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Lessons from the world’s top

effectiveness campaigns
Contents of the full report

Four lessons from the WARC 100 2018 3 Chapter Two: Building long-term campaigns 28
Executive Summary 4 Ariel ‘Dads #ShareTheLoad’ 29
Methodology 7 Building long-term platforms – the neuro perspective 31

Chapter One: Data Analysis 8 Chapter Three: 2018 Results 34

Trend: Strategies with PR baked in are becoming the norm 9 Top campaigns 2018 35
The media mix 10 Top agencies 2018 36
Campaign objective & soft metrics 11 Top networks & holding companies 2018 37
The Swedish Number 12 Top brands & advertisers 2018 38
Reword 13 WARC 100: 2018 winners’ quotes 39
Trend: The effective use of partnerships is increasing 14
Creative strategy 15
Hungerithm 16 More from Gunn Report 40
Van Gogh BnB 17
Trend: Video-led campaigns are seeing success 18
Lead media 19
Budget of campaigns leading with TV and online video 20
Media mix of TV-led and online video-led campaigns 21
Creative strategy of TV-led and online video-led campaigns 22
Imagine The Possibilities 23
Hard metrics of TV-led and online video-led campaigns 24
Soft metrics of TV-led and online video-led campaigns 25
Care Counts 26
Geographies 27
Four lessons from the WARC 100 2018

Effective campaigns
TV-led and video-led –
The use of partnerships is
Brands are looking for
increasingly have PR two different models on the rise multi-year platforms
‘baked in’
Analysis of campaigns in this year’s This year a dominance of video – Over the past two years, the use Long-term ideas are a growing
WARC 100 reveals the increasing both online and TV – is evident in of partnerships as a creative feature of the WARC 100 as
use of PR in their channel strategies. the winning campaigns. Analysis strategy has increased in WARC 100 brands look to squeeze more
This reflects the rise of creative of campaigns led by TV and campaigns. Utilising the reach or out of their platforms. The
ideas built to gain press coverage campaigns led by online video credibility of partner organisations continuing presence of the John
and other earned media. Several shows they are key to emotional was an effective strategy for four Lewis Christmas campaigns in
ideas at the top of the ranking creative strategies. Budgets tend of the top 10 campaigns this year, the WARC 100 provides a great
centre around a highly PR-able to be higher for TV-led campaigns, with both expected and unusual case for the success of long-term
stunt or concept, like the Transport and the media mix differs between partnerships seeing success. campaigns. John Lewis has taken
Accident Association’s ‘Graham’, the two groups as a result. Though Though seen across the WARC 100, the Christmas period and turned it
that can generate content across social media is the most common partnerships saw particular use in into an advertising event, annually
channels and media. support channel regardless of lead campaigns targeting millennials, driving huge amounts of publicity,
media, OOH and print are more like Burger King's 'The McWhopper engagement and ultimately return
commonly present in the mix of Proposal'. on their investment. Two further top
TV-led campaigns, with word-of- 10 campaigns for Ariel and Snickers
mouth and PR supporting a higher have reworked or evolved ongoing
proportion of online video-led campaign themes with success
strategies. over the past year, using the power
of association to grow and reinforce
the memory’s perception of brands
over time.

3 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Executive Summary

This report analyses the world’s top effectiveness This report analyses the world’s between the highly awarded WARC
top effectiveness campaigns to 100 campaigns and a more ‘typical’
campaigns to uncover shared creative, media and uncover shared creative, media example of an effective marketing
and measurement strategies. Its campaign.
measurement strategies. Its basis is the WARC 100, basis is the WARC 100, an annual
an annual ranking of campaigns based on their ranking of campaigns based on This analysis is possible because
their performance in effectiveness WARC publishes hundreds of
performance in effectiveness awards from around awards from around the world. effectiveness and strategy case
(As of 2018, the WARC 100 became studies from all over the world – it
the world. (As of 2018, the WARC 100 became part of part of WARC’s Gunn Report stable is the world’s largest database of
WARC’s Gunn Report stable of rankings.) of rankings.) marketing ideas that work. And all of
these case studies are tagged in the
The campaigns ranked in the WARC same way, producing a set of data
100 have been judged highly by their that can be analysed.
peers in terms of their impact on
a client’s business. To rank highly This case study tagging includes
in the WARC 100 typically reflects which media channels were
success in multiple competitions, used, the campaign duration and
meaning that a campaign has been budget, metrics measured and the
judged repeatedly on the basis of campaign’s geographic origin. From
its results. this analysis, several trends and
themes have emerged.
As a set of campaign case studies,
the 2018 WARC 100 can be
analysed in two ways. First, it can
be compared with the 2017 cases.
Second, it can be compared with
all other case studies published on
WARC in the same year, to see if
there are any significant differences

