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The ‘Strategic Sparks’ behind the 2022 Kantar Creative Effectiveness Award Winners

Kantar examines the underlying tactics and techniques that award-winning ads use to make their copy so compelling with consumers.


Mitre 10 – With You All The Way (July 2021), Mitre 10 / FCB

As many of you may already know, this year’s winning TV ad in the global Kantar Creative Effectiveness Awards went to Mitre 10’s With You All The Way.

This is a marvellous achievement for Mitre 10 and FCB, and testimony to an enduring partnership. It is a truly wonderful piece of creative that is set to deliver great returns to Mitre 10. It isn’t, however, the only New Zealand brand to be awarded a cherished top spot this year, with advertising acclaim also going to another local brand for its work overseas! But more on this later when we reveal some of the secrets of their success.

This is the third year of these coveted global awards, which celebrate the best performing ads from around the world, based on their ability to generate short-term sales and long-term equity. The awards are special because they are assessed by consumers using our creative development tool, Link – not by a panel of industry judges. Each ad is benchmarked against a database containing over 230,000 previously tested commercials, which means our winners are very special indeed.

As well as celebrating the success of our wonderful winners, each year we look deeper into the underlying tactics and techniques they’ve used to make their copy so compelling with consumers. In the past we’ve looked at ‘The 5 Habits of Highly Effective Advertising’ and some of the key ingredients used, including a deep dive into ‘The Power of Inclusive Portrayal in Advertising’ and how it can help create even more effective advertising. This year we’re providing a particular focus on the ‘strategic sparks’ that have helped our global finalists produce advertising that is destined to create highly effective short- and long-term outcomes for their brands, as well as taking a bit of a sideways look for evidence of these trends in New Zealand.

Creating effective advertising isn’t easy. Consumers don’t typically go out of their way to watch or look at advertising. This means that creative copy must be crafted to overcome that indifference, from the initial idea right through to the final execution. Effective ads are the ones that can earn our attention – the ones capable of breaking into our ‘mental workspaces’ to reinforce or challenge existing long-term brand memories. Advertising needs to sparkle somehow, to provide a frisson that will do this, creating engagement with its audience and generating more powerful saliency and meaning for the brand.  

Going Social

The first approach we observed in our high-ranking ads to help do this was that many of them drew on the social media landscape for their inspiration or spark. These ads used the stylising and content-format that is more typically found on platforms like TikTok or Snapchat to become more engaging with their target audiences.  

Our eighth placed TVC of the year, Chupa Chups XXL Flavour Playlist, uses references to TikTok, gaming and other cultural touchpoints as the brand looks to appeal to younger consumers. Looking more broadly at our advertising landscape in New Zealand, we can see the same trend here, both with imported and home-grown ads alike. Again, the advertising uses the familiar feel and vibe of social media to attract the attention of a more youthful demographic. Pringles – Once You Pop! is a case in point from overseas, employing tight editing to music and showcasing synchronised dance moves, both hallmarks of the TikTok world. The Spark ad, Find the entertainment that moves you, is infused with images from our digital world of sharing and communicating and the use of multiple platforms. 

Chupa Chups – Chupa Chups XXL Flavour Playlist (2021), Chupa Chups / La fábrica de sombreros
Pringles – Once You Pop!
(March 2021), Kellogg’s /
Akkomplice Australia
Spark – Find the entertainment that 
moves you 
(September 2021), Spark / 
Colenso BBDO

What’s more, in New Zealand we’re also seeing some of these ads starting to reference older demographics and how they are colliding with these digital/social worlds and the younger demographics that inhabit them. Witness both the MG3 ad, Generations of Style, with its generational ‘dance-off’ and the Mitre 10 Kitchen ad, Time for Dinner, and ‘the battle for supper round the table’ overcome through social media. 

MG3 – Generations of Style (February 2022), SAIC / JOY Agency
Mitre 10 – Time for Dinner (July 2020), Metcash / FCB

Art imitating life is a timeless trope of advertising, but whether it was the flourishing of platforms like TikTok during COVID that has started to surface this style of advertising more and more, or whether we were destined to be on this trajectory anyway, becoming ever more immersed in these worlds within worlds in the metaverse, this style of advertising has definitely found its mark. Infusing digital and social media into TV ads can certainly make them more compelling and engaging to watch.

