was an important factor in the overall award drivers.

Emotional Response & Distinctiveness

Gold Effie winners also exceeded norms on other key effectiveness metrics, such as emotional response and distinctiveness.

The Credit Union Monster Loans ad that secured a Gold Effie, performs very well on driving a positive emotional response, which has been shown by Binet and Field among others, to be a key driver of a campaign’s effectiveness.  It scores 96, which is 27 points ahead of the norm database.

Other Effie winners that did particularly well on emotional response included the An Post Christmas ad “Send from the heart”, “Jeff’s World” from Three, and “Book your next Giant Adventure” from Tourism Northern Ireland.  With 11 winners in total exceeding the emotional response norm by at least 5 points.

Next up is distinctiveness. Key to getting any message across is that the brand is well linked to the campaign.  RED C measures this by asking whether it was clear who the ad was for, either before you saw the logo or once you had seen the whole advert.  The National Lottery has spent a lot of time and effort maximising its distinctiveness across campaigns, being ruthless on colour and brand assets, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that this Gold winning campaign smashes the effectiveness norm in our database, with a score of 81 compared to a norm of just 49. Other winners that also did well on distinctiveness included the “Go full Lidl” campaign 29 points ahead of norm, “Lovely Day for a Guinness” 16 points above norm and Vodafone’s “Home of the Trade-in” at 13 points ahead of norm.


Most 2023 Effie Awards Ireland winners also outperformed the norm on Creativity, which we measure by asking about people’s future desire to see the ad again.  Top performers on this metric of effectiveness included “Book your Next Giant Adventure” from Tourism Northern Ireland, “Send from the Heart” from An Post and “Jeff’s World” from Three Ireland. All ads that had also generated a very positive emotional response.

Overall, the top ads rated by consumers are made up of ads that excel on one or more of the key metrics and exceed the norms on most metrics, and it is clear that these consumer ratings confirm that Effie Awards Ireland winners are significantly effective campaigns vs. the norm.

If you want to see how your advert or campaign tests against the norm, and vs. these Effie award winners scores, you can test your ad overnight at www.redcdirect.com

Richard Colwell is CEO of RED C. For more info on the Effie scores or RED C Direct testing platform please contact Richard Colwell, CEO, RED C Research ( richard@redcreseach.ie)

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