In the public relations industry,
creativity is no longer just window
dressing. Big ideas can dramatically
reshape a company’s fortunes
and, increasingly, those ideas
are being generated through a
sophisticated understanding of
This report aims to celebrate the
best of these types of ideas. Like
last year’s inaugural edition, only
award-winning campaigns have
been considered. There are, of
course, any number of innovative
PR programmes that have either
not entered award shows, or have
come home empty-handed. Neither
should we overlook the regular flow
of PR work, often from the public
affairs and crisis management
space, that remains confidential.
substance to the idea that credible
award shows can deliver a certain
level of creative currency within the
industry. They are not, of course,
the only measure of creativity, but
they do offer a useful benchmark for
organisations and agencies alike.
All of the work featured in this
effectiveness into its output. PR
campaigns, rightly, are measured
according to their results. A powerful
idea, in isolation, is irrelevant if it
does not drive relevant, measurable
The organisations and firms featured
here should be commended for
their commitment to breakthrough
thinking. Ultimately, we hope that
this report — in particular the work it
showcases — helps to elevate and
The Holmes Report
To compile these rankings the
Holmes Report first selected more
than 20 key global, regional and local
PR award shows over a 12-month
period, using the 2013 Cannes
Lions as a cut-off date. Some of the
shows included were the various
PRWeek Awards, the European
Excellence Awards, the Cannes PR
Lions, and our own SABRE Awards
Each show was then weighted
according to our knowledge of its
scope and scale, looking specifically
at its significance; geographic
remit; and, reputation within the PR
Where one campaign has won
multiple awards at the same show,
points are only awarded once. If,
however, a campaign has won a
best in show award – campaign of
the year or similar – it is awarded
double points. In addition, only
campaigns that have won more than
three awards across different shows
have been considered. The tables
are created from these rankings.
Campaigns are ranked according
to overall points, not number of
awards won. However, restricting the
criteria to campaigns that had won
more than three awards prevented
campaigns that had scooped
just one award on a global scale
finishing higher than campaigns that
may have won three or four different
awards on a local or regional scale.
Agencies have been ranked based
upon how many points they have
been awarded, not how many
awards they have won. Therefore an
agency may have won less awards
overall than agencies below it, but
we believe the awards it has won are
more significant on a global scale.
The sector tables were created
using the same methodology.
Campaign Rankings ................. 3-5
Agency Rankings ................... 6-10
Network Rankings .....................11
Ogilvy PR ...The Gnome Experiment
The Gnome Experiment
TOP 14 CAMPAIGNS
Kern & Sohn
Marina Maher Communications/DeVries Global/H+K
Procter & Gamble
Nords Porter Novelli
City of Ventspils
Pelham Bell Pottinger
P&G Builds Consumer Loyalty During the London
State Within a State
FedEx Deliver Panda-monium Across the Globe
From Conflict to Collaboration
Mr Bao: A Virtual Sales Champion for IBM China
The '+' Project
Royal Philips Electronics
Golden Goose PR
Putting Sea Containers on the Map
R UV UGLY?
Cancer Research UK
The Launch of Shwopping
Defrost Your Swimsuit
M Silver Associates
Greater Fort Lauderdale
From East to West and Everywhere In Between,
America's Farmers and Ranchers are Leading the Food
Ketchum and Maslansky &
US Farmers & Ranchers
Heart Rescue Project Teaches Millions How to Save a
Welcome to the Global Collaboratory: Global Food
*Based on the Holmes Report’s Creative Index Methodology
P&G ... Momumentary Project
A campaign that measured minute variations in
gravity by weighing a common garden gnome has
emerged as the most awarded PR campaign in
the world, according to the Holmes Report’s 2013
Global Creative Index.