Showcasing meets storytelling

Even as brands find ever more sophisticated ways to push creative boundaries, our winning ads show that the product demo is still as effective as ever. The key to doing this is to find a way that feels empathetic, natural and maintains the flow of the ad. Mitre 10’s With You All The Way TVC is a stand-out example and has deservedly won the prized top place spot for TV ads in this year’s Kantar Creative Effectiveness Awards.  

As we all know, this is a charmingly told story, with its touching and delightful interplay between the main characters, providing consumers with a sense of warmth and trust in the Mitre 10 brand, as well as demonstrating its product range and the helpfulness it can provide its customers. It is the combination of emotive messaging together with practical advice that is one of the key strengths of this ad. From our years of studying ads, we know that ads that can provide this blend or balance of associations tend to generate the strongest sales uplifts.  

In contrast, in fifth place in the top 10 TV ads, L’Oréal Men’s Twist Hair Colour, appears to tackle the product demo in a traditional way. A closer look, however, reveals the demo is entwined into the dynamic, action styled, ‘mission’ of the ad. This puts the brand at the centre, while entertaining and connecting on a humorous level.

L’Oréal Men -Twist Hair Colour (2021), L’Oréal Men Expert / McCann Paris

Across the tens of thousands of ads, we test globally, we see that those incorporating product benefits are more persuasive, with a ten point increase in persuasion. We also note that when a product is shown in use or consumption, we see a ten-point increase in brand affinity, with these types of demos making us feel closer to the brand. 

With a deft hand, a dash of humour and storytelling to the fore, our winning ads show that the product demo – when done well – can have hugely positive outcomes for the brand.

Winning smiles

Laughter has long been a staple in advertising, but the last two decades have seen a steady decline in its use. The boom of purpose advertising has caused some advertisers to shift to a more serious tone. And some understandably shied away from using humour during the pandemic. 

While the Superbowl is something of a unique advertising environment, from our analysis of this year’s ads we noted that most used humour to engage with viewers.  Humour, perhaps, is making a comeback.

Kantar’s AdReaction study shows that humour is the most powerful enhancer of ad receptivity across all generations. Humour comes in many shapes and sizes, from making people chuckle, to leaving them in stitches. And of course, New Zealand has its own special penchant for the use of droll and deadpan humour in its advertising.  Toyota and Speights have been notable exponents of this laconic style down the years, producing some vintages pieces of copy, to which we should rightly add Mitre 10’s With You All The Way as a modern day classic.  

Zespri – Kiwi brothers (2021), Zespri / VMLY&R (London)

But of course, cultural codes vary from country to country and other styles and approaches of humour will work better in different contexts.  One such example being this Kiwi export, the #2 ranked print ad globally. Designed for the Spanish market by Zespri, it features the Zespri ‘kiwi brothers’. (If they look familiar, you may have also seen them grabbing some of the limelight on Jacinda Ardern’s recent trip to Japan, where they are also used to promote Zespri). 

And so, it would seem, that not only are Kiwi brands both at home and abroad benefiting from the right application of humour in their advertising, but this year’s awards also confirm that more generally humour in advertising is making something of a comeback, and to powerful effect.

We hope you find inspiration from our winners. They have all effectively grabbed the attention of consumers and been able to amplify the brand’s meaningful differences to drive equity and sales. This is no easy feat, and we congratulate all our winning clients and agencies for doing this exceptionally well. The science behind our insights doesn’t deny the art – it enhances it and makes it work harder.

If you’d like to find out more about these ‘strategic sparks’ or the others that have helped our 2022 Kantar Creative Effectiveness Award Winners, or any of our deep dives from previous years, or would like to know how we can help you make your advertising work even more effectively, please visit our website www.kantarnewzealand.com or contact [email protected] directly please. 

About Author

Brian Turner is Head of Creative Development at Kantar New Zealand.

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