TRA and ThinkTV Top 10: Lotto, BNZ and Cadbury come out on top

Dogs, donkeys and dancing feature in New Zealanders favourite ads, identified in ThinkTV and TRA’s bi-monthly viewer-led research to uncover the top 10 ads on TV.

August’s top 10 was filled with old favourites but three new entrants have managed to make it into the list for October. Vodafone’s 5G enabled the rescue of Huxley the dog, McDonald’s surprising Monopoly man, and Kiwibank’s patriotic ‘Support NZ (rugby)’ made their mark on audiences in the latest research results from ThinkTV, in partnership with TRA.

Reappearances by Lotto, BNZ, Cadbury, Mitre 10, Speights and SpecSavers in the top 10 show strong creative can pay dividends for brands throughout the year (and years to come).

Pakn’Save’s ‘Stickman’ is the perfect example of this – always near the top of the list, and as of last week a Grand Effie winner too.

The TRA survey (powered by Dynata) looked at a nationally representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders aged 18 to 60 years old. Conducted between 24 September and 4 October, it asked respondents ‘what is your favourite ad on TV at the moment?’ The open-ended question encouraged candid feedback from viewers on what ads had captured their hearts. Survey participants were also asked why they liked their favourite ad, and how it made them feel about what was being advertised. Responses were manually coded to look at frequency of mentions and sentiment, resulting in the top ten.

Demonstrating the pulling power of a strong TVC, the survey again found youth audiences are highly engaged with TV advertising, with 44 percent of 18-24-year-olds nominating that ads these days are more entertaining to watch than ever before (compared to 38 percent who feel TV advertising is as entertaining as it’s always been).

Stay tuned for the next set of results in December.

Below are New Zealand’s favourite TVCs with commentary from TRA’s head of strategy, Carl Sarney.

1. Lotto ‘Lost’

Remaining in the number one spot, and still ahead by a large margin, is the latest in Lotto’s ‘Imagine’ series. This ad was mentioned almost twice as frequently as the number two ad. It’s the kind of ad that gives people more of what they sat in front of the TV for in the first place – entertainment. A dramatic story with emotional highs and lows, along with a moment of humour to ease the tension, with an inspiring happy ending. The whole story is centred around the distinctive yellow lotto ticket and 97 percent of people mention ‘Lotto’ in their description of the ad.

Those who said this ad was their favourite were more likely to be female, looking to get ahead in life, with traditional values and mainstream tastes.

Zavy social media analysis shows that the ad is continuing to generate conversation online and sentiment remains strongly positive by comparison to other brands in social media.

  • “Heart-warming. Nice storytelling. Kept you gripped to find out what happened at the end, but also how humble the lady was. Also makes you feel how gutted you would be if you lost a winning ticket.”
  • “’Because it turns a sad story into a really heart-warming story…Nice warm fuzzy!”
  • “’It encourages me to dream and it makes me feel so many emotions in such a short space of time.”

2. BNZ ‘What Ella Wants’

Retaining the number two spot, BNZ’s story of a girl and her father saving for a puppy was liked for portraying a relatable story that depicts good values such as love and kindness, and of course the cute puppy at the end. Those most likely to say this is their favourite ad were female, aged 45-60, with traditional values. Brand attribution looks to be improving with increased air time, now at 78 percent.

  • “It is true to life. Kids often want to buy things that are too expensive or look good but are poor value, but this ad shows good things are worth saving for.”
  • “It encourages values I strongly agree with and has a very catching tune and a gorgeous puppy.”
  • “I love the story its heart-warming and a good principle.”

Just after our survey fieldwork was completed, BNZ launched their new ad about the bond between a brother and sister. It will be interesting to see where the new ad places in the next survey and what it achieves long-term for BNZ.

3. Cadbury ‘Mum’s Birthday’

Cadbury’s ‘Mums Birthday’ remains a strong performing favourite ad. It is liked for its good acting, feel-good nature and depiction of values such as love and kindness. People described it as cute and liked the characters in the ad. Those most likely to say this is their favourite ad were female, aged 45-60, with traditional values.

