Marketing's Adwatch of the Year 2011

Morrisons: most recalled TV ad in 2011
Morrisons: most recalled TV ad in 2011

Although the economy has continued to provide a headache for marketers, some TV advertising managed to achieve cut-through with the beleaguered British public, writes Gail Kemp.

In the toughest business environment in recent memory, achieving cut-through with consumers has never been higher up the agenda. Adwatch of the Year, which aggregates data from Marketing's weekly table, suggests that brands are having mixed success in meeting this challenge.

Adwatch of the year is the industry's most respected barometer of which TV ads are most memorable to consumers.

This year's table, which aggregates results from November 2010 to October 2011, shows clear winners (Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Kellogg, National Lottery and and losers (Asda, Sainsbury's and The Co-operative). It also features brands that have made comebacks, such as Direct Line and Currys/PC World, both of which have been revitalised by M&C Saatchi campaigns.

Also notable is that DFS turned in its best-ever performance - third in both the highest ad recall and best recall tables - but fired the agency responsible. New-to-TV brands including Wickes and Autoglass make their Adwatch of the Year debut, while B&Q is absent from the top 20 for only the second time in 15 years.

It is no surprise that the table is dominated by retailers, with Morrisons taking the top spot. Broadcast advertising manager Pavan Riyat attributes this to the brand's consistent message and a strong tone of voice. 'We set out this year to capture the mood of the nation and hit the right note with customers, and we have ensured that our advertising has a value layer, as well as a strong brand layer,' he says.

Morrisons' most significant advertising move this year was signing former cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, whose down- to-earth persona struck a chord with the brand's target market. In the three months following Flintoff's debut 'Let's Celebrate' ad at Easter, Morrisons recorded an 8% sales uplift on the same period in 2010.

Remarkably, across the year, Morrisons spent considerably less than its main rivals. Morag Blazey, global practice leader for advertising intelligence at Ebiquity, which sourced this year's budget data, says: 'Although Adwatch inevitably favours advertisers with a constant television presence, the table shows that memorability isn't just about spend. It clearly illustrates the value of a consistent and recognisable positioning, which lets retailers such as Morrisons weave themselves into the very fabric of TV.'

Consistency and recognition have underscored Autoglass' messaging for the past seven years, and the brand is riding high not just in the Adwatch of the year table, but also in the marketplace. Radio specialist Radioville devised the brand's 'repair/replace' jingle in 2005, and recently created a Tellyville division to help Autoglass replicate its success on TV.

Autoglass marketing director David Meliveo says: 'Our advertising is all about trust, reliability and professionalism. The ads' credibility comes from the fact that we feature only real Autoglass technicians.'

It is a similar story for Wickes, which hired FMCG marketer Rob Murray as its marketing director four years ago. He appointed MWO, which created the Timothy Spall-voiced 'It's got our name on it' campaign. Three years on, the brand makes it debut in Adwatch of the year. The campaign, which targets tradesmen and domestic DIYers, is rooted in the idea of shared pride in a job well done, and played a big part in Wickes growing its revenues at 2% in the first half of 2011.

No commercial break is complete without the price-comparison sites, and this year's big mover is, which not only tops the best recall in a single week table, but makes its first appearance in the highest recall across the year table, where it is the only price-comparison site. In 2011, the meerkat creators at VCCP brought Alexsandr and Sergei into 'our' world for the first time. The first ad in the series proved the most memorable commercial of the year.

Executive creative director Darren Bailes says: 'As Alexsandr turns up in Steve Smith's office, we wanted to capture the reaction of the kid in ET, when he sees ET for the first time - a feeling of "what's this weird little thing at the end of my desk?"'

Weird or not, the meerkat continues to make a monkey of the rival marketer who dismissed the original commercial with the words: 'Nice ad, but the campaign can't last more than a few months'. In tough times, where every pound counts, consistency of messaging is paying dividends.

Highest recall: across the year
11 10 Brand


TV Buyer

Pts. Adspend (£m)
1 3 Morrisons 

DLKW Lowe/


36 409 22.71 66.21
2 1 Tesco 

The Red Brick

34 374 44.89 120.54
3 6 DFS 

Uber/ Brilliant

Media &

19 295 31.35 73.59
4 8

Marks &

Rainey Kelly
Walker Media

20 290 33.27 68.23
5 7 Sky TV 

Sky Creative &
Brothers &

16 269 66.13 181.33
6 4 Argos 


25 267 34.11 54.4
7 2 Asda 

Saatchi &

19 255 38.86 95.13
8 -

Currys &
PC World

M&C Saatchi/
Walker Media

22 202 34.58 49.69
9 16 Kellogg's  Leo Burnett/
13 180 43.09 68.22
10 18 National


11 134 20.3 31.87
11 - O2 


9 125 16.09 60
12 5 Sainsbury's  AMV BBDO/
18 118 29.96 57.59
13 - Wickes  MWO/MEC 10 117 18.32 30.7
14 - L'Oreal  McCann-
13 116 43.79 60.14
15 13 McDonalds  Leo Burnett/
9 115 34.37 52.18
16 - Autoglass 

Breakfast &

6 107 11.9 18.63
17 -



5 99 19.36 23.07
18 - Direct


6 98 37.28 49.28
19 19= KFC 

Bartle Bogle
Walker Media

10 97 17.99 29.97
20 12


PHD Rocket

11 94 10.8 15.3

This table scores a brand's total number of mentions across the year (column five) ranked by a value-added point score (column six).

Every top Adwatch position during the year scores 20 points, second position scores 19, third 18, down to a score of one point for a mention in 20th position.

*Adspend data for the period Nov 2010-Oct 2011 supplied by Ebiquity (total adspend includes press, TV, radio, DM, outdoor, online display and cinema)

Best recall: in any single week
11 10 Brand Agency/TV buyer Recall Issue Adspend (£m)
        (%) date TV Total
1 4=  VCCP/
Zenith Optimedia
67 10.08 19.36 23.07
2 2 Marks & Spencer  Rainey Kelly Y&R/
Walker Media
64 19.01
33.27 68.23
3 6= DFS  Uber/
Brilliant Media
62 26.01
31.35 73.59
4 6= Gocompare  In-house/
60 02.02
24.71 27.23
5 - Walkers  AMV BBDO/
59 03.11
8.08 8.79
6 3 Sainsbury's  AMV BBDO/
56 19.01
29.96 57.59
7= 1 Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 55 19.01
22.71 66.21
7= - Asda  Saatchi &
55 9.02
38.86 95.13
9 - Churchill  WCRS&Co/
54 10.08
19.13 24.58
10 - Ocean Spray  Arnold
53 17.08
2.12 2.17

* Data for the period Nov 2010-Oct 2011 supplied by Ebiquity


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