4 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Executive Summary – continued

Strategies with PR baked of digital communications channels,

in are becoming the norm bringing PR and marketing much
PR is an increasingly prevalent part closer together within brands,
of the cross-media strategies of and the increasing importance of
campaigns in the WARC 100, with integration and consistency across
creative and channel strategies campaigns.
often revolving around a highly
PR-able element. Half of the Video-led campaigns are seeing
campaigns in the top 10 used PR success, but the composition of
to great effect, with the Australian campaigns led by TV vs online
Transport Accident Commission’s video differs
‘Meet Graham’ campaign a prime In previous years, the WARC 100
example. The ‘indestructible human’ has featured digital channels
model central to the campaign prominently, and the most-used
was designed to attract maximum lead channel (i.e. the medium that
coverage through PR, and was a takes the lead role in a campaign)
hugely successful campaign both has been social media. This year has
in terms of measurement against seen video-led campaigns overtake
campaign objectives, and in award social, with the latter now more likely
wins. In a highly cluttered advertising to take a supporting role in the media the momentum of the TV work. stem from campaign budgets; TV-
environment, it could be argued, mix of the majority of cases. However, alternative models are led campaigns tend to have higher
creative platforms need to work This reflects recent research emerging, and this is clear in some budgets, and more often have OOH
increasingly hard to maximise showing the growing importance of the WARC 100 case studies. and print as support media than
earned as well as paid media, and of video in campaigns, and the use Though social is the most common campaigns leading with online video.
having highly PR-able idea is one way of social to guide and maintain support medium of both TV-led and TV-led campaigns are also more
to achieve this. the resulting conversation. When online video-led campaigns, the likely to drive a sales impact, and
Research from the ANA has shown budget allows, TV is still generally remaining media mix differs between tend to be less reliant on social
that a majority of marketers plan seen as the best way to achieve the two; there are markedly different measures.
to increase staffing and spend on reach and emotional impact, creative strategies, and different
public relations over the next five with online video a means to gain metrics are used to measure
years. This is attributed to the rise incremental reach and to maintain success. Some of these differences

5 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Executive Summary – continued

The effective use of of longer-term brand building. In

partnerships is increasing the last couple of years, research
Four of the top 10 campaigns in from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute,
this year’s WARC 100 used a brand among others, has discouraged
partnership to some extent in that approach, suggesting that
their strategies. This is a recurring consistency in brand assets helps
theme - an increased number of deliver long-term success.
partnerships was also seen in the All three examples of blockbuster
2017 WARC 100, and the trend sequels in this year’s top 10
has continued this year as brands can be highly effective. Three that are generating long-term campaigns – ‘Share The Load’,
continue to use collaboration to purpose-driven campaigns appear success. This year’s winning ‘Hungerithm’ and the ‘John Lewis
gain credibility and piggyback on in the top 10 this year; Whirlpool’s campaign is a development of last Christmas Campaigns’ - either
the reach or the organisations or ‘Care Counts’, ‘Imagine the year’s number one, Ariel’s ‘Share centre on or have included television
individuals they are partnering. Possibilities’ for Barbie, and ‘Dads The Load’, and is an example of a in their media mix to extend the
Often there is relevance or a link #ShareTheLoad’. Two of these big strategic evolution, but there reach of the campaign (all three are
between successful partnerships, campaigns – Dads #ShareThe Load are now multiple ways to extend big high-budget creative platforms). In
but unexpected partnerships and ‘Care Counts’ found a purpose ideas both tactically and locally. For each, a campaign film acts as the
can also have a big impact. The for which their product could help. example, Snickers’ ‘Hungerithm’ starting point on which the rest of
link between the Art Institute of The Barbie campaign, meanwhile, used the ‘You’re Not You When You’re the content hinges.
Chicago and Airbnb is not obvious, plumbed the brand’s history to find Hungry’ theme to execute a regional
but generated huge publicity and a credible role that the product campaign in Australia with a different Heather Andrew, CEO of
far exceeded its targets in terms of could take for modern parents. None creative strategy and objectives to Neuro-Insight, discusses the
increased memberships and visitors. of these, it is clear, is purpose for the original film-led campaign. neuroscience behind the benefits
purpose’s sake. It has been argued – for example, of consistency across channels
Purpose is effective when by Les Binet and Peter Field in the and time in Chapter Three.
brands have a credible role New takes on long-term ideas UK, that the increasing diversity and
Purpose-led campaigns are a long- Now in its fifth year, the WARC relative low cost of digital channels
standing presence at the top of 100 is seeing the same brands and platforms had led to some brands
the WARC 100 rankings – proof return to the top of the ranking focusing on the short-term wins that
that, when done well, purpose with reworked and evolved ideas digital can produce, at the expense

