Have you ever seen one of those altered maps known as a 'cartogram'?

Here's one:
Map of the world with each country sized according to
its GDP, rather than actual land area.

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I have a fondness for maps, charts, and statistics. If that makes me a geek, well... um... it's cool to be a geek nowadays, no?

Anyway, I was mucking about with a freeware image editing program called Gimp last night, and decided to use it to create an advertising cartogram.

If you are an advertising creative, this is what the world really looks like, folks:

Map of the world with each country sized according to
its 2012 Cannes Lions per head of population.

I think the result is pretty interesting.

Reading the map from left to right, or west to east as I should probably say, we see that North America has atrophied. The USA came 1st in the Cannes Lions league table, but it has 315 million people, which on a Lions per capita basis puts it roughly on a par with Mexico and Canada (12th and 15th in the table). 

South America has shrivelled too. Argentina is recognisable, with 32 Lions and 40 million people, but Brazil and Colombia don't fare so well.

Moving on to Europe, we see that the centre of the 'old continent' is dominated by the mighty Belgium. With 32 Lions for only 10.8 million people, this fine effort from the new home of Candid Camera-style viral videos has reduced its neighbours France and Spain to mere appendages to the southwest. The UK does quite well, having finished 2nd in the Cannes league table, with 89 lions for 62 million people. Moving northeast of Blighty we find Holland, Germany, Denmark, and the nordic powerhouse - Sweden, with 45 Lions (6th place) achieved by only 10 million people. Too cold to do anything else except stay inside and design websites, I suppose.

In the Middle East I have put Israel and the UAE nestled together, I hope they don't mind.

But the middle of the map is more notable for its absentees. India and China both won a few Lions (14 and 12) but once you divide that score by their enormous populations, they disappear. Time to stop sewing footballs and start writing ads!

But the real story, for me, revealed by this cartogram, is that Asia/Oceania is by far the most creative corner of the planet, on a per capita basis. New Zealand nearly leads the world - at something other than rugby - coming second only to Sweden in Lions per capita. Above NZ, Australia is punching considerably above its population, though it doesn't match Singapore (just above Aus.) whose 5 million people won 15 Lions. Above Singapore is Hong Kong, another strong performer, with 8 Lions won by 7 million people.

Conclusion: why is everyone moving to New York? It's shit anyway. We should all be moving to New Zealand, or Singapore.

source for population stats 
source for Cannes Lions stats