The 118 118 runners top Ads That Make News survey

LONDON - WCRS seems to have hardly put a foot wrong in the battle to succeed 192 and its 118 118 ads for The Number have again come out on top in the latest Ads That Make News survey.

August saw the 118 118 ads, featuring the two Seventies-style long-distance runners, beat out the latest Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO spot for Walkers Crisps in the survey, which measures the most famous ads of the moment.

The 118 118 ads seem to have easily risen above the clutter, beating rivals such as 11 88 88 and BT's own replacement service BT Directories 118 500, which both failed to make the top 10.

The 118 118 has gained widespread word-of-mouth and more column inches with the Seventies vests worn by the two runners gaining a cult status in the summer as they went on sale in Cancer Research charity stores.

The latest Walkers ad featured Gary Lineker marrying Granny Kumar, played by Meera Syal, from the BBC show 'The Kumars at No 42' to promote the new range of Great British Takeaways flavours from Walkers, including chicken tikka masala and Chinese spare rib flavours.

The 'Match Of The Day' host Lineker, who has already been attacked as advertising's greediest star, made more headlines last month as he came under fire, this time for saying that it was the fault of parents that kids were overweight, not fatty foods.

"The issue is that many people are simply not exercising. We have to fight to get our kids away from the television or their videogames, and that is down to parents. A packet of crisps isn't going to do them any harm."

Sharing third place in the Ads That Make News survey was Jamie Oliver's latest for Sainsbury, which came as "mockney" chef took another step in his transformation from chef to brand with the launch of a range of cookware in the US.

The swingers were back in town in third place as well, with Saatchi & Saatchi's ad for Toyota Corolla, which escaped an ITC ban despite 216 complaints from viewers, many of whom claimed it made fun of fat people.

Also in third was Virgin Mobile’s "The devil makes work for idle thumbs" campaign as it continues to gun for rival Orange. The latest ads were rapped by the Independent Television Commission, which ruled that the Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R's "hospital" spot showing pyjama-clad patients engaged in activities such as stapling a nurse's dress to a table could be construed as mocking people with mental-health problems.

Five campaigns shared sixth place, including the return of the classic Smash Martians, who are back in the news after licensing firm KDBC Media said it hoped to translate their popularity as ambassadors for instant mashed potato products into merchandising opportunities.

Victoria Beckham's endorsement of American clothing label Roca Wear was also in fifth, as was M&C Saatchi for the Foster's ad featuring a beheaded bungee jumper.

The spot escaped an ITC ban, despite more than 184 calls to complain that the ad was not suitable for children, while some people were so taken in by the shaky camera style film that they thought it was real.

Martin Loat, director of Propeller Communications, commented: "The 118 118 runners are a perfect example of how an ad campaign can be extended outside of the advertising and into ambient and editorial media. The paid-for ads cleverly created two popular characters, who are now recognisable as brand ambassadors wherever they pop up."

The top 10 ads for August

1 The Number 118 188 runners

2 Walkers Crisps - Gary Lineker

3= Virgin Mobile Anti-Orange campaign

3= Toyota Corolla

3= Sainsbury's - Jamie Oliver

6= Bacardi

6= Roca Wear

6= Smash Martians

6= Thompson Holidays

6= Fosters - Bungee

The Ads That Make News survey is produced by Propeller Communications and Durrants Media Monitoring in association with Brand Republic.

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