The Index analysed entries and winners from more
than 25 PR award programmes from around the
world, over a 12 month period, using the 2013
Cannes Lions as a cut-off point. Scores were
weighted according to a Holmes Report formula
that placed particular emphasis on Best of Show
The results reveal that Kern & Sohn’s Gnome
Experiment campaign, developed in conjunction
with Ogilvy PR London, took top spot, thanks to a
slew of wins at European shows. The programme
scored more than twice as many points as the
second-ranked effort, a tie between Procter &
Gamble’s Olympic PR campaign and the ‘State
Within a State’ tourism effort by the Latvian city of
CONTENT UNLOCKS CREATIVITY
The results, which rank the top 15 PR campaigns,
reinforce the importance of a strong creative
idea, supported by compelling content that spurs
engagement. The Gnome Experiment, for example,
showcased the precise nature of Kern scales by
inviting scientists from around the world to take part
in the project, logging results and eventually driving
impressive sales results.
Similarly, P&G’s Olympic PR push built on the
‘Momumentary Project’, which told athlete stories
from the perspective of their mothers, utilising
60 documentary videos to foster an emotional
connection that ultimately translated into awareness
and concrete sales returns.
The City of Ventspils ‘State Within a State’
programme, meanwhile, turned the Latvian city into
an independent state that printed its own currency,
which could be earned on its ‘global online embassy’
and cashed out upon visiting the city.
The common thread running through these three
campaigns is a content-rich strategy that builds
on the core insight to develop genuine consumer
involvement, often within a realtime marketing
Golden Agri...From Conflict to Collaboration
context. It is a formula for creative communications
that is not always simple to follow but can, clearly,
lead to some thrilling results.
It is also an approach that illustrates how digital
and social media are helping to unlock creativity
in PR. Most of the top-ranked campaigns revolve
around a core digital platform, demonstrating how
today’s PR campaigns are genuinely integrated —
seamlessly utilising social media engagement to
Neither should the focus on genuine business
results be overlooked. The Gnome Experiment, for
example, improved sales by 22 percent, generating
1,445 new leads. P&G’s Olympics campaign is
estimated to have driven $500m in incremental
M&S ... The Launch of Schwopping
sales. And ‘State Within a State’ saw tourist
numbers to Ventspils soar during the campaign.
Many of the other campaigns within the top 15
demonstrate similar characteristics, not least
IBM China’s Mr Bao programme; ‘The Launch of
Schwopping’ by M&S; and, the Philips ‘+ Project’.
While the ranking is dominated by consumer
campaigns, it is worth noting that three of the
programmes are corporate programmes, including
the ‘Gnome Experiment’, which focused on building
Kern’s credibility among a scientific audience.
The ‘From Conflict to Collaboration’ campaign
from Golden Agri Resources helped reshape the
reputation of one of Asia’s most controversial
Ventspils...State Within a State
companies by building authentic dialogue with
NGOs that successfully communicated Golden
Agri’s efforts to improve its supply chain and
sustainability. The programme is proof that creativity
in public relations is not limited to shiny stunts, but
can just as easily revolve around honest corporate
There is a refreshing geographic diversity among the
top 15 campaigns, featuring work from traditional
powerhouse markets such as the US and UK, along
with eye-catching programmes from Germany,
Latvia, Singapore, China and the Netherlands.
Among agencies, Ogilvy PR tops the overall Global Creative Index, thanks to a
well-balanced haul from major shows across EMEA, Asia-Pacific and the US,
led by its top-ranked Gnome Experiment effort from London. The agency placed
two other campaigns within the top 15: ‘IBM’s Mr Bao’ in China, and a DuPont
programme from the US.
After ranking second in 2012, Ogilvy leapfrogs Weber Shandwick to take top
spot this year. The latter network drops to third, with Ketchum rising to second
after ranking fourth last year.
Ketchum’s haul was led by Europe and the US, notably its FedEx ‘Pandamonium’
campaign and work for Philips. The agency’s Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
campaign in the US, meanwhile, also scored well.
Weber Shandwick also scored well, as evidenced by its recent Cannes Lions
haul, despite a paucity of campaigns within the top 15. Rounding out the top
quartet was Edelman, which dropped from third one year earlier.
