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Leaning into the 'allure of autumn': System1's 5 most-liked UK ads of September


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

September 29, 2023 | 6 min read

System1 reveals which ads most resonated with the British people in September.


Bake Off takes the top spot

Each month, hundreds of new TV ads launch in the UK. Marketing research and effectiveness company System1 analyzed the latest spots to see what resonated most with the public. It also predicts long-term brand growth (star rating) and short-term sales growth (spike rating). That’s then validated against IPA data and sales data. You’ll see all of that converted into a star rating. The higher, the better.

System1 chief marketing officer Jon Evans explains: “This month’s standout ads are topping the charts with a delightful mix of elements. They bring the allure of Autumn with Channel 4’s Bake Off trailer, the indulgence of Kinder chocolate and Walkers crisps, and heartwarming tales of adorable dogs finding their forever homes. These ads are not just captivating but also have the potential to contend for the highest scores of 2023.”

5. Warburton’s ‘Mad About the Bread’ - 4.5-Stars

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“Warburton’s ability to attract Hollywood stars like Samuel L. Jackson may be due to its consistently excellent ads. It follows a simple strategy of creating occasional blockbuster ads featuring famous celebrities playing exaggerated versions of themselves. This approach entertains the audience and garners attention. The latest ad, featuring Jackson as Jonathan Warburton, blends cultural references and humor, earning a strong 4.5-star rating. This long-term strategy has made Warburtons a leading bread advertiser, demonstrating its ongoing effectiveness and appeal to viewers and celebrities alike.”

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4. Walkers’ Britain’s most loved crisps’ – 4.7-Stars

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“Walkers, known for its iconic Gary Lineker campaigns, has recently scored big with its snack ads. Four of Test Your Ad’s top five snack ads, including one for sister brand Doritos, are Walkers’ creations from the last three years. Their latest commercial with agency VCCP, ‘We love potatoes so that you can love Walkers,’ highlights the brand’s quirky appeal and how Britons enjoy their crisps. The ad, featuring real potato farmers, earns a stellar 4.7-star Rating for long-term effectiveness and exceptional scores for short-term spike and brand fluency. Walker’s enduring ad success maintains its market dominance.”

3. Battersea Dogs & Cats ‘Show your love for rescue this September’ – 5.2-Stars

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“Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, a charity focused on rescue animals, consistently garners 5-star Ratings from viewers due to their positive approach. Its ‘Wear Blue for Rescue’ campaign, the ninth to earn this distinction, features adorable rescue puppies and kittens. Its clear message of supporting rescue animals and combating prejudice against them is what sets it apart. It also evolves its campaigns, such as ‘Our Favourite Breed Is Rescue,’ and remixes effective ads to keep its content fresh. Battersea is a standout in the charity sector for its impactful approach.”

2. Kinder ‘What matters when you’re little, matters forever’ – 5.4-Stars

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“Kinder’s latest ad taps into the heartwarming ‘watch a kid grow up’ narrative, showcasing a tradition of enjoying their treats across generations. Despite this common storytelling trope, Kinder’s rendition with Havas shines with a 5.4-star Rating, marking its first 5-star achievement. The ad achieves exceptional scores in long-term star rating, short-term spike rating, and brand fluency, with 99% brand recognition within seconds. Kinder’s success stems from aligning the ad with their brand concept, ‘A Little, A Lot,’ emphasizing small yet meaningful moments shared across generations.”

1. Channel 4 ‘The Great British Bake Off Trailer’ – 5.9-Stars

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Channel 4’s Bake Off trailer, with its ingenious mix of humor, familiar sounds, and endearing animated fruits and cake ingredients, not only charms viewers but also has the potential to contend for the top-scoring ad of 2023. The 60-second trailer accompanies Belinda Carlisle’s classic song ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ and carries the tagline ‘Everyone’s excited, even them.’ It captures the familiar emotions of joy and anticipation that the annual Bake Off stirs in viewers, building excitement for the upcoming September season.”

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