It used to be assumed in marketing and advertising that cause and effect between advertising and business success was virtually impossible to prove—because of the difficulty of extracting the effect of price, promotion, product, competitive activity etc.

This first began to be challenged in the 1960s, jump-started when the Effie Awards were started in 1968 in the United States by the New York American Marketing Association. The award expanded globally after its founding in the US, with the first programs emerging in Germany in 1981, in Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland in 1984, and in France, Chile and Peru in the early 1990s.

Over in the U.K., The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising launched the IPA Effectiveness Awards in 1980, with the winners decided on the basis of a rigorous business case. These Awards have continued every two years, and many winning cases are masterpieces.

In the early 90s, Rupert Brendon realized that Canada needed its equivalent that would adopt the best of the Effies and the IPA Awards, and, with a team of colleagues, launched the CASSIES (Canadian Advertising Success Stories) in 1993 with the following mandate:

To prove by rigorous case study that advertising is a prudent commercial investment—not a cost—that pays out against measurable criteria, in a wide variety of circumstances. Furthermore, to publish winning case histories, thereby raising the standards of marketing and advertising best practice. The case will be a joint-submission from advertiser and agency, and the prestige of winning will go to the entire client-agency team.

The CASSIES originally ran every two years through 2001 from when they have been an annual event. There are now nearly 400 winning cases in the Case Library.