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.
The uncomfortable truth for brand managers and advertisers is that people don’t care about brands or ads, so their brains filter them out. Ads that engage people creatively and emotionally tend to work better because they’re working with the brain, not against it. This has real implications for the way marketers develop and measure their advertising. Engaging advertising can seed ideas, associations and feelings that are triggered not only during the purchase process, but also long after the ad was seen. The ads in these quarters tell wonderful stories to engage their viewers, we see a distinctly South African flavour laced with humour and kids, and surprisingly no dogs! (An oft-traditional hook to engage.)
Give us an emotional high: Gorgeous sensory cinematography at its best
Ogilvy’s ‘Power of Vrrr Pha’ for VW Golf GTI takes #1 for Q3. Reminiscent of the iconic Ogilvy ads for VW back in the day, it cleverly transforms the sound of ‘the people’s car’ into something beyond roaring street noise with its stunning soundtrack (Nonku Phiri’s isiXhosa version of Edith Piaf’s ‘No regrets’) and cinematic video. The brand is the hero of the story, from start to end.
This simplicity of storytelling with nothing left to the imagination is also seen in Specsavers’ ad from Brandright, telling a heart-warming love story that doesn’t lose the brand. Specs are threaded through every scene to bring the tagline to life: ‘Sight sees the beauty. Vision sees the future.’
That feel-good factor is also strong in King James’ ‘Now that’s Christmas’ for Pick n Pay. It boosts all the jingle-jangly festive feels by tapping into the magic of that special grocery list, smell of the bakery and gentle reminder that it is the season to be kinder. Pacinamix’ ‘Favourites – Make a feast of it’ for McDonald’s also reminds us of special moments, like catching up with friends and candlelit date nights. But it’s the extreme close-up of the new McFeast chili cheeseburger that grabs your attention, with all that glossy, glistening sauce tempting the senses.
There’s definitely something to be said about these slow-mo, sensuous food and drink ad shots as those moments of consumption really take the cake. Joe Public’s ‘Strawberry Rouge Spritzer’ for Brutal Fruit fits all the refreshing dripping action shots you can handle in just 15 seconds.
“Cute kids, caring moms, reliable dads”: Rethink what family-first means to Mzansi
There’s no denying that SA loves a good story with relatable characters and this round we see families taking centre stage. Joe Public’s ‘Mooo fresh’ ad for Clover triggers a happy walk down memory lane, as does their ad for Krush, with next-level lunchbox envy as the schoolboys swap a slice of cake and a toy car for the coveted juice box. Joe Public adds further edginess to the mix with ‘Uber Parents’ for Uber Eats, showing the brand understands the new reality – life has changed and sometimes Gogo is the one to save the day with tech. The Hardy Boys ad ‘Embracing new ways’ for Nola Mayonnaise also shows how respecting family traditions doesn’t stand in the way of trying new things, while staying true to the persuasive power of product close ups.
While we see the caring mom and dreamy baby having fun in Accenture’s ‘Soft Clouds’ for Huggies Gold Pants, we love the ad from Ogilvy for Mr Muscle where the mom is not left to clean the mess alone as the offspring bring more of “the stormy, the sticky and the slimy” into the house.
In Clere’s ‘become a legend’ by Limelight SA, we see beyond the typical labels of strength to what truly makes a legend – the love, admiration and perseverance we learn from our father figures. This is crucial to the current cultural conversation around breaking stereotypes. ‘Dove Men’s + Care’ by Tag Worldwide deploys South African rugby player and celebrity Siya Kolisi to show what men’s skin goes through, from a tough day on the field to playing with kids on the lawn. It’s these portrayals of dads that really flip the script and hit home in SA.
And of course, there are global celebrities who create audience engagement, like the Messi episode of Adidas’ global ‘Impossible is nothing’ campaign from Sockeye, which takes #1 in Q4 by also speaking to the unifying power of respected influencers in the realm of sport to inspire a nation.
Make us laugh: Tickle the nation’s funny bone by touching on human truths
M&C Saatchi Abel’s ‘Scamandla’ for Nando’s once again helps us make light of the heavy political situation by offering a sneak peek into a secret meeting of the ‘SA Scamming Association’, complete with scammer-in-chief and spiritual white boy.
Car ads had their moment in the sun, using great creative and a good story to showcase the functional benefits by showing not telling, with the category taking up a quarter of the Best Liked Ads list. FCB’s ‘Prequel’ for Toyota Corolla’s Cross puts a smile on faces by playing on how ‘thinking about the future’ isn’t necessarily what your partner expects; ‘More room for fun’ for Toyota Rumion shows more and more people packed into the car for a fun day at the dam; and ‘Corolla Cross Robots’ for Toyota Corolla gives assembly robots a sense of humour. We see them whispering about the features of the new Corolla Cross to keep them a secret, only to acknowledge the audience by asking ‘then why are people filming us’ – all in South African accents, of course. And everybody loves good-natured neighbours, with Dalmatian Advertising’s ‘Space for everything’ ad for Renault showing just how spacious the new Triber is, as the family packs the car vacation-style… only to reverse to the neighbour’s house.
“It’s great to see so many local agencies in our list of Best Liked Ads for these two quarters. Undeniably, the simplicity of storytelling is quickly becoming the most important ingredient for successful advertising in South Africa. People tend not to remember explicit messages without lots of repetition but a creative demonstration will help improve memorability, and I’m loving how the agencies have showcased functional benefits within an engaging storyline. While the overall results include liking, they also take into account noting, or how well the ad is recalled in the name of the brand, as it's no good loving an ad if you can't remember the brand,” concludes Natalie Botha, head of media and creative, insights division, Kantar.
Congratulations to the following brands and agencies:
| #1 AD Q3 2021|| #1 AD Q4 2021|
|VW Golf GTI | “The power of Vrrr Pha”||Adidas | “Impossible is nothing – Lionel Messi”|
|Ogilvy South Africa||Sockeye|
Best Liked Ads Q3 2021
Best Liked Ads Q4 2021
Click to view the PDFs of all the ads for Q3 and Q4 2021.
About the Best Liked Ads
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.
For enquiries about Adtrack contact:
Client relationship director
For enquiries about the Best Liked Ads contact:
Head of Marketing communications, Middle East & Africa