6 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.

The WARC 100 is now part of the Gunn Report, A campaign’s ‘score’ reflects the sum 1199 others.
of all the weighted points attributed - 2018: 99 WARC 100 cases, and
which tracks the winners' lists from all the most to it from different competitions. 1150 others.
important advertising award contests, globally. The
We have also collated information on Unless otherwise stated, all bars
results of effectiveness competitions are used to the agencies behind the campaigns on charts appearing over the
(including, where they have been following pages are expressed
compile the WARC 100, which is built on a rigorous listed, contributing agencies), and, as a percentage of this total. For
methodology, developed in consultation with where possible, the authors of the example, if 56 of the 99 cases
campaign case studies. measured for the WARC 100 use a
King’s College London. The methodology is applied certain creative approach, the bar
Notes on the data analysis appears at 57% within the chart.
consistently across all competitions we track. The comparative analysis on which Bars in charts may not add up to
Chapter 1 of this report is based, 100% for three reasons:
How we built the rankings Planner Poll: WARC has conducted uses WARC’S case study database.
First, a list of relevant competitions a survey of over 100 senior agency WARC compares the metadata of all 1 F
 or clarity, many of the charts
was compiled. Campaigns that won planners and strategists to gauge the case studies it published during display only selected criteria
awards in those competitions were which of the competitions we track a calendar year, compared to the
awarded points based on the level are viewed as the most prestigious metadata of those case studies for 2 Some cases will have been
of award they won (Gold, Silver, or rigorous. Winners at the most- campaigns that were ranked in that assigned multiple creative
Bronze etc). Those points are then cited awards schemes are given year’s WARC 100. approaches, media channels
weighted according to the standing extra weighting in the final rankings. and so on
of each competition in the global In 2014, WARC published 75 case
marketing industry. The calculation 
Size of market: WARC takes into studies from campaigns ranked in 3 O ther cases might not have
includes data from: account how much of the global the WARC 100, plus 660 other case all of the metadata included,
advertising market the eligibility studies. missing details of campaign
for each competition represents. - 2015: 89 WARC 100 cases, and 839 duration, budgets and so on.
It is able to do this using WARC’s others.
comprehensive adspend data - 2016: 84 WARC 100 cases, and 856
resources, which includes analysis others.
by channel and by geography. - 2017: 87 WARC 100 cases, and

7 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Chapter One:
Data Analysis
Trend: Media mix – a strong year
for PR

PR-led strategies have become

commonplace in the WARC 100, and
have done particularly well this year.

Three campaigns in the top 10 use The charts that follow demonstrate
this approach, where the creative the increased use of PR using the
and channel strategy revolve around data behind the campaigns, with PR
a highly PR-able element; often a and word of mouth marketing both
real-world product or event designed seeing increased use in this year’s
to generate headlines. The Swedish WARC 100, and over indexing in the
Tourist Association’s ‘The Swedish ranking compared to the rest of the
Number’, Burger King's 'McWhopper cases published by WARC in 2017.
Proposal', and Headspace’s ‘Reword’
all used this strategy to drive brand
awareness and increase sales.
The media mix

