The UK's biggest retailers have forced their way into the public consciousness with some truly memorable TV advertising over the past 12 months, according to Marketing's Adwatch of the Year survey.
The rankings, aggregated from the Adwatch tables that have appeared in Marketing in the 12 months to October 2008, show which brands achieved the strongest recall across the year, and also the ads that scored highest recall in any single week. The figures also reveal which advertising and media agencies have had the most success in producing ads that have stuck in consumers' minds.
A trio of supermarkets dominates the table for the most recalled ads of the year. Morrisons and Asda posted the most impressive recall scores, putting them head and shoulders above the competition and demonstrating the continuing power of celebrity-led campaigns.
Celebrities were also to the fore in the work for Tesco and Marks & Spencer, which made third and fourth place respectively.
It is Morrisons that tops the list, however, thanks to its ads featuring the likes of Lulu, Denise van Outen and Richard Hammond going about their shopping, backed by a catchy Take That soundtrack. It is an astonishing performance for a brand that did not appear in last year's top 20, and one that vindicates its decision to invest in the high-profile campaign, created by DLKW.
Asda holds onto its second place from last year, thanks to a £10m increase in its TV spend, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. Tesco also spent more on TV over this period, and both its recall points and elevation from fifth to third place in the table reflect this.
Kellogg is the only non-retail brand to make the top 10 (down one place), while Sainsbury's (up four), Argos (down one) and DFS (down one) all retain top 10 placings from last year. However, last year's most recalled brand, PC World, slips down to ninth place this time around, a move that has coincided with a year-on-year cut in its TV spend.
Insurance brand Churchill may rank only 16th in the table of highest recall ¬ across the year, but one of its ads scored the highest recall in any single week. The 30-second commercial, created by WCRS, is set in a TV quiz show studio, where ‘Kim from Beckford' challenges Churchill with a series of questions. It achieved 83% recall during research conducted between 22 and 25 February.
Meanwhile, Asda makes it a brace of second places in our two main Adwatch of the Year tables, with the second-highest recall in any week for its ad featuring Julie Walters working as a Christmas trainee.
It was an extremely close and hard-fought battle between the creative agencies that produce the most recalled ads, with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO taking the top spot and retaining its crown from last year - just one mention ahead of DLKW, which, in turn, was just one mention above third-placed McCann Erickson.
Competition was equally intense among the media agencies, with MindShare retaining its number one position by just one mention from Carat, which also came second last year.
Highest recall across the year
This table scores a brand's total number of mentions across the year (column 5) ranked by a value-added point score (column 6). 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 ranking. Adspend data by Nielsen Meida Research.
Adwatch is the UK's leading monitor of the memorability of TV advertising. The weekly Adwatch system was established more than 20 years ago to monitor the saliency of television advertising. Because Marketing wanted to avoid simply registering 'morning after' recall, it decided to research commercials a few weeks after they first go on air.
How it works
* Xtreme Information draws up a list of all new commercials that broke in a particular week (about a month before the research takes place).
* Mediaedge:cia works out the TV ratings of all the commercials on the list.
* Any commercials that have had enough exposure (usually about 40 spots a week) are then sent to TNS and researched online among 1000 16- to 64-year-olds in Great Britain who read a brief description of each ad before confirming whether or not they have seen it.
* Marketing puts the information in tabular form and prints the top 20.
* The Adwatch of the Year table scores a brand's total mentions across the year ranked by a value-added point score. Every number-one position during the year scored 20 points, a number-two position 19, a number-three 18, down to a score of one point for a number-20 mention. These points are then added up to give an annual score.