Ariel ‘Share the Load’ is world's top-ranked campaign: Warc 100, 2017

WARC has announced the 2017 results of the WARC 100, an annual ranking of the world’s best marketing campaigns and companies according to their business impact. Procter & Gamble, Vodafone, BBDO Worldwide, adam&eveDDB and WPP are among the organisations at the top of this year’s rankings, which are based on performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions around the world. 

Now in its fourth year, the WARC 100 is built on a rigorous methodology, developed in consultation with Douglas West, Professor of Marketing at Kings College, London. 

The top-ranked campaign is the highly awarded ‘Share the Load’, developed by BBDO Mumbai and Mediacom Mumbai for Procter &Gamble’s Ariel detergent brand in India. The campaign film, in which men were encouraged to share the weight of household chores, was supported by campaign-specific packaging, and was spread across online, cinema and TVCs. As 1.57 million men pledged to ‘share the load’, Ariel more than doubled value and volume sales, which grew 106 per cent and 105 per cent, respectively. 

Ariel ‘Share the Load’ 

Ariel, the detergent brand from P&G, used a social campaign to engage with its Indian audience and increase brand awareness. Lagging behind its main competitor and its strong social message, Ariel needed to redefine its message beyond product performance and into social impact. 

Working on the deep-rooted view that Indian women should be in charge of household duties, Ariel devised a campaign that pushed for a social movement, where both men and women shared the weight of all household chores, by creating a campaign film as well as campaign-specific packaging. 

Key findings 

  1. Data-driven creative hits the top 10
    Two of the top ten campaigns this year are those that have seen success from the smart use of data to drive creative and media strategy. The Economist used a targeted programmatic display campaign to reach new prospects with humorous and accessible tagline ads. The campaign hit 50 per cent of target in nine days, with a return on investment of over 25:1. In sixth place, a big data campaign for Australian swimming pool builder Narellan Pools took a ‘moment marketing’ approach. Customers were targeted at the precise times they were most likely to buy a pool, with focused creative motivating purchase decisions. The campaign increased direct leads by 11 per cent and sales by 23 per cent year on year. At a time when the ad tech industry is under attack in some quarters, these campaigns show how, when used smartly, programmatic techniques can open up new creative and media opportunities. 
  1. There was a strong showing for stunt or event-based campaigns, as well as big-budget TV

Campaigns built around an event or stunt also ranked highly this year. ‘Rabbit Race’, a seasonal live event and stream involving rabbits racing for customers of Media Marktin Germany to win in-store prizes, was the fourth-ranked campaign of 2017. More than 21 million people watched the races, prompting the electronics retailer to make the stunt an annual event, with consumers spending on average €8.60 more than the previous Easter. The number-three campaign in the 2017 rankings was ‘Lucy the Robot’, a news-grabbing stunt in which Double Robotics, an American technology company, created a telepresence robot called Lucy to be first in line to buy a new iPhone 6s outside a Sydney Apple store. The stunt aimed to launch the company into the Australian market, and was covered in 4,000 news stories globally, resulting in more than 12,000 sales enquiries worth more than $44 million.

However, beating these two campaigns into the top two positions were Share the Load and John Lewis’ Christmas campaigns – both big-budget, big-idea, TV-led campaigns. There were plenty of other examples in the top 20 showing the power of TV-led work, including campaigns for Old Spice, Snickers, IKEA and Sainsbury’s. 

  1. Procter & Gamble retains its lead as No. 1 advertiser over Unilever

Procter & Gamble is for the second year in a row the top advertiser for 2017, though its lead over Unilever has decreased since last year. With five campaigns in the top 100 versus Unilever’s three, the success of campaigns for its Ariel, Always and Old Spice brands have cemented P&G’s position as No. 1. 

  1. Vodafone wins top brand as Coca-Cola and McDonalds drop from 1st and 2nd place for the first time

Vodafone has had an extremely consistent year in terms of award wins across campaigns and regions. With only two campaigns in the top 100, but multiple wins at 15 separate awards competitions, the brand accrued enough points to take it into the lead. 

For the first year since 2014, Coca-Cola and McDonalds do not occupy positions one and two in the brands ranking. Both have dropped down the rankings in a year when neither had a campaign in the top 100. 

