Use of location data. Strength through collaboration. Unexpected media placements gain attention.

Global, 15 April 2019 — Making use of location data, the importance of collaboration between agencies and utilising unexpected media placements to gain attention, are the three key themes, finds WARC, following its analysis of the world’s top campaigns for media excellence.

WARC, which provides the latest evidence, expertise and guidance to make marketers more effective, has today released ‘Media 100 – Lessons from the world’s best campaigns and companies for media innovation’, a report analysis of the campaigns, brands and agencies ranked in the WARC Media 100, to uncover trends from the latest media strategies as well as bringing together insights and opinion from media experts.

Amy Rodgers, Managing Editor, Research & Rankings, WARC, and author of the report, says: “For the first time, following the release of the WARC Media 100 rankings benchmarking media excellence, we’ve analysed the results to provide valuable insights and learnings that will ultimately inspire and pave the way for more media innovation.”

The three key themes from the WARC Media 100 are:

1. Location data is driving a new concept of creativity

The increasing sophistication of campaigns that use geographic data and targeting, and the seamless integration of those data sets, stands out as a key differentiator. Canada’s VIA Rail ‘Data vs Car’ campaign (ranked #2) created a highly personal and impactful message by using real-time customisation to target individual drivers generating an 11.7% uplift in train ridership. ‘Hijacking the Largest Shopping Festival in the World’ (ranked #12) for global clothing brand Uniqlo, drove foot traffic to its stores in China on Singles’ Day through the combination of online and offline purchase data.

Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Mindshare APAC & Executive Chair, Mindshare Greater China, comments: “This year’s WARC Media 100 rankings inspire not just because they use data well, but because they use it in a complex, layered, thoughtful way that focuses on the consumer experience.”

2. Importance of collaboration between agencies

The campaigns in the Media 100 demonstrate that by combining media, creative, and PR right from the start, improve the chances of good results; but equally, each campaign has to find its own unique way of making collaboration work. MediaCom worked with various agencies from the start for its Gillette campaign ‘I Don’t Roll on Shabbos’ (ranked #1) to boost its deodorant sales in Israel. The success of ‘The Awesome is Here’ campaign for Mexican beer brandCerveza Victoria (ranked #3), involved working with government agencies and other bodies to improve discrimination rules.

Matthew Mee, Global Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom, says: “Inclusion around great ideas often means working far beyond the immediate club of advertising capabilities and event technology partners, and that requires a different approach.”

Mee added, “Ultimately, the key to successful collaboration is not about process. It’s about being open to ideas, and most importantly, it’s about knowing when to take a risk.”

3. Unexpected media placements designed to gain attention

Brands can’t just buy eyeballs, they have to work hard to earn consumers’ attention, and they are using unexpected media placements to deliver complex, multi-channel activations that harness the interplay between advertising and culture. ‘Dundee – The Son Of A Legend Returns Home’ campaign for Tourism Australia (ranked #9) launched a fake Dundee film to make Australia top-of-mind for high-value US travellers. For ‘Batman Barges In’ (ranked #23), entertainment giant Warner Bros highjacked UK’s TV Channel 4 to engage with a new market segment to promote its LEGO Batman Movie.

Chris Colter, Strategy Director, UM Sydney, says: “This year’s WARC Media 100 reveals brands are increasingly ditching tired and predictable conventions, and injecting themselves in new contexts to seize attention. Whilst not a new strategy, it’s the sophistication in which brands are activating this that poises them to win.”

A summary of WARC’s Lessons from the world’s best campaigns and companies for media innovation can be downloaded here.

The full report is available to WARC subscribers and includes insights and behind the scene stories of the top ranked campaigns for media excellence, commentary by industry leaders, analysis of the rankings and an exclusive interview with Stephen Allan, Worldwide Chairman & CEO, MediaCom, the top-ranked agency network, on its successful approach to media innovation.

The WARC Media 100 is part of WARC Rankings, successor to the Gunn Report, which tracks the winners’ lists from the most important advertising award contests, globally, as determined by the industry. The results of media competitions are used to compile the WARC Media 100, which is built on a rigorous methodology, used consistently across the competitions tracked.