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Creative Ad of the Day System1

Find out what the UK public’s most-liked TV ads were in May


By John Glenday | Reporter

June 2, 2022 | 5 min read

Ad-ranking database System1 has shared its highest-ranked UK TV ads from May. Jon Evans, chief marketing officer at System1, explains how the ad industry’s darlings aren’t always the most effective work in the eyes of the Great British public.

Mr Kipling

Mr Kipling ranked in the UK public’s most-liked TV ads in May


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 [the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising] database and also against real sales data at a category level.

The star rating captures the emotional response to an ad. Only 1% of ads on the system score five stars. A one-star ad will have zero effect on brand growth, while a five-star ad will have an exceptional impact (up to three points of market share gain, depending on investment).

May’s top ads

5) LloydsPharmacy: Here For More

Star rating: 3.9

Lloyds Pharmacy

A rare brand ad from the pharmacy firm, this is designed to showcase the range of services LloydsPharmacy offers – including its fast-growing online business. The execution is simple but effective, with a likable narrator and lots of moments of human connection. Implying that all the customers are part of one community makes a large national brand feel intimate and local.

Report here.

4) M&S: Fresh Market Update

Star rating: 4.1

M&S has hit a strong run of form with these cooking-show-style ads showing off M&S Food ingredients. The ads sit on the boundary between ad and content, and regularly score well thanks to the human connection between chef and host – as well as M&S’s more familiar ‘food porn’ approach.

They feel more honest and natural than most ads. Also note the excellent use of Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross as a bookend, signaling to viewers that they’re entering M&S’s world and are in for a pleasant experience.

Report here.

3) Mr Kipling: Piano

Star rating: 4.6

Mr Kipling’s central idea here is drawing joy from the little things in life – like shared family moments, or small but delicious cakes. A father and daughter share a moment over the piano, playing Blink-182’s All The Small Things – a surprising choice, but one that drives a lot of happiness among viewers. It’s a change in style for the cake brand, but one that works very well.

Report here.

2) McCain: Little Moments

Star rating: 4.8

Max, an autistic nine-year-old, is the narrator and star of McCain’s new ad for its Family Fund charity, which helps families with disabled or seriously ill offspring afford specialist equipment. In this case it’s an oven that helps Max and his brother join in their favorite activity – cooking. Naturally, they’re munching McCain chips. It’s a warm ad that gets the often tricky balance of charity and commerce just right – the brand’s help for Max and his family drives positive emotion, but there are plenty of oven chips in shot too.

Report here.

1) Cadbury: For Grown Ups

Star rating: 5.3


A neat little role reversal drives Cadbury’s new ad for its Darkmilk Ice Cream product. A man is clearing up his shed – out comes his daughter with an ice-cream as a reward for tidying up (“and let’s hope it stays that way,” she finishes). It’s a shift in tone for Darkmilk, which has previously justified its ‘for grown ups’ positioning by using nostalgia, and it pays off with our only five-star ad this month. The idea of blurring adult and kid roles isn’t a new one – Haribo uses it all the time – but Cadbury handles it with subtlety and in the naturalistic, low-key style that’s made its recent ads so effective.

Report here.

Creative Ad of the Day System1

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