New entries to the top 10 include UK department store John Lewis at No. 3, as a result of its series of highly effective Christmas campaigns; Dove, with its continued socially progressive stance; and Snickers, through campaigns including their big-budget TV campaign ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’. 

David Tiltman, Head of Content at WARC, commented, “This year’s WARC 100 reflects an industry in flux. It’s clear from the rankings that TV-led, ‘big idea’ advertising, when executed well, is still highly effective. But we’re seeing a range of alternative approaches also capable of generating business results – from data-driven ‘moment marketing’ to stunts or events designed to focus consumer attention. One of the big questions in the industry at the moment is whether these alternative approaches build brands and deliver results in the long term as well as at the time of the campaign.” 

What the winners say: 

Marc Pritchard, Global Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble: “We believe that advertising is a powerful force for growth and good, and we want to be the very best at it. We’ve had a focused effort to raise the bar on our creative quality and work with the best agency partners to deliver growth for our brands. It’s great to see the positive results of our efforts in rankings such as the WARC 100.” 

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP: “At a time when questions are being raised about the effectiveness of certain marketing channels, it is more important than ever that we focus on the power of creativity and ideas to deliver tangible business results for our clients. The WARC 100 ranking shows we are doing exactly that. My thanks and congratulations to everyone in the Group who contributed to this success.” 

Andrew Robertson, President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide: "BBDO is all about The Work, The Work,The Work. Great work that works great. The best results come from smart thinking that drives brilliant creativity. That’s why this ranking matters to us. This year we had the top ranked campaign in the world, four of the top ten individually ranked agencies, and were the number one network in the world – for the fourth consecutive year – all of which demonstrates the strength and depth of the network.” 

Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India: "We are thrilled that our #ShareTheLoad campaign for P&G Ariel is ranked the #1 campaign in the world. Ouch! That’s us pinching ourselves! To be recognised as creating the most effective campaign in the world, the campaign that impacted business results better than any other campaign – that’s monumental! We’re going to celebrate with our amazing P&G clients. Because we did this all together. We share the load. We share the win.” 

Kathy Ring, CEO, Starcom USA: “Starcom’s recognition in this year’s Warc 100 is truly a testament to our client-first approach. Our interdependent team of over 1300 people from across the U.S. have demonstrated our commitment, passion and dedication to our clients’ brands and business success and it is sincerely an honour to have this work recognised industry wide.” 

Top 10 Creative Agencies in the Warc 100, 2017 

Indian agencies have performed well in Warc 100, 2017, with three agencies featuring among the top 10 creative agencies. BBDO Mumbai was placed at No. 3 with 142.2 points. The agency was placed at No. 47 last year. However, MullenLowe Lintas Group Mumbai was bumped off the top spot that it had retained between 2015 and 2016, as the agency slipped to the fifth place. Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai improved its ranking from No. 16 last year to No. 7 in Warc 100, 2017. 

Three UK creative agencies made it into the top five this year, with adam&eveDDB topping the ranking, climbing 40 places as a result of their successful Christmas campaigns for John Lewis. 

Top 10 media agencies in the WARC 100, 2017 

Mediacom Mumbai was the sole agency from India to make it to the list of Top 10 media agencies in the WARC 100, 2017. The agency was placed at No. 6, up from No. 8 last year, securing 60.1 points. 

US agencies dominated the media agencies ranking, with Starcom New York continuing to plan effective campaigns for the likes of Snickers and Walmart. 


The WARC 100 is a ranking of advertising and marketing campaigns that have worked. WARC tracks advertising competitions around the world – all of which require entrants to show the business impact of a campaign, rather than solely recognizing the campaign’s creativity. 

WARC tracked more than 2,000 winners in more than 80 different effectiveness and strategy competitions to compile the rankings. WARC assigns points to these campaigns (and the brands and agencies behind them) based on the prizes they win in those competitions. Each competition is weighted based on how rigorous and prestigious it is – WARC determines this via results from a poll of more than 100 senior strategists in markets around the world. 

The rigorous methodology was developed in consultation with Professor Douglas West, Professor of Marketing at King’s College London. The methodology is applied consistently across all competitions tracked.



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