  • “It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and reminds me that there are nice people out there and it’s not all about money.”
  • “Love the kindness of the dairyman. The sweetness of the girl parting with her treasures to buy her mum birthday chocolate. So cute. A tearjerker.”
  • “It’s very heart-warming and cute especially when the little girl’s face lights up when she gets change.”

4. Pakn’Save ‘Stickman’

Our last survey saw Stickman at number six and this time it has climbed to the number four spot with the ‘sideline supporter’ campaign unofficially aligning with the rugby world cup in classic Stickman style. Now running for over a decade, Pakn’Save’s cheeky black & yellow character is a firm fixture in New Zealand television. And he’s firmly fixed to the brand too, with “Pakn’Save” included in every single description of the Stickman ads. People like Stickman most for his simple humour.

Zavy analysis shows that posts featuring Stickman receive a high level of engagement with the brand’s top-performing post in the last three months featuring Stickman.

  • “Because they are simple but funny.”
  • “A funny concept every time.”
  • “Because it is really simple and done on a cheap budget which reflects on Pakn’Save being a cheap place to shop.”

5. Mitre10 ‘Roy, Kong’s out again’

First airing in June 2018, Kong the donkey has had a bit more air-time lately, managing to retain its number five spot. It is well-liked for being an enjoyable, humourous ad with the added animal appeal of Kong the donkey.

  • “It’s engaging, amusing and tells you about the store.”
  • “It’s a good laugh it never gets old watching it when it comes on.”
  • “It’s funny, involves a cute animal and has a happy and creative ending.”

6. Vodafone‘Huxley – Life to the power of 5G’

The new ad by Vodafone debuts at number six. Another using animal appeal but this time in a way that’s more dramatic than humorous. People described it as touching, heart-warming and emotionally provocative. Cantabrians were more likely than the rest of the country to name this as their favourite ad.

Zavy analysis shows a particularly strong share/like ratio for this ad which indicates it’s not just appealing to individuals, but something worth talking about with friends and family.

  • “It conveys not only an emotional connection but also the benefits of the service/product on offer.”
  • “It’s very emotional one minute your sad and the next your relieved and happy.”
  • “I love animals and like to see ads that highlight the human/animal bond.”

7. Speight’s ‘Dance’

Dropping four spots to number seven, Speight’s ‘Dance’ is liked for its entertaining humour and showing the importance of caring for people. Those who described this as their favourite were more likely to be 45-49.

Zavy analysis also shows particularly positive sentiment around this ad with many facebook commenters saying it was fun to watch.

  • “The product is unexpected, not shoved in your face. The ad is humourous in that it combines blokey blokes doing something considered feminine, in a serious way.”
  • ‘It’s so quintessentially Kiwi in all aspects, from the diversity of the actors, the dialogue and the company.”
  • ‘It’s funny. I like how his mates are getting together to help him.”

8. McDonald’s Monopoly

McDonald’s Monopoly promotion is back with an ad that makes surprising and humorous use of the iconic Monopoly man (aka Uncle Rich Pennybags) without overshadowing the McDonalds brand. Every person who named this ad as their favourite mentioned ‘McDonalds’ in their description.

Zavy social media analysis shows overall good engagement with McDonalds Monopoly posts. The posts are also having a positive effect in encouraging people to download the app and is currently one of the top free apps in the Google Play store.

  • “I like playing monopoly, love the concept of crossover with games and food.”
  • “It is different and humorous.”
  • “Funny and scary.”

9. SpecSavers

Humour is the primary driver of appeal for SpecSavers’ long-running series of ads. People who liked these ads were more likely to be 45-60.

  • “It is funny! It has an unexpected and silly ending, and the acting is very good.”
  • “Funny without being cheesy, relevant to the brand without being a hard sell.”
  • “Because it made me laugh and I love animals and I also wear specs LOL.”

10. Kiwibank – Support NZ (rugby)

Rounding out the top favourites is Kiwibank’s amusing twist on supporting New Zealand during the rugby world cup. Everyone who mentioned this ad included ‘Kiwibank’ in their description.

  • “It’s humorous, smart and witty.”
  • “Funny and true – I’ve no idea why NZers bank with Aussie banks.”
  • “It is quite funny and always fun to tease the Aussies.”

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