P&G overtakes Unilever to top list of most effective global advertisers

Procter & Gamble has overtaken Unilever to take the title of the most effective global advertiser while “breakthrough brands” including Ikea, Heineken and Jaguar owner Tata Group climbed up the rankings.


The report, the Warc 100, found that P&G was the most effective advertiser with nine campaigns in the top 100. These include #LikeAGirl by Leo Burnett for its Always brand, ‘Touch the Pickle’ by BBDO for Whisper and Old Spice’s ‘Smellcome to manhood’, from Wieden+Kennedy. The Warc 100 is a ranking of the world’s best marketing campaigns and companies according to business impact.

While Unilever remains a “very effective advertiser”, it saw its position slip from first in 2015 to second this year with just three campaigns in the top 100. Warc says that while both companies have been driving efficiency through cuts to non-working media and a shift to digital, the results suggest this might be having a negative impact at Unilever.

“Procter & Gamble’s strong performance in the current Warc 100 reflects the company’s continuing ability to develop powerful advertising that gets people talking. While Unilever remains a very effective advertiser, the latest results raise questions about the potential impact of cost cuts on the development of breakthrough marketing ideas,” says the report.

Breakthrough advertisers

Both Ikea and Heineken had “breakthrough years”, appearing in the top 10 for the first time. Warc credited their global scale and consistent success across international markets, as well as the broad brand portfolio at Heineken, for the strong performance.

Rank Advertiser Points
1 Procter & Gamble 594.3
2 Unilever 477.5
3 The Coca-Cola Company 454.9
4 Heineken 287.6
5 PepsiCo 231.1
6 McDonald’s 207.7
7 Volkswagen Group 207.2
8 Mondelez International 193.5
9 Tata Group 177.5
10 Luxottica 151

David Lette, Heineken brand director, says the fact that Heineken has experienced double-digit growth in the UK since 2012 shows that its marketing focus on pushing its premium credentials is working.

“We want people to enjoy Heineken at every touchpoint. This might be buying a limited edition bottle at their local supermarket or enjoying a cold pint, served extra cold, in their favourite pub, or perhaps engaging with the brand by tweeting with a Heineken football legend while watching a gripping Champions League match,” he explains.

“2015 was a great year for the brand, with our sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup as a centre piece of the activities. We were also able to activate our long-term partnership with the Bond franchise, with the release of Spectre providing a successful close to the year.”

India’s Tata Group was one of the biggest risers with its ranking going from 32nd in 2014 to ninth in the latest list. Its most successful campaign – Jaguar’s ‘British Villains’ from agency Spark44 – came 14th and showed that success outside a company’s home market is key to success.

The top campaigns

Despite the success of these international brands, it was actually ‘Penny the Pirate’ developed by Saatchi and Saatchi and OMD for OPSM, the Australian optical chain, that was ranked as the number one campaign. The activity comprised of a printed book and app that aimed to highlight vision problems in children.

More than 126,000 parents bought the book and the number of eye tests booked increased by 22.6% year on year. Sales were also up by more than a fifth (22.4%).

Rank Campaign Title Brand Points
1 Penny the Pirate OPSM 138.6
2 #LikeAGirl Always 126.3
3 Project Architeuthis America’s Navy 81.2
4 Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Intermarché 69.9
5 Live Test Series Volvo 68.3
6 If We Made It Newcastle Brown Ale 66.4
7 This Is Wholesome Honeymaid 59.9
8 Share a Coke Coca-Cola 59.5
9 Kan Khajura Tesan Hindustan Unilever 58.2
10 I Will What I Want Under Armour 53.5

The UK retains its second place in terms of country with campaigns including Three’s ‘Holiday Spam, created by Wieden+Kennedy, and ‘This Girl Can’ by FCB Inferno for Sport England both in the top 20.

To compile the list, Warc tracked advertising competitions around the world, all of which required entrants to show the business impact of a campaign not just creativity. It analysed more than 2,000 winners in 79 different effectiveness and strategy competitions, assigning points based on prizes won and weighted by how rigorous and prestigious the award is, determined via results from a poll of more than 100 senior strategists. The methodology was developed in consultation with King’s College London.


The entry deadline for the Marketing Week Awards is the 2nd March. Click here to find out more about the awards, or enter now.


TV at 60

TV ads at 60: How they’ve changed and the most effective ads ever

Mindi Chahal

As it reaches its 60th birthday, UK TV advertising has evolved from being information-heavy to prioritising clever creative that triggers emotion and uses humour to entertain viewers. Targeted content that can transfer across different screens and marketing channels is also rising up the agenda, thanks to changing consumption habits and new technology for media buying. […]


    Leave a comment