Marketing's Adwatch of the Year 2009

The Asda tap
The Asda tap

LONDON - In a year when supermarkets positioned themselves as consumers' most 'trusted allies' during the recession, it comes as no surprise that they dominate our Adwatch of the Year table of most-recalled TV advertisers.

The rankings, aggregated from the weekly Adwatch columns that appeared in Marketing in the year to October, show which brands and spots were most memorable to a panel of 1000 viewers.

Asda enjoyed the highest overall recall across the period, with 37 mentions and an overall score of 554 points. Morrisons, which took the top spot last year, had to settle for second place this time around.

The strategy behind Asda's TV ads, which were created by Fallon before the account moved to Saatchi & Saatchi in November, has been to reinforce the super-market's price and value message. Amid a difficult year for many, it has sought to offer reassurance based on its friendly staff and a demonstration of its price commitment.

Morrisons' position at the top of last year's table was underpinned by its campaign featuring Richard Hammond pushing a shopping trolley around to a catchy Take That soundtrack. DLKW has kept the Top Gear presenter at the centre of its strategy this year, reinforced by a selection of tactical price-promotion spots.

Tesco is the third-most-recalled advertiser for the second year running, following a 12-month period dominated by price-based advertising and the relaunch of its Clubcard. The latter was promoted using ads starring a points-obsessed couple played by Fay Ripley and Mark Addy.

Completing a supermarket sweep of the top five are Sainsbury's and Aldi, in fourth and fifth places respectively. Of the five, Tesco had the biggest TV spend of £39.1m, while Aldi, which rises from 18th place last year, spent a more modest £9.1m.

The biggest faller of the year is Marks & Spencer, which tumbles from fourth to 13th place. The top FMCG brand, mean-while, is Kellogg, which ranks seventh with 23 mentions and 276 points.

While retailers dominate the overall list of most-recalled advertisers, price-comparison and insurance brands emerge as the strongest performers when it comes to the top scores for individual ads in any week. takes top spot in this category, with its ad featuring people eulogising about the user-friendliness of its new website. Created by an in-house team, the spot was recalled by 78% of respondents in research conducted from 22-24 January.

Last year's top dog, Churchill, with its ad featuring 'Kim from Beckford' asking questions of the insurance brand's canine mascot, in a TV studio setting, dropped to second place. This year its ad, created by WCRS, in which Churchill helps Rolf Harris move house, achieved a recall score of 76% at the end of January.

The third-most-recalled ad in a single week was for, featuring the year's breakthrough brand ambassador, furry web mogul Aleksandr Orlov. In an outing from February, created by VCCP, the animated meerkat showed the difference between jingles for Compare the Market and Compare the Meerkat, in an ad recalled by 74% of respondents.

The creative agency with the most mentions in Adwatch of the Year is usually a close-run contest, but this year Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO is the runaway victor. Its clients received 72 Adwatch mentions across the year, with an average recall of 46%. McCann Erickson takes second place, while DLKW slips to third.

There is also a clear winner among media agencies, with Carat topping the  table with 110 mentions for its clients, at an average recall of 46%. Last year's leading performer MindShare slips to fourth place behind MediaCom and OMD.

Of course, being memorable does not mean an ad is loved. Both Churchill and also featured in Marketing's table of the most irritating ads earlier this year. To see if they are still winding up the British public, see Marketing's first issue of 2010, out on 13 January.

How it works

The information in this feature is based on Adwatch research conducted between November 2008 and October 2009 by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64.

This table of highest recall across the year 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 and a number three 18, down to one point for a number-20 placing.

For details of the survey, contact

Thanks to Gail Kemp for compiling the data.

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 mention.

2009 2008 Brand  Agency/TV Buyer Mentions Points  TV adspend Total adspend

(£m) (£m)
1 2 Asda Fallon London/Carat 37 554 38.43 96.78
2 1 Morrisons DLKW/Mediaedge:cia 42 527 27.67 65.06
3 3 Tesco The Red Brick Road/Initiative 34 504 39.14 114.62
4 6 Sainsbury's Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/PHD 33 395 34.54 64.55
5 18= Aldi McCann Erickson Manchester/Universal McCann Manchester 24 330 9.08 15.76
6 - B&Q JWT London, Rapier/ZenithOptimedia 23 302 18.27 39.42
7 5 Kellogg JWT London, Leo Burnett, Cheetham Bell JWT/MindShare 23 276 57.19 80.26
8 8 McDonald's Leo Burnett/OMD UK 19 242 21.35 40.93
9 7 Argos CHI & Partners/MindShare 18 238 23.76 50.09
10 12 Sky WCRS, Brothers & Sisters, Digital & Direct/MediaCom 14 208 25.47 147.86
11 14 Wordley Productions, Farm Communications, in-house/PHD, MNC 10 173 20.04 23.23
12 11 L'OrŽal McCann Erickson/ZenithOptimedia 16 169 55.92 88.18
13 4 Marks & Spencer RKCR Y&R/Walker Media 10 152 16.82 43.23
14 10 DFS Uber/Brilliant Media 8 150 31.87 98.17
15 - DCH, Space City/MediaCom North 9 148 16.03 22.54
16 - Somerfield Rapp/Rapp Media 27 139 15.26 20.08
17 13 KFC Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Duke/Walker Media 13 136 13.69 21.75
18 - Biscuit/Concord, Walker Media 8 132 3.89 4.27
19 15 Danone RKCR Y&R/Mediaedge:cia 12 126 18.94 22.7
20 - T-Mobile Saatchi & Saatchi/MediaCom 10 120 14.08 58.6

AMV BBDO, McCann Erickson and DLKW top agencies in Marketing's Adwatch of the Year 2009

Top 10 ads with the highest recall in a single week in Adwatch 2009

Carat, Mediacom and OMD top media agencies in Marketing's Adwatch of the Year 2009



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