Emma Wilkie, Managing Director, The Gunn Report Ltd, United Kingdom

Emma Wilkie photo web

Why is The Gunn Report Annual a must have for every individual working in the creative industry and what can we learn from it?
The Gunn Report is the global index of creative excellence in advertising and as such it is the ultimate resource for information and inspiration. Whilst we wouldn’t argue for a moment that awards per se – the bits of metal you put on the shelf – are of the most fundamental importance in the scheme of things, we do believe that award-winning qualities in advertising are. They have the power to produce sales for the immediate present and simultaneously build a reputation for the long haul. They should, therefore, be celebrated and made available for posterity.

How do you measure the global index of creative excellence in advertising?
We combine the winners’ lists from the 45 most important advertising award contests around the world. Some of these are global contests, some regional, some national.

It seems that the most awarded countries are also the largest with the highest marketing budgets (e.g. UK, USA, Germany). In your experience, what is the relationship between budgets and awards?
It is true that the countries with the largest advertising markets tend to be the most creatively awarded. However, we’re now seeing that great work can come from anywhere – big countries and markets as well as small countries and markets. It’s big ideas not big budgets that result in big awards.

One could argue that advertising and creative festivals are only for the big players and it is therefore logical that they are also the most awarded. How can a small agency experience a breakthrough?
Big players may produce quality in quantity but there’s no reason why a small agency cannot produce great creative work and festivals are the ideal opportunity for them to showcase their creative credentials.

What can we learn from the 100 Best Commercials of the 20th Century? What are their main characteristics?
The “100 Best” is a compendium of 100 stories. 100 episodes of human endeavour where a mysterious alchemy of desire, determination, God-given talent and luck resulted in something truly special. The cast of characters will vary story by story but we believe that in the vast majority of cases, it will include creative people at the very top of their game, account guys who can sell because they’d earned trust, clients of surpassing vision and bravery and directors, cameramen, editors and production companies who went way beyond the call of duty and added further magic.

Are the best commercials also the most efficient ones in terms of sales?
We have been involved in various studies, including the IPA/Gunn Study and Cases for Creativity, which consistently show that creatively rewarded advertising can multiply market share growth by up to 10 times. Ads that are strategically accurate but with a tendency to be boring are finding it increasingly hard to deliver commercially. But ads that people like and want to see again and talk to their friends about are working better and faster than ever before and are delivering a higher ROI.

What are some of the most significant changes that advertising has gone through when comparing the end of 20th Century with the beginning of 21st?
Technology has obviously had the greatest impact on how advertising is both created and consumed.

You have been instrumental in The Gunn Report's growth to date. What is your secret?
There is no secret, I just love what I do and what The Gunn Report represents. Identifying and celebrating the best creative work in the world is an endless opportunity to learn and appreciate an industry that we’re all lucky to be a part of.

What would be your message to Golden Drum delegates?
Be inspired - look at the work, listen to the speakers, talk to your fellow delegates. And have fun!

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