UM Canada is the sole Canadian agency listed on the WARC Effective 100, the annual ranking of the world’s leading campaigns, agencies and clients around marketing effectiveness. It is the last of three WARC rankings, following the Creative 100 and Media 100.
The annual ranking is based on the most important global and regional award shows for effectiveness for 2019, including the Effies, the Cannes Lions’ creative effectiveness and creative strategy categories, the IPA Effectiveness Awards, the WARC Awards, and regional and local market Effies competitions.
UM placed eighth on the list of the top 10 most awarded media agencies for effectiveness, a list topped by Omnicom’s Hearts & Science New York, followed by PHD Chicago, Mindshare Istanbul and OMD New York.
“Driving business momentum and sales for our clients is something we’ve always talked about, so it’s really gratifying to be recognized for an effectiveness award,” says Richard Fofana, vice-president of strategy for UM in Toronto. “We really challenge our people to not just think of themselves as media planners and investment managers, but to think of themselves as business partners.”
The past year has seen UM honoured for its strategy and effectiveness work on campaigns including the launch of Oh! Henry’s 4:25 bar (which Fofana calls a “big lifter” for the agency in terms of global recognition), Tim Hortons’ “The Away Game”, and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s “Endangered Species.”
“We’ve always been really focused on being our clients’ marketing partners and I think that’s paying off,” says Fofana, noting that the agency has won 15 pieces of business in the past year. “I think the focus on effectiveness and strategy, in addition to innovation and creativity, is working for us.”
Hearts & Science jumped from 21 last year, largely on the basis of work for Procter & Gamble and A&T, including contributing the top-ranked effectiveness campaign, “It’s a Tide Ad.”
Canada failed to crack the top 10 country rankings, which were topped by the U.S. and followed by India, the U.K. (which dropped from second for the first time since the Effective 100 ranking began in 2014) and China. The United Arab Emirates is the biggest move, rising from 29 to fifth spot.
U.S. brands (Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Yum! Brands and PepsiCo) occupied five of the top 10 positions in the advertiser rankings, although Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever topped the rankings for the third year in a row.
The most effective campaign of 2019, according to WARC, was Saatchi & Saatchi New York/Hearts & Science New York/MKTG’s “It’s a Tide Ad,” for the Procter & Gamble laundry detergent.
The campaign, which saw Tide “hijack” other Super Bowl commercials by proposing that if they featured clean clothes it must be a Tide ad, led to a 35% increase in Tide sales within two weeks, and a more than $75 million increase in annual sales.
In second place is “Oyster Kanji Dictation” for Hiroshima Tourism by I*S BBDO Tokyo/BBDO J West Hiroshima, which increased oyster consumption through a workbook that educated citizens about the seafood product.
National Safety Council’s “Prescribed to Death,” a campaign developed by Energy BBDO Chicago/PHD Chicago to raise awareness about the growing epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses in the U.S. placed third.
Amy Rogers, WARC’s managing editor of research and rankings, said that there was no single route to effectiveness, with the most-awarded campaigns ranking from Tide’s “big TV idea” to a real-world stunt by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and a data-driven initiative aimed at saving lives in rural India from the soap brand Lifebuoy. Dentsu Aegis Network’s MKTG New York ranked first among digital/specialist agencies on the basis of its work on the Tide campaign, followed by MRM/McCann Shanghai in second and Ayzenberg Los Angeles in third. It is the first appearance in the rankings for all three agencies.