We began this book with a discussion of the most awarded campaign in advertising history, Dumb Ways to Die. To many, our critique may seem like sour grapes, but we think it highlights a major challenge for our industry: the need to move from merely celebrating the things we love toward embracing great work that also makes a difference.

Every year in our industry, campaigns from the recent past compete for what are called “effectiveness” awards. In most cases, the success metrics are self-reported. There are no challenges to them, nor any investigation of the claims. Not surprisingly, in 2014 Dumb Ways to Die tore a bright path through these contests. It won four golds at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness ...

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