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Kantar announces South Africa's top 10 Best Liked Ads for Q1 and Q2 2020

Kantar's Best Liked Ads celebrates South Africa's favourite TV commercials. These are the ads that have been rated as the best liked by the South African audience, whom we believe to be the most important critic - the person who, ultimately, chooses to buy your brand or not.

Setting the scene

The year 2020 has not gone to plan. From the get-go marketers found themselves treading on shaky ground as Covid-19 saw budgets slashed to save costs. In addition, TV ad spend in South Africa fell by 16% from January to August 2020 vs the same period in 2019, similar to the global drop of 16.5% in the first half of the year.

Consumers wanted a distraction from the new normal and, at the start of lockdown, TV was by far the most appealing way to step out of the everyday and into a world of whimsy. According to Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer study, 98% of South Africans still wanted to hear from brands, and we saw an average increase in claimed media consumption up 24% in March and 38% by the start of May. For marketers, the shift was all about how to creatively reflect Covid-19 in their communications without being bland, and to help consumers adjust to the new normal.

From hand-in-hand to handwashing

Back in Q1, Covid-19 was still on the distant horizon, with little hint of the upheaval it would bring. The ad in first place from Trustees School Shoes, ‘Back 2 school’ by the suitably named Wisdom & Youth agency, saw classic first-day-of-school scenes, from a mom’s pride at her little boy wearing his full school uniform for the first time, to the joy of playing outside together during break and happily walking hand-in-hand into school. The ad cleverly tap-dances along the innocence and potential of youth with the soundtrack tugging on our heartstrings and setting the shoes up as the hero of the day.

The ads from Debonairs Pizza and KFC, in seventh and eighth place respectively for this quarter, have us rushing off to get our fast-food fix, with tangible South African flavour and humour used to engage with audiences. In addition, the Outsurance ad in ninth place leaves not a dry eye in the house with an emotional story showcasing what’s often considered a grudge purchase and why it’s actually worth it in the end.

By stark contrast, the top ad of Q2 from Lifebuoy reflects the arrival of coronavirus on SA’s shores and the uncertainty of the global pandemic. Featuring DJ Zinhle, the ad promotes the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of washing hands with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitiser to fight the spread of coronavirus and serves a stark reminder of our new reality.

A socially-distanced sense of togetherness

It should come as no surprise that the ads from Q2 start reflecting a sense of collaboration and fighting our unseen enemy. This comes through strongly in Dettol’s ‘The fight’ by McCann1886 South Africa, in second spot for Q2, with visual cues of the fluttering South African flag adding a sense of patriotism to the sentiment that the whole of Mzansi is in this fight to protect our loved ones and ourselves.

Pick n Pay’s ‘Feed the nation’ by Slingshot Media, taking third spot in Q2, also brings home the message that despite the need for social distancing we’re still stronger together, with a focus on the doctors and nurses on the frontline fighting Covid-19 and face-masked cashiers doing their duty as the less fortunate receive food parcels. The sentiment is echoed in the ‘Heroes’ ad from Lyceum coming in at number six for the quarter, which celebrates and acknowledges the efforts of our everyday heroes on the frontline.

Holding out for a hero

While we kept up the frantic buzz of cleaning and hoping for a fast fix to Covid-19, working from home (some would say ‘living from work’) started to take its toll. The nation was reminiscing about what we missed most and thinking ahead to what we’re most looking forward to doing once normalcy returns.

Polo Vivo’s ‘One Horse Town’ by Ogilvy South Africa, in fourth spot for Q2, shows this not-so-fictional future with a dash of hope, as local businesses were finally given the go-ahead to cautiously start welcoming customers against the backdrop of ‘support local’. This ties into the fact that 21% of South Africa now feel local is more lekker than ever before and want brands to bring their production factories to South Africa. Almost half of consumers (48%) are also paying more attention to the origin of products and 78% say shopping at local stores is important for individual communities’ economic recovery.

Jameson Whiskey’s ‘Until We Toast Again’, by FCB Joburg, coming in at ninth for Q2, celebrates that cautious air of recovery and splashes further fresh perspective on the fact that good things are indeed worth the wait – especially over the months when the sale of alcohol and tobacco products was banned: “Good things take time. Until we can toast together again, we will continue to craft our smooth whiskey so that you can enjoy your Jameson safely at home.”

Congratulations to the following brands and agencies:

#1 AD Q1 2020 #1 AD Q2 2020
Trustees School Shoes: Back 2 schoolLifebuoy: Lifebuoy Public Service Announcement
Wisdom & YouthLowe Lintas


2020 Q1
Q1 RankBrandAgency
1Trustees School Shoes “Back 2 school”Wisdom & Youth
2McDonald’s “What's your coffee – McCafe”Pacinamix
3Toyota Hilux “Toyota TGR Dakar meerkats””FCB Joburg
4Adidas “Faster than”AndPeople
5Ceres Juice “With love from the Ceres Valley"Wunderman Thompson
6Road Accident Fund “Choices impact lives”Flow Communications
7Debonairs Pizza “Triple decker ‘last number’”FCB Joburg
8KFC “Festive bucket”Ogilvy South Africa
9OUTsurance “Thanks Mom”OUTsurance in-house
10Coca-Cola “Start your afternoon”Merdeka LHS Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia





2020 Q2
Q1 RankBrandAgency
1Lifebuoy “Lifebuoy public service announcement”Lowe Lintas
2Dettol “The fight”McCann1886 South Africa
3Pick n Pay “Feed the nation”Slingshot Media
4VW Polo Vivo “One horse town”Ogilvy South Africa
5Samsung “Explore”Cheil
6Lyceum “Heroes”The Fire Tree Design Company
7Shoprite “United we shall serve”99c
8McDonald's “These hands”Pacinamix
9Jameson Whiskey “Until we toast again”FCB Joburg
10Hennessy “All I need”DDB Paris




To view the PDF of all the ads for Q1&2 2020, click here.

Want more?

Download our report in collaboration with AdAge in the US on how the coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption in all aspects of advertising, as well as what comes next on the road to recovery. Find out more about Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer, the leading syndicated study on how Covid-19 is influencing consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations, covering over 150,000 consumers in more than 60 markets, including South Africa.

About Adtrack™

Adtrack™ is Kantar's proprietary advertising testing system, evaluating the impact and liking of all brand advertising in South Africa for over 35 years. The resultant database stands at over 100,000 TV adverts tested, and more than 1.1 million interviews conducted, making this database one of the largest of its kind in the world. Find out how your creative and media benchmarks against the competition! Adtrack is the most comprehensive and sophisticated post-launch evaluation and planning efficiency tool available. A commissioned Adtrack study offers deeper insight and understanding on the performance and effectiveness of your ads. With Kantar’s Media Optimiser tool, we can recommend the optimal future flighting of ads to maximise your return on investments. Adtrack studies are available across all media channels.

About Kantar

Kantar is the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.

For enquiries about Adtrack, contact:

Monique Claassen
Director: media and digital
moc.ratnak@nessaalC.euqinoM

For enquiries about the Best Liked Ads, contact:

Ilse Dinner
Head of marketing communications, Africa and Middle East
moc.ratnak@renniD.eslI

Kantar
Kantar is the world's leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.
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