Whatever happens to the economy in 2002, it will be a challenging
time for advertisers and agencies.
While mindful that brands supported with consistent advertising are more
likely to survive recession, advertisers will put increased pressure on
agencies and media owners to prove the value of every pound spent above
Marketing's Adwatch, the only column to monitor TV advertising recall on
a weekly basis, is a reliable record of the country's most - and least -
NOP's poll of 1000 adults shows the prompted awareness of every
commercial launched on more than 75% of UK terrestrial television, with
the 20 top-scoring brands forming the weekly Adwatch table.
Adwatch of the Year 2001 amalgamates the 50 tables published between
December 7, 2000 and November 29 this year into a two-table super
The tables show which campaigns achieved cut-through with consumers.
The main table totals the number of adults who have recalled a brand's
advertising over the year, while the second table shows the
highest-scoring individual commercials. Marketing has also totalled
every Adwatch mention for creative agencies and media buyers to create
mini-leagues for the top-performing agencies.
For the second consecutive year, B&Q tops both tables and, although its
overall recall figures are slightly lower than in 2000, it has increased
its lead over its closest rivals in the table. While last year's main
table revealed a gap of only 2000 mentions between first and third
places, B&Q this year scored 3400 mentions more than its nearest rival,
B&Q's heavy TV presence kept it almost permanently in the Adwatch top
five during 2001, despite a budget cut of more than 12% according to AC
Nielsen MMS. Most of this year's top 20 spent less above the line than
in 2000; the only substantial increases came from Argos, Halifax, Claims
Direct, Sainsbury's, KFC and Walkers.
Other brands that performed impressively in both tables were the
National Lottery, Halifax, Woolworths and Claims Direct. Claims Direct,
MFI, KFC and DFS, make their Adwatch of the Year debut. Andrex, Direct
Line, Specsavers, One 2 One, Budweiser and Currys have fallen out of the
The unlucky losers who ended up just outside the main top 20 table are
Orange, the Mail on Sunday, Courts, Vodafone, Currys and Budweiser -
although Orange is in the second table with Lowe Lintas' 'hands'
commercial. Other stars in the second table are PC World's 'Kodak
Digital Camera' ad through M&C Saatchi and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's
Christmas campaign for WH Smith.
The big trend made clear by this year's league is the rise of the
With 16 retailers in the main table, high street names continue to
dominate the ad break.
What has happened to the automotive sector, the traditional FMCG
superbrands and the telecoms companies? These - BT apart - are
conspicuous by their absence from the main table. Even FMCG brand giants
such as Coca-Cola, Nescafe and Kellogg are missing.
Only four of the top 20 highest recall ads (National Lottery, BT, Claims
Direct and Walkers) are for brands that lack dedicated retail
Last year, the figure was seven, in 1999 and 1998 it was ten, and in
1997 it was 12. It seems clear that retailers are getting more powerful
by the year.
Despite cautiously optimistic forecasts from some media agencies, many
marketers fear the UK will find it hard to avoid full-blown
One of them is Camelot's outgoing sales and marketing director Ian
"Businesses are rightly concerned: 2002 will be a very difficult year.
Audiences will be hard to deliver and agencies will be under pressure to
create big ideas across a range of marketing communications," he
Bates UK, B&Q's ad agency for 18 years, made 75 commercials for the
brand in 2001, all with the 'You can do it when you B&Q it' strapline
and its trademark employee presenters.
Last year's Christmas campaign proved the top-scorer, and it was
followed in the New Year by a collection of 'every day low prices' ads
countering other stores' January sales.
From the start of B&Q's new fiscal year in February, commercials fell
into three categories, two of which were noticeably different from
previous work. 'Traditional', ten- and 20-second product-and-price ads,
shot in-store with colleagues talking straight to camera, continued to
run at key Easter and bank holiday trading periods.
Bates also ran new, 'project-based' advertising throughout the year,
showing ways of refreshing lounges, gardens and kitchens. These 30- and
40-second spots aimed to develop the campaign by showing staff in
relevant locations rather than in-store.
