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Brand Strategy Most Effective Ads of the Month System1

A train company made the UK's most liked ad in June


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

July 12, 2023 | 7 min read

Jon Evans at System1 reveals which ads most resonated with the British people in June.

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The top ad, an Enid Blyton adaptation / adam&eveDDB

Each month, hundreds of new TV ads launch in the UK. Marketing research and effectiveness company System1 analyzes the latest creative to test which spots resonated most with the public. System1 chief marketing officer Jon Evans, explains that humorous ads are still among the most popular ones.

How it works

System1 tests ads on measures that predict long-term brand growth (star rating) and short-term sales growth (spike rating) – each between one and six stars. These measures are validated using the independent Institute of Practitioners in Advertising database and against real sales data at a category level.

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What Evans says

It was a quiet month for UK ads but it saw consistency rewarded – our top three spots are one remastered ad from a decade ago and two new entries in long-running and reliably excellent campaigns. Cadbury’s 'Glass And A Half In Everyone' campaign is well-known across the industry; Great Western Railways’ ads fly more beneath the radar. Both deserve their high scores with Test Your Ad audiences, who are in a sunny mood with travel ads and summer offers doing well.

5. Visit Malta 'Scuba Diving' – 4.5-Stars

Report here.

Unusually dynamic direction and interesting camera angles raise Visit Malta’s campaign above the average travel ad and put it firmly in 4-Star territory. A poor Brand Fluency score underlines one of the issues with travel advertising though – the cues that make viewers happy (sun, sea and scenery) aren’t easily linked to a specific destination. Hopefully, Visit Malta can keep its refreshing visual approach while improving brand recognition.

4. Aldi 'Super 6' – 4.5-Stars

Report here.

10-second promotional ads don’t normally score well on long-term Star Rating, because the long term isn’t the point. But Aldi is good at them, and shows that you can put across a simple promotional message and make people smile at the same time. Here it’s simply the arrangement of the visual display and a touch of Latin music that transmit the positive vibes and give a basic money-saver ad some zing.

3. Ribena 'Bursting Berries' – 4.6-Stars

Report here.

Ribena celebrates its 85th anniversary by digging this gem up from the vaults. Originally run in 2011, the 'Berries' ad shows bouncing animated berries in an idyllic country landscape, singing a Ribena-fied version of 'In The Summertime'. The brand has remastered it and added a new endcap to bring the messaging up to date, but the body of the commercial is the same – and it still scores an impressive 4.6-Stars. A strong sense of place, a nostalgic tune with bespoke lyrics and lots of brand cues account for the high score, and in the bigger picture it’s more proof that smart brands are happy to reuse brilliant old assets as well as develop great new ones.

2. Cadbury 'Speakerphone' – 4.7-Stars

Report here.

The latest in Cadbury’s wonderful slice-of-life films focuses on a Dad with first-day nerves at the start of his new job, and a speakerphone chat with his son (who’s bought him a certain purple-packaged present). The ad’s a little more downbeat than some entries in the campaign, with a higher level of sadness midway through, though it’s resolved by the gift reveal. Not the strongest entry in the campaign, but that just shows how powerful and distinctive the 'Glass And A Half In Everyone' work has been overall. For most brands, 4.7-Stars would be a record-breaker.

1. Great Western Railway 'Five Get There First' – 4.7-Stars

Report here.

Great Western Railway’s Famous Five-style animated campaign is another which has shown impressive consistency over time and now pulls in high scores every time a new ad is released. The campaign is a mini-masterclass in right-brained advertising with humor, storytelling, a distinctive style, nostalgic references and a really strong sense of place. It’s also found a way here to put across its message – for a summer mini-break, you’re better off taking the train and avoiding British roads – with style and wit, As a long-running campaign in a slightly niche sector, GWR’s ads don’t seem to get the industry praise and recognition they deserve – but they’re a deserving chart-topper in this month’s selection.

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