IPA Effectiveness Shortlist: What We Loved

Other ad awards may have the glamour, but for us, the IPA’s biennial Ad Effectiveness Awards are the classiest in the industry. Tying the awards to specific business impact and bottom line effects means the IPA awards have rigour to go with the creativity. And that creativity covers a genuinely wide field – from the cleverest examples of digital wizardry to broad-based, populist ads which put a smile on millions of faces.

This year’s 38 nominated campaigns are as impressive as ever – check out the whole list here. Our team put their heads together using insights from our suite of market research platforms and picked a few of the most intriguing nominations from a System1 perspective.


The AA’s “Singing Baby” – with a rockin’ tot moshing along to “Proud Mary” – isn’t a clever ad, or a sophisticated one, or an especially innovative one. Adam&EveDDB’s spot is a great, big, joyful ad for all the family, and proud of it (in our ad testing and brand testing it scored 5-Stars). But as the IPA entry makes clear, behind the scenes the AA is making a daring pivot, moving forward from carefully targeted campaigns to a broad-appeal campaign designed to build a brand. It’s the sort of campaign Binet and Field’s studies were written about. And it worked, helping the AA increase acquisition and retention and reduce price sensitivity.


Ribena’s delightfully quirky “So Ribenary” campaign has been running for three years now – its entertaining TV ad got a strong 3-Star result in our Ad Ratings testing. But it nets its IPA nomination on the strength of its cross-platform effectiveness: “TV, outdoor, an app, social and experiential”. Our own tests bear this out – this simple but highly attractive Ribena poster ad got a rare 5-Star rating in our out-of-home tests. Its big, colourful distinctive assets – the berries and the slogan – have stood the brand in good stead, and the IPA study details its return to growth despite a declining market for ready-to-drink products.


BBH called their IPA paper “A Rembrandt In The Attic”, perfectly capturing the attitudes of so many marketers towards the historical distinctive assets in their care. A long-nurtured asset can be discarded by a marketer in a day, but in the public memory it takes a long time to fade away. We’ve found that effect plenty of times in our own branding work. Cereal brand Weetabix were in a similar situation, with their slogan “Have you had your Weetabix?” still having strong brand associations years after the brand stopped using it. Brushed off and brought back to life, this strong asset helped Weetabix back to growth and £4.5m extra sales.


Our final pick is a slightly bittersweet one. The Suzuki brand’s “#SuzukiSaturdays” ads, made in collaboration with the Saturday Night Takeaway TV show and featuring hosts Ant and Dec giving Suzukis away to the public, were a huge success. The IPA shows how the campaign helped Suzuki become the fastest growing UK car brand two years in a row. And the ads dominate our initial rankings of the automotive sector in Ad Ratings, winning multiple 4-Star scores.

Sounds great – but since the IPA submission, this excellent campaign has been derailed. Ant, one of the stars, was arrested for drink-driving, and Suzuki pulled their successful campaign. It backs up one of the major issues with using “hired devices” – celebrities or other famous characters, rather than brand characters you create yourself (“Fluent Devices”). A Fluent Device won’t get arrested or otherwise embarrass your brand. Not to mention that our own IPA work proves hired devices aren’t as effective anyway, with Suzuki a welcome exception – until the wheels came off…

Congratulations to all 38 of the shortlisted ads – it’s a fascinating collection of the best in modern marketing. We’ve tested all of them – watch The1 for the results!

Sign up for Ad Ratings here.


At System1, we help advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand monitoring tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

Get in touch or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.

Get In Touch

Got a Marketing problem? We'd love to hear about it. Tell us what you're looking for and we'll get in touch ASAP.