Arun Sudhaman 14 Dec 2023 // 11:47AM GMT
Edelman has taken top spot in the 2023 edition of the Global Creative Index, the first time in seven years that the world's biggest firm has ranked first in PRovoke Media's annual benchmark of creativity in the public relations world.
The 12th edition of the Global Creative Index analyses entries and winners from more than 25 PR, digital and marketing awards programmes from around the world over a 12-month period, up to and including the 2023 Global SABRE Awards. The formula takes into account the expansion of 'public relations' work across multiple categories at advertising-oriented shows such as the Cannes Lions.
Edelman's performance was led by the HP Streetcode initiative to address Indonesia's digital divide, which also took top spot on the 2023 Campaigns table. Numerous Unilever campaigns from across the globe also boosted Edelman's score, notably Dove's #LetHerGrow and #Keep the Grey initiatives, along with Vaseline's See My Skin effort.
Weber Shandwick took second place, after ranking first for five of the past six years, bolstered by significant campaigns for AB InBev, Ancestry, Expedia, Mars Wrigley and Unesco. The IPG firm narrowly outscored Ogilvy, which ranked third after placing second in 2022.
MSL jumps from 19th to fourth, ahead of Ketchum, which retained fifth spot. In sixth place, Golin moves up from seventh, while Hill & Knowlton, Zeno and LLYC all enter the top 10 in 2023.
Once again, the top of the overall agency table is dominated by global PR networks, thanks to their volume of awards.
However, an alternative measure of agency creativity comes from weighting agency scores according to their staff size. Accordingly, PRovoke Media has again used a points per head calculation to identify which are, ‘pound for pound’, the most creative PR agencies in the world.
In 2023, this title is taken by South Africa's Retroviral, thanks in large part to its 'Be You. Period' campaign for Lil-Lets, which ranked as the fifth most awarded PR campaign of the year. Retroviral leads a clean sweep by EMEA agencies of the top six positions, ahead of two Eastern European firms — Hungary's Uniomedia and Croatia's Abeceda in second and third, respectively.
In fourth place, Dubai's Matrix makes its first ever appearance on this ranking, ahead of Clue PR from Poland and Lynn from Wales.
While EMEA firms dominate the weighted ranking, accounting for 12 of the top 15, there is still considerable geographic diversity in play. In addition to the top six, there are also firms from Australia (Campaign Lab and History Will Be Kind), UK (The Romans and Hope & Glory), Finland (Kurio), Nigeria (Image Merchants), Latvia (Komunikacijas agentura), and Brazil (Latam Intersect). Like last year, a US firm does not make the weighted table.
To better rank agencies against their peers, the weighted table is also segmented along regional lines, producing top five rankings for North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, as follows:
'HP Streetcode' tops Campaign Ranking
'HP Streetcode', which tackled Indonesia's digital divide through street art, emerged as the most-awarded PR program of the past 12 months according to PRovoke Media's 2023 Global Creative Index. The campaign from HP and Edelman also ranked first among Global SABRE winners.
The Index analysed entries and winners from more than 25 PR award programmes from around the world, over a 12-month period, using the 2022 Global SABRE Awards as a cut-off point. Scores were weighted according to a PRovoke Media formula that placed particular emphasis on Best in Show winners, while also taking into account the expansion of 'public relations' work across multiple categories at advertising-oriented shows such as the Cannes Lions.
HP Streetcode ranked ahead of CALM's 'The Last Photo' suicide prevention effort with Hope & Glory and Adam&Eve DDB, while Dove's #LetHerGrow came in third, supporting Thai schoolgirls in their quest to end the practice of forced haircuts.
The results, which rank the top 20 PR campaigns as determined by award shows, suggest that reports of the demise of purpose are somewhat exaggerated. Instead, the best performing campaigns are demonstrating a tangible impact on such issues as the digital divide, gender inequality, mental health and wellness, the cost of living and DEI.
Unilever tops Company Ranking
Unilever retains top spot in the Global Creative Index's ranking of companies, according to the performance of the company's campaigns in the various award shows that are tracked around the world. FMCG rival P&G, which slipped to sixth last year, jumps to second, ahead of Pepsico (up 12 places), AB InBev (+4) and new entrant HP.
Unilever's haul was led by award-winning efforts such as Dove's '#LetHerGrow', along with the same brand's #KeepTheGrey initiative, and campaigns for Vaseline, Lifebuoy and Wall's.
The Global Creative Index analyses entries and winners from more than 25 PR award programmes from around the world, over a 12 month period, using the 2022 Global SABRE Awards as a cut-off point. Scores were weighted according to a PRovoke Media formula that placed particular emphasis on Best in Show winners.