In the autumn, the newly arrived David Roth, B&Q's director of brand and
marketing, launched several premium-priced, own-label ranges. The first
products ('Tate' and 'New England' paint and 'Power-Pro' power tools)
were advertised with commercials different in tone and with just the
final five seconds featuring a B&Q employee.
Roth says: "TV is the most significant element of our current marketing
mix, but a lot depends on what happens next year. We have to make our
budget work as hard as possible and the decline in ITV audiences does
worry us. We are keeping a close eye on cost and what the marketplace is
But with third-quarter sales up 12.4% on last year, B&Q can afford an
enviable degree of optimism. Whether the property market stays buoyant
or plunges into crisis, people will spend money on DIY.
Two factors dominated Leo Burnett's work this year - a continued push
behind menu innovation and a focus on tactical activity, reflecting
increasing competition between fast-food chains.
The second table's top-scorer was the Christmas 'Great Escape' ad
promoting the bacon double cheeseburger, which was reminiscent of some
of the best McDonald's work. But overall, this year's ads have been
largely tactical, from the January buy-one-get-one-free offer to the
Indian and Italian promotions, and the work for hotdogs and Chicken
Last year's experiment with ten-second commercials proved successful
('The Plumber', 'Alan Hansen' and 'Estate Agent' ads won a gold lion at
Cannes this year) and prompted a string of humorous ten-second ads in
the summer, showing ways of keeping cool.
Some of the year's best-recalled work has been the 'ladies wot lunch'
film for Chicken Wrap and the Dani Behr campaign for Chicken Premiere,
McDonald's most significant product launch for several years. McDonald's
clearly sees chicken as a key development area - although, far from
quaking in his boots, KFC's Colonel, at number 17, is making his Adwatch
of the Year debut, boosted by the effect of BSE and the foot and mouth
crisis on beef sales.
McDonald's says 2002 will see big 'theme' advertising developing its
relationship with the British consumer. And, in a World Cup year, it
will almost certainly use advertising to leverage its status as an
THE NATIONAL LOTTERY
To describe WCRS' past year with Camelot as trying would be an
understatement. Yet the agency has survived endless rumours of a review
to produce Camelot's best Adwatch performance for years.
In the main table, lottery advertising reached third place, with a
Lottery Extra commercial (starring the animated Jack Pot) recording the
year's second-highest individual recall score.
In the final months of the licence period, there has been a distinct
feeling of Camelot's advertising 'marking time', although outgoing sales
and marketing director Ian Milligan said that he was "much happier with
the standard of creative work".
The advertising for the National Lottery itself - Instants is excluded -
has incorporated several key strands. In the early months of 2001, much
of it was the 'Jack Pot' work for Lottery Extra. In addition, three
ten-second animated films ('Alien', 'Boulder' and 'Caber') have run in
rotation to support the year's 16 rollovers.
Camelot has held four £20m Superdraws in 2001, all supported on
television. The first two, in January and March, used the theme 'Have
you got your dream ticket?' while the September and November ads
illustrated 'a ridiculous amount of money' by showing a man carrying a
huge pink foam sign saying '£20 MILLION'.
In the summer, Camelot ran three 30-second commercials which showed how
real lottery winners have spent their money. This work launched the
strapline 'What would you do if you won?', which was extended to cover
all Camelot activity but, because it ran regionally, it did not make
much of an impact on Adwatch.
Now, with the new seven-year licence period about to begin, Camelot has
upgraded its store presence and confirmed a 2002 marketing budget of
Next year will be the most important since Camelot launched in 1995 and
beleaguered media owners can celebrate the fact that massive brand
advertising is a certainty.
This time last year, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was denying rumours that
BT was dumping ET even though the little alien was barely evident in the
'talk together' ads, which ran until April promoting BT's unlimited
But by June speculation was over: the telecoms giant had launched its
biggest commercial for years as a massive, corporate platform for all
its marketing activity, under the theme of 'more connections, more
The 90-second St Luke's 'stadium' epic, inspired by Gladiator and
showing people addressing a huge amphitheatre, achieved BT's highest
awareness score of the year.
