News & events

Christmas competition winnner: Wilkinson Sword

Newsworks’ data insight manager Zainab Pirzada takes a close look at this year’s most popular ad.

2020 has been a strange year. From social distancing to self-isolating, the pandemic has engrossed itself in every aspect of our lives: how we work, how we live, how we play – another zoom pub quiz anyone?

It’s been tough, but they do say that adversity fosters creativity. While the nation might have ran out of loo roll, there has been no shortage of truly brilliant and creative ads in news brands.

To get into the festive spirit, Newsworks ran a Christmas competition, asking the public to vote for their favourite ad of 2020. The end-of-year round-up included favourites such as KFC and Land Rover, and also newcomers like Oatly.

With majority of the votes, the winner was Wilkinson Sword! The British shaving brand delivered quick-witted, contextually relevant messages surrounding the US election, in real time.

I took a look at what makes this ad so successful. Evidence shows that print effectiveness is growing over time and by using news brands, Wilkinson Sword were able to reach a large-scale audience in a trustworthy environment, while encouraging conversation and generating a positive sentiment.

The brand’s win shows that the strength of the creative has a major part to play, and that a great idea in a small space can easily outperform a weaker idea in a big space. With 27% of the winning votes, it wasn’t even a close shave!

Furthermore, our work with RAMetrics highlights that print ad recall has improved significantly over the past decade, by an impressive 67% between 2009/10 and 2019/2020, from 46% to 77%.

Similarly, paying close attention to news brand ads has more than doubled, from 23% to 49% and readers are also 147% more likely to have an emotional reaction. Action metrics have improved too, visits to the advertiser are up by 75% and to its website by 125%, with purchase intent more than tripling over the decade, from 7% to 22%.

Join us every week as we take a look at the most creative and stand out ads.


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