GLOBAL – WARC today announces the 2017 results of the WARC 100, an annual ranking of the world’s best marketing campaigns and companies according to their business impact.  Procter & Gamble, Vodafone, BBDO Worldwide, adam&eveDDB, and WPP are among the organizations at the top of this year’s rankings, which are based on performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions around the world.

The top-ranked campaign was the highly awarded ‘Share the Load’, developed by BBDO Mumbai and Mediacom Mumbai for Procter & Gamble’s Ariel detergent brand in India. The campaign film, in which men were encouraged to share the weight of household chores, was supported by campaign-specific packaging, and was spread across online, cinema and TVCs. As 1.57 million men pledged to ‘share the load’, Ariel more than doubled value and volume sales, which grew 106% and 105% respectively. 

Now in its fourth year, the WARC 100 is built on a rigorous methodology, developed in consultation with Douglas West, Professor of Marketing at Kings College, London.

Looking at this year’s top 100 campaigns, key findings include: 

1. Data-driven creative hits the top 10
Two of the top ten campaigns this year are those that have seen success from the smart use of data to drive creative and media strategy. The Economist used a targeted programmatic display campaign to reach new prospects with humorous and accessible tagline ads. The campaign hit 50% of target in 9 days, with a return on investment of over 25:1. In sixth place, a big data campaign for Australian swimming pool builder Narellan Pools took a ‘moment marketing’ approach. Customers were targeted at the precise times they were most likely to buy a pool, with focused creative motivating purchase decisions. The campaign increased direct leads by 11% and sales by 23% year on year. At a time when the ad tech industry is under attack in some quarters, these campaigns show how, when used smartly, programmatic techniques can open up new creative and media opportunities.

2. There was a strong showing for stunt or event-based campaigns, as well as big-budget TV
Campaigns built around an event or stunt also ranked highly this year. ‘Rabbit Race’, a seasonal live event and stream involving rabbits racing for customers of Media Markt in Germany to win in-store prizes, was the fourth-ranked campaign of 2017. More than 21 million people watched the races, prompting the electronics retailer to make the stunt an annual event, with consumers spending on average €8.60 more than the previous Easter. The number-three campaign in the 2017 rankings was ‘Lucy the Robot’, a news-grabbing stunt in which Double Robotics, an American technology company, created a telepresence robot called Lucy to be first in line to buy a new iPhone 6s outside a Sydney Apple store. The stunt aimed to launch the company into the Australian market, and was covered in 4,000 news stories globally, resulting in more than 12,000 sales enquiries worth more than $44 million. 

However, beating these two campaigns into the top two positions were Share the Load and John Lewis’ Christmas campaigns – both big-budget, big-idea,TV-led campaigns. There were plenty of other examples in the top 20 showing the power of TV-led work, including campaigns for Old Spice, Snickers, IKEA and Sainsbury’s.

3. Procter & Gamble retains its lead as No. 1 advertiser over Unilever
Procter & Gamble is for the second year in a row the top advertiser for 2017, though its lead over Unilever has decreased since last year. With five campaigns in the top 100 versus Unilever’s three, the success of campaigns for its Ariel, Always and Old Spice brands have cemented P&G’s position as No.1.

4. Vodafone wins top brand as Coca-Cola and McDonalds drop from 1st and 2nd place for the first time
Vodafone has had an extremely consistent year in terms of award wins across campaigns and regions. With only two campaigns in the top 100, but multiple wins at fifteen separate awards competitions, the brand accrued enough points to take it into the lead.

For the first year since 2014, Coca-Cola and McDonalds do not occupy positions one and two in the brands ranking. Both have dropped down the rankings in a year when neither had a campaign in the top 100.

New entries to the top 10 include UK department store John Lewis at No. 3, as a result of its series of highly effective Christmas campaigns; Dove, with its continued socially progressive stance; and Snickers, through campaigns including their big-budget TV campaign ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’.

David Tiltman, Head of Content at WARC, says:  “This year’s WARC 100 reflects an industry in flux. It’s clear from the rankings that TV-led, ‘big idea’ advertising, when executed well, is still highly effective. But we’re seeing a range of alternative approaches also capable of generating business results – from data-driven ‘moment marketing’ to stunts or events designed to focus consumer attention. One of the big questions in the industry at the moment is whether these alternative approaches build brands and deliver results in the long term as well as at the time of the campaign.”
 