% of WARC 100 cases using each channel, 2018 vs 2017 (top 10 media shown)
82% 83%
The media mix of this year's WARC 100 follows
63% similar trends to last year's, with social media
47% 46% 45% 45% 46% 50%
being used in more than 80% of campaigns,
39% 39% 37% 35%
and online video in more than 60%.
29% 29% 29%
The past year has seen an increase in the use
of word of mouth marketing and public relations
Social Online Websites Public Television Outdoor, Online Word of mouth, Events & Content
in the mix, both versus last year's WARC 100
media video & microsites relations out-of-home display advocacy experiential marketing and over-indexing compared to the rest of the
cases published.
2017 2018
Almost all of the top 10 media over-index in
the WARC 100, continuing last year's trend of
% of WARC 100 cases using each channel, 2018 vs all cases (top 10 media shown) the most effective campaigns in the world using
a larger media mix than typical campaigns
100% WARC publishes.

72% 75%
46% 45% 45% 50%
35% 37% 35%
34% 32%
31% 29%
26% 27% 26% 26% 25%

Social Online Websites Public Television Outdoor, Online Word of mouth, Events & Content
media video & microsites relations out-of-home display advocacy experiential marketing

Overall WARC 100

10 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
Campaign objective & soft metrics

% of cases with campaign objectives in the WARC 100, 2017 vs 2017 (top 10)

The growth of word-of-mouth marketing is

61% reflected in its use as a creative strategy, which
46% 45% 50%
has more than doubled since last year’s WARC
41% 38% 100 – the largest year-on-year increase of any

23% 22% 25% campaign objective.
16% 17% 15%
11% 12% 11%
Campaigns in the WARC 100 are more likely to
Awareness Brand building: Word of Sales growth: Social, Brand building: Traffic & Sales growth: Brand Brand
measure PR value as a soft metric than a typical
Build brand
mouth Increase value/ political &
volume not-for-profit
Refresh brand
Web traffic
Gain new
new brand
campaign, further demonstrating the increased
decline use of PR in this year’s WARC 100.
2017 2018

% of cases using soft metrics in the WARC 100, 2018 vs ‘the rest’

62% 62% 60%
42% 50%
31% 30%
7% 5% 7%

Social media, Brand health/ PR value Awareness Web traffic Consumer Brand-specific Search
buzz equity measures participation measures performance

Overall WARC 100

11 WARC 100 – Lessons from the world’s top effectiveness campaigns - SAMPLE © Copyright WARC 2018. All rights reserved.
The Swedish Number

The platform was a phone number

THE SWEDISH NUMBER that if called from a foreign country,

Want to learn more lessons from the world's best marketing campaigns?
Brand: Swedish Tourist Association
connected you to a random Swede.
An extensive PR strategy was
Agency: INGO created for international media,
Country: Sweden launched with a live TV interview
Category: Transport & Tourism
WARC is a paid for subscription service. with STF’s general secretary on
Sweden’s morning show.
The campaign leveraged the
The Swedish Tourist Association story of 250 years of free speech

If you'd like to find out about the rest of this report and get access to more
increased membership sales
in Sweden by helping people
within the country, and influencers
and celebrities were used to call and
become more proud of their take calls, both further increasing
country and connecting them with the national and international
people from abroad via a mobile
app. The campaign centered like it, get a demo at: press coverage.

on an international PR strategy, Challenge base with a younger target audience Results

generating initial awareness and The Swedish Tourist Association of ‘explorers’, but this target group The campaign was picked up by global
facilitiating ongoing coverage.
(STF) manages hotels and hostels all
over Sweden. As a small organisation
were more interested in travelling
outside Sweden and were not very
online and offline press, which had a
media reach of 9.324bn impressions,
with a limited marketing budget, its nationalistic unless talking about and a PR value of $146.6m. STF saw
main source of income comes from their country to foreigners. a 7.5% increase in memberships via
its membership fees. Between 2007 the web, and 41.6% of these members
and 2015, the membership base Strategy came in during the 3 months directly
of STF had a decrease of 18.2%, The solution was to create a platform after the campaign. The yearly
putting the company, and its mission for Swedes to have conversations decrease in existing memberships
of enabling people to enjoy the about Sweden with foreigners and was also reduced by 50% in the year
Swedish outdoors, at risk. in that way instil pride and curiosity following the campaign.
STF realised that they needed to both among Swedes themselves and
make up their dwindling membership the people they spoke to. VIEW CREATIVE

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