AMV BBDO worked alongside St Luke's, taking one of the 'stadium'
characters, Randolph, and developing a series of follow-up commercials
aimed at residential customers. The strategy, showing how BT enables
connections between people, has created what BT director of marketing
services Amanda Mackenzie describes as "our best-ever awareness
performance and a dramatically improved return on investment".
For the first time in years, BT has no ad frontman in the Buzby, Maureen
Lipman, Bob Hoskins or ET mould.
Mackenzie explains: "It is time for us to stand up and talk directly to
the consumer. Tonally, people consider the advertising is very much for
them because it is perfect for the world we now live in."
Christmas begins when the first Woolworths ad hits the screens - or so
the retailer used to say. But two years ago, Woolworths and Bates UK
dropped the Easter/Christmas strategy and adopted an all-year round TV
The idea was to give the core target, mums with young children, a reason
to visit the store more regularly. Bates believed it could reach into
women's "intimate media time" by using daytime TV to promote special
offers on products that challenged perceptions - such as a wok rather
than a traditional saucepan set.
The result was the 'don't forget what you went in for' campaign which
has incorporated 200 different commercials over the past year showing
people going into Woolworths and coming out loaded with shopping - but
without the item they were originally seeking.
All the ads, the ones featuring 'ordinary people' as well as the
celebrity-sprinkled Christmas specials, use the 'Woolworths, well worth
it' tagline to reflect the store's value, service and product ethic.
The 20- and ten-second daytime commercials use a template with a
seven-second centre reflecting offers that can be changed and monitored
Bates says the two-year-old campaign has resulted in a 'startling'
correlation between advertising and sales.
It is certainly doing the business in Adwatch. Last year, just a few
months into the campaign, Woolworths hit Adwatch of the Year's number 16
slot, after an absence in 1999. This year, it rose higher than any other
established brand to reach number seven, thanks to its best-remembered
commercial - one of last Christmas' celebrity series - featuring stars
such as Richard Whiteley and Norman Wisdom.
In Status Quo parlance, Argos' year has been more 'Up Up' than Down Down
- up in sales, up in advertising awareness and up six places in Adwatch
of the Year.
The 'Brighter Shopping' campaign, with its colourful block imagery and
Whatever You Want soundtrack (replaced by Down Down for sale
commercials), has run since 1999.
The campaign positioned Argos as the way to brighter shopping for savvy
consumers. And, throughout 2001, it has been a consistent factor in a
year of client instability with the arrival of a new managing director
Kate Swann and a new marketing director Paul Geddes.
Ogilvy & Mather made 11 commercials this year for the core Argos brand,
supporting sales, two catalogue launches and bank holiday peaks. In
addition, it created the first ads to specifically promote Asda's home
and internet shopping division, with similar colourful imagery but with
a different music track - Telephone Man.
The work's down-to-earth popularism has clearly tapped the public
consciousness - but O&M now has to ensure that the music, such a key
element of its success, does not obscure specific messages.
Love it or loathe it, Halifax is the most remarkable campaign of the
year. Its homespun 'stars' - Howard, Yvonne and Matt - have taken 2001
by storm, giving the brand a significant Adwatch presence for the first
time since Halifax's conversion campaign of 1997.
Delaney Lund Knox Warren's work had to match the impact of the brand's
much-loved 'people' campaign, which ran a decade previously and had a
human feel to it, while communicating a strong product message.
Philip Hanson, head of marketing for HBOS Retail, admits that DLKW's
solution carried a risk of being imitative and cheesy.
But DLKW gave the staff professional help - such as voice coaching and a
top promo company to film the ads.
Howard, promoting the current account, hit the TV screens on Boxing Day;
he was joined in February by Yvonne singing about credit cards, and then
by Matt flogging mortgages. Since then, says Hanson, "we have measured a
tremendous correlation between advertising and sales".