TOP 15 OVERALL AGENCIES
MSLGroup recorded a substantial rise, from ninth in 2012 to sixth this year, while
Hill+Knowlton experienced the reverse, dropping to ninth from sixth. Sweden’s
Prime PR and global ad agency Leo Burnett both fell out of the overall top ten,
replaced by new entrants Porter Novelli and Cohn & Wolfe.
Cohn & Wolfe
Outside the top ten, major risers included Unity and Waggener Edstrom.
*Points for OneVoice campaigns for Philips have been split between
Fleishman-Hillard and Ketchum
Kern & Sohn ... The Gnome Experiment
POUND FOR POUND
While networks dominate the overall table, because of their volume of awards,
a better measure of agency creativity comes from weighting agency scores
according to their staff size. Accordingly, the Holmes Report has this year
introduced a points per head table that identifies which are, ‘pound for pound’,
the most creative PR agencies in the world.
The top of the table is dominated by single-market boutique agencies. UK firm
Unity comes out on top, after placing two campaigns within the top 15 - the
‘Launch of Shwopping’ for M&S; and ‘R UV UGLY’ for Cancer Research UK.
Unity’s stellar haul was produced by just 21 staff members, helping it earn EMEA
Consumer Consultancy of the Year at the last SABRE Awards.
In second spot is Sweden’s Jung Relations, thanks to award-winning work for
Blocket, Volvo and Absolut. Perennial awards darling Prime, also from Sweden,
ranks fourth, with US agency RF|Binder taking third spot.
The top five is rounded out by New York’s Marina Maher, the agency that led
P&G’s Olympic PR work. Blue Rubicon, a UK firm that has begun to expand
internationally, ranks sixth, before the first global network — Ogilvy PR — makes
an appearance at seventh.
Unity... Cancer Research
Marina Maher Communications
Jung Relations... Absolut Unique
*Points per head—sees agency scores weighted according to staff size.
POUND FOR POUND
The results would appear to confirm the notion that creativity is not a function of
agency size. They should, furthermore, support the argument that strong local
firms are, easily, a match for bigger global networks.
In geographic terms, three countries dominate the top of the pound for pound
table: the UK, Sweden and the US. Sweden’s emergence as a highly creative
PR industry has been documented in detail by the Holmes Report, while the US
and UK are home to the world’s two largest PR markets.
Perhaps the key finding here is that single-market agencies dominate the top of
this table, ahead of the multinational agencies. On this evidence, at least, local
players cannot be beat when it comes to creativity. The results would suggest
that agility trumps scale when it comes creativity, re-igniting the debate about
whether small agencies are more creative than larger ones.
Cohn & Wolfe
Ventspils State Within a State
*Points per head—sees agency scores weighted according to staff size.
TOP 6 CONSUMER AGENCIES
IBM China ... Mr BAO
TOP 5 TECH AGENCIES
BlueFocus PR Consulting
Philips ...Your Health and Wellbeing
WPP’s reign at the top of the holding group table will come under
serious threat once the Publicis Omnicom merger is complete. The
latter group, which will have the world’s largest set of PR operations,
would have outranked WPP this year according to a total Creative
Index score of 342.
Elsewhere, Havas catches the eye, boosted by a strong showing
from Havas PR and firms such as Cake and the Red Agency.
TOP 5 NETWORKS
The Holmes Report
Paul A. Holmes - CEO
Arun Sudhaman - Partner & Managing Editor
Greg Drury - Partner & President - U.S. Operations
Aarti Shah - Senior Editor
Annabel Davis - Chief Internet Officer
Amanda Busby - UK Administrative Officer
Celeste Picco - Chief Administrative Officer
Cathy Bussey - Creative Index Research Editor:
James Beer - Lead Design
The Holmes Group, Address: 271 West 47 Street, Suite 23-A, New York, NY 10036,
USA, Tel: (212) 333-2300; Fax: (212)333-2624
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.