We’ve been speaking to SA consumers every week since 1984 to find out which ads they love – but there’s more to our Best Liked Ads than just accolades from consumers. “We know from testing hundreds and thousands of ads in South Africa that getting your message right is really hard. Ads that are easy to understand, single-minded in their purpose and tell great stories deliver better message take-outs to their audience. So, while liking is hugely important, if the consumer loves the ad but cannot remember or recall the brand, you’ve wasted your money,” says Natalie Botha, head of creative development, Kantar. That’s why our ranking looks at not only liking, but also noting or recall.
Regardless of increased TV-viewing hours in the last year, we see that consumers struggle to recall the ads they saw on the telly – our Adtrack data reveals that the average noting in South Africa is on a continual decline, dropping from 22% in 2016 to 14% in 2020, despite more time spent glued to the tube. So, it’s high time we pay attention to what’s dominating that screen time and find ways to engage with the South African audience to ensure they remember the brands behind the stories. Our 2021 Media Reactions study reveals that it pays to pay more attention to your creative quality. Because while we know that in-home media consumption took precedence in the last two years, TV is ultimately the main platform for success in South Africa.
Perhaps we need a refresher on the purpose of advertising – while it needs to grab attention and create an emotional connection with people, it also needs to be memorable, so those impressions return when it matters most: when it’s time to make a decision at the point of purchase.
So, which ads are making SA consumers sit up and take note? Following 2020 or the ‘year that wasn’t’, people approached 2021 with a sense of cautious hope that things would finally start to improve, and life would return to some sense of normality. One positive side-effect from COVID-19 was that it highlighted the importance of connecting and spending time with family and friends; those special moments that we all took for granted before. It’s no surprise then that we see this reflected in the advertising that made an impact in the first half of the year.
The parents amongst us know that while doing the school run can be quite a chore, the car time spent with your kids in those moments is precious. This is captured beautifully by Ogilvy in the VW Golf ad, ‘For the love of the drive,’ with dad and daughter listening to their favourite song on the way to school. It is these everyday moments that capture those lasting memories and VW cleverly plays to our emotions with the ad, winning the hearts and minds of the nation in top spot for Q1 of 2021 by driving home the message of celebrating and appreciating the small things in life.
Albany’s gathering of family and friends in “Come to the table”, Chicken Licken’s “Hotwings – they also crave it” alien dinner time with family, Coca-Cola’s “No sugar: enjoy the taste of no” moments, bedtime with dad in Vicks VapoRub’s “RSA family sleep”, Sta-Soft’s nostalgic family memories in “New Sta-Soft with longer-lasting fragrance” and VW Tiguan’s “Family has never looked this good” family party all relate to the mood of the moment, reminding us that the importance of time spent with our loved ones is not to be taken for granted.
Some national pride was called out with Spur’s ad for those who missed out on their birthdays in 2020, inviting them to celebrate the day with them belatedly alongside Freedom Day as South Africa’s birthday. Consumers are also loving the feel-good flavour in iconic brand Lucky Star’s “Rise” ad, where family mealtime plays out against scenes of a typical South African day.
The refreshed “Impossible is nothing” campaign from Adidas is further drumming up renewed interest. Originally flighted in 2004, starring boxing legend Muhammad Ali in his prime, it ran in over 50 markets, featuring 22 athletes from around the world. The 2021 reboot of the campaign sees the release of 20 new vignettes with global personalities from sports and culture, and has been dubbed the brand’s “most ambitious content series to date.” The ad that caught the attention of the SA audience starred Beyoncé in a nostalgic review of her rise to fame that resonates with the campaign theme that indeed, nothing is impossible.
Another global ad, Dove’s “Reverse selfie: have the #SelfieTalk” from Ogilvy Canada, triggered an emotional response from SA audiences and sits at the heart of the brand’s purpose with that basic human truth evident in successful global campaigns that connect with people across the world.
But it’s the local flavour of Coca-Cola’s “Uplift: internet cafe” by FCB Joburg that came up tops for Q2 2021, reflecting that slice of life where all you can do is pause, hitting refresh on your work and your life by taking an enforced break to both down a cold bottle of Cola and find a new way of getting it all done, wherever you are.
“Interestingly, we see some old campaigns making new impact in the first half of the year, a possible side-effect of these corona times, which begs the question, ‘do TV ads wear out?’ Our studies tell us that true wearout of a TV ad is rare, and many TV ads could have a longer useful life than advertisers realise. Saturation of media weight over a short space of time can also create the impression of ad wear out; however, in such cases it may be the media buying strategy rather than the effectiveness of the specific advert,” concludes Botha.
|#1 AD Q1 2021||#1 AD Q2 2021|
|VW Golf | “For the love of the drive”||Coca-Cola | “Uplift: internet café”|
VW Golf s For the love of the drive — Ogilvy Cape Town & Velocity from Deliverance Post on Vimeo.
Coca-Cola "Internet Cafe" from Patriot on Vimeo.
|1||VW Golf | “For the love of the drive”||Ogilvy|
|2||Audi Q3 | “Sportback”||DDB Barcelona|
|3||Coca-Cola | “No sugar: enjoy the taste of no”||Mercado McCann Argentina|
|4||Toyota Corolla | “Corolla robots – hatch”||FCB Joburg|
|5||Vicks Vaporub | “RSA family sleep”||Publicis Singapore|
|6||FNB | “Virtual card payments”||FoxP2|
|7||Debonairs Pizza | “On the triple”||FCB Joburg|
|8||Chicken Licken | “Hot wings: they also crave it”||Joe Public United|
|9||Spur | “Chicken or beef”||99c|
|10<!>||Albany bread | “Come to the table”||HelloFCB+|
|1||Coca-Cola | “Uplift: internet cafe”||FCB Joburg|
|2||Spur | “Freedom day”||99c|
|3||Sta-Soft | “New Sta-Soft with longer-lasting fragrance”||Wunderman Thompson South Africa|
|4||McDonald’s | “Nazo meals”||Pacinamix|
|5||Lucky Star | “Rise”||One Agency|
|6||VW Tiguan | “Family has never looked this good”||Ogilvy|
|7||Nivea Body Lotion | “Nivea rich nourishing: wear your skin with pride”||Publicis One Touch|
|8||Adidas | “Impossible is nothing: Beyoncé”||Sockeye|
|9||Cadbury Lunch Bar | “Rivalry”||Ogilvy|
|10<!>||Dove | “Reverse selfie: have #TheSelfieTalk”||Ogilvy Canada|
Click to view the PDFs of all the ads for Q1 and Q2 2021.
The Best Liked Ads list is based on Kantar’s Adtrack study, which is the first in-market measure approximately two weeks post-launch for all commercials flighted, with each ad being tested against a weekly sample of 400 people, recruited from major metropolitan areas with strict demographic quotas to ensure a good representation of the TV viewing population.
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 competitors. 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 recommend the optimal future flighting of ads to maximise your return on investments. Adtrack studies are available across all media channels.
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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Head of Marketing communications, Middle East & Africa