Although Matt scored highest in Adwatch, Howard is the campaign's
undisputed star, even outperforming Britney Spears and Christina
Aguilera in a survey monitoring the PR value of celebs in ads. Indeed,
he is now a full-time, in-house Halifax 'star', opening branches and
starring in the internal TV service.
New faces will join him in the campaign next year - and they will have
to work even harder than before.
Halifax believe it is no coincidence that four rivals - NatWest,
Barclays, HSBC and LloydsTSB - reviewed their advertising following the
Hanson anticipates a stream of new competitor campaigns and is
committing even more resources to TV advertising in 2002. "TV is the
medium that works best for us, especially in the tough market that next
year will undoubtedly prove to be, and we will continue to invest in
If you thought Harry Potter was the country's top bespectacled child
star, think again. In Adwatch, that particular accolade goes to the
unfortunate Declan Swan.
Declan helped personal injury specialist Claims Direct come from nowhere
to grab 14th place in Adwatch of the Year's main table and an
astonishing joint fifth place in the single-week table. This means
Declan has achieved the same awareness as Woolworths' Christmas stars -
and on a lower budget.
Claims Direct, which launched on TV some three years ago, has had a
terrific year in Adwatch. Declan was followed by the equally appealing
Carl Scaife who, although successful, failed to achieve the
nine-year-old's extraordinary cult status.
Hanrahan Media, the agency behind Declan, lost the account early in 2001
to ARM Direct, which created the Carl Scaife film and the current
The latter has abandoned real-life testimonial ads in favour of
presenter-led films with high-speed computer graphic images. So far,
there have been six commercials, two 60- and four 40-seconds, showing
accidents being reversed.
Claims Direct head of marketing operations Beth Powell explains: "The
60-second ads enhance the key brand attributes of Claims Direct and its
service offering, while the 40-second ads focus in greater detail on
positive elements of our service.
Our media spend has never worked harder and we will continue testing and
monitoring new media mixes in 2002."
HIGHEST RECALL OVER THE YEAR
2001 2000 Brand Agency/TV buyer Total Budget
1 1 B&Q Bates UK/Zenith Media 13,599 31.00
2 3 McDonald's Leo Burnett/Starcom Motive 10,191 38.00
3 10 Nat'l Lottery WCRS/OMD UK 7236 15.48
4 4 Comet Saatchi & Saatchi/ 6254 19.71
5 7 Tesco Lowe Lintas/Initiative Media 6122 25.20
6 5 BT Abbott Mead Vickers 6035 92.11
BBDO, St Luke's/
The Allmond Partnership
7 16 Woolworths Bates UK/Zenith Media 5992 24.91
8 2 Asda Publicis/Carat 5464 25.00
9 15 Argos Ogilvy & Mather/MindShare 5266 19.12
10 - Halifax Delaney Lund Knox Warren/ 4842 37.80
11 6 Iceland HHCL and Partners/MediaCom 4747 14.11
12 - Boots J Walter Thompson/ 4681 33.53
OMD UK and MindShare
13 8 Homebase Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/PHD 4570 18.78
14 - Claims Direct Hanrahan Media, ARM Direct/ 4550 20.18
ARM Media & Brilliant Media
15 14 Sainsbury's Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/PHD 3526 50.65
16 - DFS Bates UK and Ward Longworth 3520 57.76
17 - KFC Ogilvy & Mather/Zenith Media 3448 14.09
18 12 Burger King Lowe Lintas/Carat 3018 8.77
19 13 Walkers Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ 2945 13.20
20 - MFI Publicis/Optimedia 2928 16.71
*AC Nielsen MMS data for the period Nov 2000 to Oct 2001
