Modern Marketing Media Planning and Buying Most Effective Ads of the Month

Quaker Oats’ reinvention tops System1’s 5 most effective UK ads of October


By John McCarthy | Media editor

November 3, 2021 | 5 min read

The Drum has scoured System1’s database (which includes most UK TV ads) to learn what the best work was in October, weighed using a complex scoring algorithm and real audience feedback. Jon Evans, chief marketing officer at System1, is on a journey to dispel the murky notion of a turkey in adland – the industry’s darlings aren’t always the most effective work in the eyes of the Great British public.

Quaker Oats

Quaker Oats’ ad tops the list with five stars


System1 tests ads on measures that predict long-term brand growth (Star Rating) and short-term sales growth (Spike Rating) – each between one and five stars. These measures are validated using the independent IPA database and also against real sales data at a category level.

The Star Rating captures the emotional response to an ad – viewers are asked what they felt about it and how strongly. Only 1% of ads on the system score five stars. A one-star ad will have zero effect on brand growth, meanwhile a five-star ad will have an exceptional impact (up to three points of market share gain, depending on investment). It’s important to score well – and it’s rarely the work you think that comes on top.

Evans talks us through the top five performing ads in the UK in October.

October’s top ads

5) Dr Pepper: Fansville

Star rating: 4.2

This is the fourth year of Dr Pepper’s Fansville campaign in the US – short ads set among the football-mad denizens of a US college town (the team shares its colors with the soft drink pack, naturally). It’s also the first time a Fansville ad has hit four stars, a sign people are starting to know and love the campaign’s recurring characters and somewhat sardonic humor.

4) Google x Samsung: The future is unfolding

Star rating: 4.3

This latest ad for the Google x Samsung Z Fold 3 focuses on the many uses of the folding-phone technology, shifting fluidly between characters and scenes. The phones are still so new-looking you can understand why Samsung keeps the focus on the tech, but it’s notable how the most human scenes – like the tie-tying lesson at the start – are where viewer happiness picks up fastest.

3) Google: Life of Photos on Pixel 6

Star rating: 4.2

Google launches its Pixel 6 smartphone with a very human-focused ad, a monologue by a new father excited to be taking the first photograph of his baby son. The four-star result is well above the norm for the category, which tends to try and wow viewers with features. In that context, Google’s more personal and feel-good approach stands out.

2) Lego: Let’s get the world ready for girls

Star rating: 4

The newest ad in Lego’s ‘Rebuild The World’ series is the first this month with a hint of that much-discussed topic Brand Purpose. Don’t get girls ready for the world, rather get the world ready for girls, is the sweeping idea. You can’t accuse Lego of ignoring its product for a social message, though, as all the girls in the ad are happily playing with the iconic toy, leaving nobody in any doubt who this is for.

1) Quaker Oats: The Fire Inside

Star rating: 5

PepsiCo’s venerable porridge brand pulls off a sly reinvention here. It’s an ad reaffirming its position as your fuel for the day ahead, but updating it to a very modern, active lifestyle. The ad won audiences over with its elegant shift in tone midway – from aggression in the gym to smiles and warmth in the classroom.

Come back in next month to learn (most likely) what the best performing Christmas ads are.

Modern Marketing Media Planning and Buying Most Effective Ads of the Month

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