UK slips down advertising effectiveness league

Former number two player drops to seventh place, below New Zealand and Russia.

Aldi: highest-placed UK campaign in this year's Warc Effectiveness 100 ranking
Aldi: highest-placed UK campaign in this year's Warc Effectiveness 100 ranking

The UK marketing industry is losing its world-leading position in advertising effectiveness despite holding its ground on creativity, according to Warc’s latest rankings.

Between 2014, when the Warc Effectiveness report debuted, and 2019, the UK consistently occupied the second spot in the country ranking for the most awarded campaigns around the world.

However, it placed third in 2020, fourth in 2021 and now seventh in the 2022 ranking.

In contrast, it has retained second place in the Creativity rankings every year since 2018. Both Creativity and Effectiveness are consistently led by the USA.

In Effectiveness this year no UK effort made the top 10 individual campaigns. The highest-placed example was McCann Manchester and UM Manchester’s paper 2010-2019: How taking an alternative path took Aldi from shame to pride, which claimed 11th spot.

This worsening showing is only partly mitigated by the absence of the homegrown IPA Effectiveness Awards from this year’s Warc ranking – due to the awards being held every two years (in 2020 and coming up later this year). The 2021 APG Awards were included.

“The IPA Effectiveness year off is not enough on its own to explain the UK’s performance,” Warc’s senior vice-president of content David Tiltman told Campaign.

“In global effectiveness shows, the UK’s performance has been below what we’ve seen in previous years. For example, there were no UK winners at the 2021 Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lions, and only six winners across the whole Warc Awards for Effectiveness (which awarded 49 winners in total).

"That may be a short-term reflection of Covid-induced disruption of the UK agency market; it may also reflect a longer-term trend we’ve seen of increasing sophistication in other markets."

The above trend is evidenced in the following table, which presents the top 10 most awarded countries for effectiveness in 2022 with a comparison of their scores in 2022 and 2018. China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates stand out for their improvement.

Rank in 2022

CountryPoints in 2022Country's points in 2018
1USA

1649.3

3360.1

2China

997.2

251.1

3India

607.1

630.08

4Colombia

491.6

474.4

5New Zealand

460.2

531.8

6Russia

454.7

302.6

7United Kingdom

440.2

1478.3

8Australia

403.5

949.9

9United Arab Emirates

389.5

188.9

10Canada

377.2

456.3

Apart from McCann Manchester, four UK agencies feature in this year’s 100 most effective campaigns:

  • #26: "#wombstories", for Bodyform/Libresse/Libra by AMV BBDO London
  • #28: "Setting a new course for growth", for Maersk Denmark by Havas Worldwide London
  • #44: "Dirt for good", for Persil by MullenLowe London
  • #75: "Raising profiles", for The Big Issue / LinkedIn by FCB Inferno London
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