Campaign50: Countdown of the 50 most effective celebrity campaigns (part 1)

What are the top 50 best celebrity ads of all time? In this five part series, Hamish Pringle and Roger Ingham reveal all.

50 most effective celebrity campaigns (part 1)

Celebrities are a product of the public's making and correspondingly also capture their imagination. It's little wonder that advertisers have been keen to harness their power in an attempt to improve their businesses, reputations and profits.

As part of Campaign's 50th anniversary, we asked Hamish Pringle, the author of Celebrity Sells, and Roger Ingham, from Data Alive Ltd and an IPA research consultant, to draw up a definitive list of the most effective use of celebrities in UK ads of all time. Here's numbers 50 to 40:

40 - Domino's Pizza, The Simpsons

2002, IPA Silver. Arena Media

Domino's became brand leaders in the pizza delivery market on a significantly smaller spend than Pizza Hut.

41 - One2One, John McCarthy, Kate Moss, and Ian Wright

1998, IPA Silver, BBH

An extra £199.3m revenue could be attributed to £36.7m adspend.

42 - Cadbury’s, Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves

1994, IPA Silver, BBH

Boost Advertising is estimated to have lifted sales by 55% over 3 years.

43 - Oxo, Mary Holland, then Lynda Bellingham

1992, IPA Silver, JWT

Evolving campaign over 40-plus years made celebrities of its leading actors.

44 - Croft Original, Jeeves & Wooster

1990, IPA Silver, Y&R London

1977-81 advanced from being a small brand of limited appeal to be the second largest in the Spanish sherry market. During the 1980s, it was the only brand to increase its market share substantially.

45 - Alliance & Leicester, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie

1992, IPA Silver, adam&eveDDB

The campaign generated £656m in short term sales and £554 million long term, making a total of £1,210m.

46 - Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Bob Carolgees

1984, IPA Silver, adam&eveDDB

Campaign successfully broadened appeal, introduced new users, and widened usage of the product, without devaluing the brand amongst core buyers.

47 - Whitegates, Raymond Baxter

1980, IPA Silver TBWA\Manchester

Two years after the launch Whitegates Estate Agency was the biggest domestic estate agency in Yorkshire with 15% of the market.

48 - The Mortgage Corporation, Barry Norman and John Lohr

1988, IPA Silver, adam&eveDDB

The business target of £0.75bn in two years had already been exceeded by the end of 1987.

49 - Coors Light, Jean Claude Van Damme

2016, IPA Bronze, VCCP, Zenith

The campaign delivered an estimated net profit return of £4.13 for every £1 invested

50 - Santander, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Rory McIlroy, and Jessica Ennis-Hill

2016, IPA Bronze, The Engine Group

The estimated net profit return from the activity was £2.22 for every £1 invested between March 2012 and March 2016.


IPA Effectiveness Case Histories 1980 – 2016. Effectiveness determined by grade of award covered – i.e. Grand Prix cases identified as being the most effective. Six Grand Prix (note all these cases are included in ‘Gold’ total); 31 Gold; 36 Silver; 24 Bronze. Total celebrity cases 91. Total award-winning cases 1350 i.e. 7%.

The top 50 ranking is based primarily on the level of award given to the case history. However, within the Grand Prix, Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories some subjective judgement has had to be applied.&nbsp. As the analyses have become more sophisticated, and the judging has become tougher, the recent cases have been put above older ones.

The level of Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI or ROI) takes precedence over other ‘softer’ measures of effectiveness.

The author agency names are as listed in the IPA EASE database, however there are several instances where the actual author’s name has been subsumed by takeover/merger e.g. Dare / Miles Calcraft Brigginshaw Duffy.

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