WARC 100: Top 10 global advertising campaigns 2017
Rank
Campaign
Brand
Primary Agency
Brand Location
Points
1
Share The Load
Ariel
BBDO Mumbai / MediaCom Mumbai
India
164.2
2
John Lewis Christmas advertising, 2012-2015
John Lewis
adam&eveDDB / Manning Gottlieb OMD
UK
142.2
3
Lucy the Robot
Double Robotics
Atomic 212° Group
Australia
95.0
4
Rabbit Race
Media Markt
Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt / UM Frankfurt
Germany
84.2
5
Raising Eyebrows and Subscriptions
Economist, The
Proximity London
UK
68.3
6
Diving into Data for Narellan
Narellan Pools
Affinity
Australia
64.5
7
World Gallery
Apple
TBWA\Media Arts Lab Los Angeles / OMD Los Angeles
USA
64.2
8
#LikeAGirl
Always
Leo Burnett Toronto / Leo Burnett London
Global
52.2
9
#MyFamilyCan
SPC
Leo Burnett Melbourne
Australia
51.7
10
Infrequent Flyers
Tigerair
McCann Melbourne
Australia
49.
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 countries 2017
Points
1
1
USA
3558.9
2
2
UK
2091.5
3
3
India
977.7
4
4
Australia
877.7
5
5
China
666.2
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 creative agencies 2017
Location
Points
1
41
adam&eveDDB
UK
219.7
2
5
AMV BBDO
UK
152.4
3
47
BBDO Mumbai
India
142.2
4
31
Grey London
UK
140.1
5
new
MullenLowe Lintas Group Mumbai
India
123.3
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 media agencies 2017
Location
Points
1
2
Starcom New York
USA
147.3
2
16
Mindshare New York
USA
100.6
3
new
Atomic 212 Group
Australia
95
4
14
Mindshare Istanbul
Turkey
71.8
5
new
OMD Los Angeles
USA
61.0
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 digital specialist 2017
Location
Points
1
36
Proximity London
UK
81
2
new
Affinity
Australia
70.9
3
new
Ketchum New York
USA
64.1
4
new
Trisect
USA
56.7
5
13
R/GA New York
USA
51.6
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 agency networks 2017
Points
1
1
BBDO Worldwide
1412.4
2
2
Ogilvy & Mather Advertising
978.9
3
9
McCann Erickson
702.9
4
7
Starcom
573.9
5
5
Leo Burnett
572.8
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 agency holding companies 2017
Points
1
1
WPP
4079.4
2
2
Omnicom Group
3598.4
3
4
Interpublic Group
2237.7
4
3
Publicis Groupe
2174.6
5
6
Dentsu
549
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 brands 2017
Product category
Points
1
7
Vodafone
Telecoms
195.8
2
44
Ariel
Household & Domestic
164.2
3
new
John Lewis
Retail
163.4
4
4
IKEA
Retail
151.8
5
new
Dove
Toiletries & Cosmetics
145.8
 
Rank 2017
Rank 2016
Top 5 Advertisers 2017
Location
Points
1
1
Procter & Gamble
USA
503.3
2
2
Unilever
Netherlands/UK
478.2
3
14
Nestlé
Switzerland
308.3
4
5
PepsiCo
USA
268.4
5
4
Heineken
Netherlands
248.9
 
What the winners say:
 
Marc Pritchard, Global Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble, says: “We believe that advertising is a powerful force for growth and good, and we want to be the very best at it. We’ve had a focused effort to raise the bar on our creative quality and work with the best agency partners to deliver growth for our brands. It’s great to see the positive results of our efforts in rankings such as the WARC 100.”
 
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, says: “At a time when questions are being raised about the effectiveness of certain marketing channels, it is more important than ever that we focus on the power of creativity and ideas to deliver tangible business results for our clients. The WARC 100 ranking shows we are doing exactly that. My thanks and congratulations to everyone in the Group who contributed to this success.”
 
Andrew Robertson, President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide, says: “BBDO is all about The Work, The Work, The Work. Great work that works great. The best results come from smart thinking that drives brilliant creativity. That’s why this ranking matters to us. This year we had the top ranked campaign in the world, four of the top ten individually ranked agencies, and were the number one network in the world – for the fourth consecutive year – all of which demonstrates the strength and depth of the network.”
 
Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India, says: “We are thrilled that our #ShareTheLoad campaign for P&G Ariel is ranked the #1 campaign in the world. Ouch! That’s us pinching ourselves! To be recognised as creating the most effective campaign in the world, the campaign that impacted business results better than any other campaign – that’s monumental! We’re going to celebrate with our amazing P&G clients. Because we did this all together. We share the load. We share the win.”
 
Kathy Ring, CEO, Starcom USA, says:”Starcom’s recognition in this year’s Warc 100 is truly a testament to our client-first approach. Our interdependent team of over 1300 people from across the U.S. have demonstrated our commitment, passion and dedication to our clients’ brands and business success and it is sincerely an honour to have this work recognised industrywide.”
 
View The WARC 100 report in full here