System1 and ITV have released what they call the top-performing UK ads of 2022, ranked using System1’s Test Your Ad platform, which measures viewers’ second-by-second emotional responses to a database of nearly 25,000 ads aired in the UK.
Every ad in the Top 50 scored 5-Stars on System1’s scale from 1 to 5.9-Stars, with the average rating being 5.4-Stars. Typically, only 1% of ads get the top 5-Star score. 21 of the Top 50 ads centred on Christmas. By comparison, just two Christmas ads – from Aldi and Coca-Cola – scored 5-Stars in 2021.
“This past year was an exceptional one for effectiveness, especially during the festive season,” says Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer, System1. “We’re seeing more brands and agencies bring their best creative ideas forward, resulting in ads that deliver on long-term brand building.”
The Top 10 are:
1/Asda – Have your Elf a Merry Christmas – 5.9-Stars
2/Disney+ – All these + more streaming this Christmas – 5.9-Stars
3/Amazon – Joy is Made – 5.9-Stars
4/Aldi – Christmas advert 2022 – 5.9-Stars
5/Waitrose – Food to Feel Good About – 5.9-Stars
6/M&S – Gifts that Give – 5.9-Stars
7/Samsung – Curious Cats – 5.8-Stars
8/Lindt – Christmas Time to Melt – 5.8-Stars
9/Lego – Build a Playful Holiday – 5.8-Stars
10/Nintendo – Nintendo Switch Lite – 5.7-Stars
The Top 10 category leaders are:
1/Asda – Retail
2/Disney+ – Streaming and TV
3/Samsung – Phones
4/Lindt – Confectionary and Chocolate
5/Nintendo – Video Gaming
6/Kellogg’s – Cereals
7/The National Lottery – Casinos and Lotteries
8/Go Türkiye – Travel and Holidays
9/McDonalds – Fast Food and Coffee Shops
10/Bonne Maman – Ice Cream and Desserts
As well as Christmas, other themes included themes from the Top 50, included:
*Emotional Engagement is Up – 2022 saw a dramatic increase in the number of 5-Star ads compared to 2021 and 2020, demonstrating emotional storytelling.
*A Return to Normal – While the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over, many consumers are thinking about travel again. A wave of holiday ads made the Top 50, putting sun, sea and scenery back on the agenda.
*Cultural References – a rise in ads which reference or borrow iconic actors or characters, like Barbour’s annual use of Paddington Bear in its Christmas ad.
*Moments of Indulgence – Ads for confectionery and other treats score well every year since brands in those sectors have a naturally high level of emotional appeal. In 2022, top confectionery ads followed a particular formula – they zoom in on a single moment of indulgent, sensual pleasure created by the product, as in strong-scoring Waitrose ad.
*Song and Dance – from the office worker dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen in Wrigley’s ad to the conga line in M&S’ Christmas ad to the excitable kids in Matalan’s back-to-school ads.
ITV director of client strategy and planning Kate Waters says: “It’s encouraging to see more brands creating more emotionally engaging ads. But an interesting lesson from this year’s top 50 is the importance of not resting on your creative laurels – relative advantage versus your competitors is what really matters and that’s where brilliant creativity and craft can make the difference.
The full list is here.