The World Advertising Research Center (Warc) has issued its annual rankings of the most effective marketing campaigns and the agencies and advertisers driving effective results.
Ranked number one, "Penny the Pirate" developed by Saatchi & Saatchi and OMD for Australian optical chain OPSM combined traditional and digital media, producing an engaging printed book and app to highlight vision problems in children. More than 126,000 parents bought the reading book, the number of eye tests conducted by OPSM increased by 22.6% year-on-year, and its sales also grew by more than one-fifth (22.4%).
The Warc analysis found that 55% of the world’s most impactful campaigns are digital-led. Eleven of the 20 top-ranked campaigns led with digital channels. Notable uses of digital included the ‘Live Test Series’ (ranked fifth) by Volvo Trucks -- its YouTube video views of over 100m reached far beyond the brand’s niche target audience of truck drivers and resulted in a 23% growth in sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 -- and "If We Made It" (ranked sixth) by Newcastle Brown Ale, which used online video to parody the advertising hype around the Super Bowl, increasing volume sales by over 20%.
The organization also found that more brands are using social activism effectively to drive business, a concept pioneered by Unilever-owned brand Dove over the past decade. Increasingly, Warc found, marketers around the world have learned that taking a strong, socially progressive stand can help drive business impact. It cited several of this year’s top-ranked campaigns including "#LikeAGirl" (second), "Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables" (fourth), "I Will What I Want" (10th), "Touch the Pickle" (12th) and "This Girl Can" (20th).
Three of the top-five ranked creative agencies were U.S.-based. Taking the top spot was MullenLowe Lintas Group followed by Droga5 New York, Ogilvy & Mather New York, Leo Burnett Chicago and AMV BBDO.
The top five media shops were: Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago; SMG New York, OMD Sydney, PHD London and OMD New York. The top five digital agencies were Arc Chicago, The Marketing Store, Critical Mass, Marketing Arm and Geometry Global Bogota.
BBDO was the top-ranked agency network and WPP was first in the holding company category. Coca-Cola was the top brand and Procter & Gamble repeated as the top advertiser.
The Warc 100 rankings are based on performance in effectiveness and strategy awards around the world, and are built on a rigorous methodology developed in consultation with King's College London.
More on the awards can be found here.