BEST RECALL IN ANY SINGLE WEEK
2001 2000 Brand Agency/TV buyer Score(% Week Budget
1 1 B&Q Bates UK/Zenith Media 83 Dec 18 31.00
2 8= Nat'l Lottery WCRS/OMD UK 81 Mar 1 15.48
3= - Orange Lowe Lintas/Media 78 Feb 22 42.85
3= - Halifax Delaney Lund Knox 78 Jun 14 37.80
5= 10= Woolworths Bates UK/Zenith Media 77 Jan 11 24.91
5= - Claims Direct Hanrahan Media, ARM 77 Mar 1 20.18
7 - Argos Ogilvy & Mather/ 76 Jan 11 19.12
8= 18= PC World M&C Saatchi/Walker Media 75 Jan 25 28.00
8= 5 McDonald's Leo Burnett/ 75 Jan 25 38.00
8= 2 BT Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ 75 Jul 19 92.11
The Allmond Partnership
8= 4= Walkers Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ 75 Mar 1 13.20
12= 10= One 2 One Bartle Bogle Hegarty/ 72 Dec 14 26.81
Starcom Motive 2000
12= 13= Tesco Lowe Lintas/ 72 Aug 23 25.20
12= - WH Smith Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ 72 Jan 11 8.29
12= - Sainsbury's Abbott Mead Vickers 72 Nov 8 50.65
12= - BT Cellnet Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ 72 Dec 14 35.57
The Allmond Partnership 2000
17= - Homebase Abbott Mead Vickers 71 May 17 18.78
17= 3 Direct Line Mortimer Whittaker 71 Feb 15 25.03
19= 6= Asda Publicis/Carat 70 Mar 15 25.00
19= 6= Andrex J Walter Thompson/ 70 Feb 15 5.98
19= - Velvet toilet Roose & Partners/Carat 70 Nov 15 4.87
19= - Comet Saatchi & Saatchi/ 70 Dec 21 19.71
Zenith Media 2000
*AC Nielsen MMS data for the period Nov 2000 to Oct 2001
Adwatch of the Year has monitored the year's performance of agencies and
media buyers since 1999. This year, both top tens are remarkably similar
to their 2000 counterparts, with exactly the same agencies - albeit in
slightly different orders.
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO retains its top spot for the third year
running, thanks to regular Adwatch appearances for Sainsbury's,
Homebase, BT Cellnet.
Walkers, WH Smith, Dulux and Guinness. Although it scored two more
mentions than last year, the gap between first and second places has
narrowed to just nine mentions, putting the top three shops in much
closer contention for the top spot.
Last year's number two agency, Publicis, has fallen to joint fifth
position, while Lowe Lintas and Bates UK - the latter bolstered by its
many commercials for Woolworths, B&Q and DFS - climbed the Adwatch
league to reach second and third place respectively.
Zenith Media causes the closest thing to an upset by stealing top media
buying honours from Starcom Motive for the first time, with 36 more
mentions than it achieved last year thanks to clients such as B&Q,
Woolworths, KFC and Halifax.
Whereas Starcom had just a three-mention lead on Zenith Media last year
(125 versus 122), Zenith is now 62 mentions ahead of its nearest rival,
with Carat, MindShare and Initiative jostling for third place.
With its new account group structure under CEO Simon Marquis, the agency
is positive about 2002, maintaining that adspend should hold up well
TOP CREATIVE AGENCIES
2001 2000 Agency Appearances*
1 1 AMV BBDO 96
2 3 Lowe Lintas 85
3 4 Bates UK 70
4 6 Saatchi & Saatchi 62
5= 7 J Walter Thompson 52
5= 2 Publicis 52
5= 5 Leo Burnett 52
8 10 Ogilvy & Mather 49
9 8 BMP DDB 41
10 9 McCann-Erickson 40
*in Marketing's Adwatch table
TOP TV BUYERS
2001 2000 Media buyer Appearances*
1 2 Zenith Media 158
2 1 Starcom Motive 96
3 3 Carat 87
4 5 MindShare 81
5 9 Initiative Media 80
6 4 OMD UK 69
7 6 PHD 66
8 8 Universal McCann 54
9 7 MediaCom 51
10 10 MediaVest 38
*in Marketing's Adwatch table