A year ago, Tesco stunned the ad world by shifting its business from Lowe to Sir Frank Lowe's fledgling agency The Red Brick Road. But continuity was ensured as the entire Tesco team moved to the start-up, and there were few changes in the advertising, which takes top honours in Adwatch of the Year.
The 'Every little helps' line, launched in 1992, underpins the current activity, which broke in 2004, using short ads with voiceovers from celebrities including Martin Clunes and Caroline Quentin.
Each ad focuses on one way Tesco can make life easier for its customers, allowing the store to promote its entire offering, including telecoms and finance.
The 75 executions aired this year continue to emphasise price, although there is an increased focus on quality - particularly of food - and environmental issues, with the 40-second 'No bags' spot scoring Tesco's highest Adwatch recall figure.
As Tesco begins to address the image problems resulting from its perception as the dominant retail force, a focus on social responsibility is a logical step. 2007 will doubtless see more of the same.
MARKS & SPENCER
In a year in which marketers have become preoccupied with digital, M&S proved that traditional methods can still be hugely effective.
The chain increased its ad investment by 44%, and RKCR/Y&R's 'Your M&S' ads became a key element in its recovery, picking up the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix and earning M&S marketing director Steven Sharp the Marketing Society's Marketer of the Year accolade.
In its Adwatch of the Year debut, M&S is ranked second for highest recall across the year. It was included in 19 weekly Adwatch tables, including five number-one and six number-two slots.
M&S has aired about 30 ads over the past year, including last year's Moulin Rouge Christmas spectacular and this year's fashion ads featuring models Twiggy and Lizzie Jagger. This autumn the 'Your M&S' theme was extended to childrenswear and M&S Money, and each month RKCR has created two Dervla Kirwan-voiced food ads.
Clothing sales increased by 10% and food sales by 10.5%, while the advertising became one of the best-loved and most-parodied campaigns on TV.
British Gas' advertising has re-entered Adwatch of the Year for the first time since 1999, despite an 11% drop in TV spend compared with 2005.
Clemmow Hornby Inge's animated flames began as sponsorship break bumpers two years ago and replaced Ricky Tomlinson as the main TV vehicle in June 2005. Over the past year, CHI has made 10 ads, giving people reasons to stay with or move to British Gas, featuring incentives such as price-protection promises and advice on energy efficiency. A February testimonial, 'Archie', gave British Gas its highest recall of the year, at 74%.
The flames, which are loved by some but have an undeniable irritation factor, have succeeded in giving the brand a memorability level of which other utility companies can only dream.
Shortly after its launch, Iceland's 'Kerry Katona' activity was voted 2005's sixth-most irritating campaign - a fact that did not bother Tom Reddy, founder of the Salford agency behind the ads.
Regaining the business last year was a tribute to his relationship with Iceland which, after two stints with London shops, has returned to the agency that created the 'Mum's gone to Iceland' line in the late-80s. The decision has paid off, with Iceland entering the table for highest recall in a single week.
Over the past year, Reddy has made 25 Kerry-fronted 'That's why mums go to Iceland' ads, and one of last Christmas' ads scored 75% recall.
Reddy admits Kerry is seen as high-risk, but despite her problems, people identify with her, and unlike Asda's flirtation with Sharon Osbourne, Katona is a perfect fit with the brand. Her image is as a woman of the people, who might, unlike Osbourne, actually shop in the store she is promoting.
Though it increased its ad budget by 40%, Iceland still spends far less than the big supermarkets. With recall bolstered by radio work as well as its sponsorship of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, the advertising has punched above its weight.
When Churchill reviewed its advertising early this year, there was no danger its dog would be ditched, and the winning agency - WCRS - was briefed to develop the Bob Mortimer-voiced character.
Since his debut in 1994, Churchill has become one of Britain's best-loved advertising icons but, in a competitive marketplace, he needed a more dynamic image. WCRS revamped the character, making him bigger with more sophisticated facial expressions, and moved him off the parcel shelf to call people to action with his rallying 'Challenge Churchill' cry.
The resulting 'Challenge Churchill' work captured the public imagination, with the summer launch ad scoring Adwatch's highest recall figure of the year.
Five months in, Churchill claims to have experienced significant increases in spontaneous brand awareness and growth in quote volumes on both motor and home insurance.
HIGHEST RECALL ACROSS THE YEAR
06 05 Brand Agency/TV buyer Ment- Points TV spend Total
ions (pounds adspend
1 (4) Tesco Lowe London, The Red 32 399 37.25 65.07
2 (-) Marks & RKCR Y&R/Walker Media 19 318 32.70 64.21
3 (-) PC World M&C Saatchi/ 18 274 15.41 34.30
4 (3) McDonald's Leo Burnett/OMD UK 20 257 21.95 30.92
5 (7) Argos Clemmow Hornby 21 246 18.90 38.42
6 (1) Asda Publicis/Carat 16 243 21.49 44.24
7 (6) Sainsbury's Abbott Mead Vickers 15 210 19.97 46.65
8 (2) B&Q JWT London/ 17 193 26.90 38.54
9 (-) British Gas Clemmow Hornby 10 176 16.01 28.56
10 (10) DFS PWLC, Uber, Mob 9 161 33.38 97.35
This table scores a brand's total number of mentions across the year
ranked by a value-added point score. Every number one Adwatch position
during the year scored 20 points, a number two position scored 19, a
number three 18, down to a score of one point for a number 20 mention.
Weekly Adwatch data is compiled by TNS as part of its twice-weekly
OnlineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64.
*Nielsen Media Research data for the period Nov 2005-Oct 2006
BEST RECALL IN ANY SINGLE WEEK
06 05 Brand Agency/TV buyer Recall Issue TV spend Total
(%) date (pounds adspend
1 3= Churchill WCRS/MediaCom 80 30.08.06 11.47 15.32
2= 8= Sainsbury's Abbott Mead Vickers 77 02.11.05 19.97 46.65
2= - Privilege M&C Saatchi/ 77 05.04.06 8.26 10.29
4= - McDonald's Leo Burnett/OMD UK 75 22.02.06 21.95 30.92
4= - Iceland Tom Reddy Advertising/ 75 18.01.06 7.56 8.51
6 - British Gas Clemmow Hornby Inge/ 74 15.03.06 16.01 28.56
7 - Kellogg's Cheetham Bell JWT/ 73 01.02.06 12.08 14.05
Special K MindShare
8= 8= Tesco The Red Brick Road/ 72 20.09.06 37.25 65.07
8= - Walkers Abbott Mead Vickers 72 05.04.06 8.96 14.87
8= 8= Halifax DLKW/Vizeum UK 72 02.08.06 13.96 20.13
8= - DFS PWLC/Brilliant Media 72 01.02.06 33.38 97.35
*Nielsen Media Research data for the period Nov 2005-Oct 2006
NOTE: DFS repeated its score on 09.08.06, with creative by Mob Films