TRA: Australia's 10 favourite ads on TV

By AdNews | 16 May 2024

The latest edition of the AU/NZ Top 10 Favourite Ads Survey, by independent research and insights agency TRA, reveals which ads are sticking in the minds of Australians.

Australia is lead by KFC’s Look on the Fried Side of Life with Telstra’s ‘This is Footy Country’ and ALDI’s ‘Good different’ taking second and third.

The Favourite Ads Survey asks a representative sample of more than 1,250 Australians aged 18 to 60 years open-ended questions including: “What’s your favourite ad on TV at the moment?”, “Why did you like it?” and “How did it make you feel?”

TRA’s head of strategy Carl Sarney and business director Alex Forrester use the TRA’s proprietary framework, Creative Edge, to evaluate the strength of the ad’s creative execution to explain why some ads perform better than others.

The framework includes the ‘three R’s’; how likely an ad is to grab people’s attention (Remarkable), entertain (Rewarding), and how strongly the brand is linked to the creative idea (Remembered).

Analysis of the results revealed two distinct differences between Australia and New Zealand included character focus.

In Australia, some character-driven ads also present (e.g., Toyota's 'HiLux 'In the Middle'), but more frequently focus on branded storytelling and situational humour, such as Cadbury's generosity theme and Toyota's humorous take on a messy divorce - versus an identifiable character. 

National Identity: While both countries have their fair share of culture-wars and social polarisation – NZ ads appear more settled with the idea of 'Kiwi-ness', whereas in Australia, the idea of 'Aussie-ness' is only approached indirectly by brands (via sport or weather).

This may reflect a comparative un-ease with Australians regarding the idea of being Australian versus the pride New Zealanders feel about being a Kiwi. 

Forrester said the common theme across the Australian ad winners was the ads were remembered and resonated because the brands strongly linked their brand to the creative idea.

“KFC’s ‘Look on the Fried side of Life’ is a textbook example, a perfect combination of great human insight and brand truth," he said.

“The human insight is so familiar, that sometimes we do feel defeated by life, and the brand truth works perfectly – KFC is good because it’s bad. It’s also a great example of category disruption, food can be unhealthy sometimes! This combination of novel and surprising elements makes the execution of the ad more remarkable and rewarding.

“A massive amount of effort goes into creating advertising that people love. But this effort is wasted if people don’t know what brand the ad is for. The good news is that increasing performance on ‘Remembered’ doesn’t come at the expense of creating work that resonates. The top ads are excellent examples of favourite campaigns that are instantly recognisable as coming from their respective brands."

CX at New World head of marketing Giselle Bleakley said the company's campaign tracking shows that the "find your wonderful" TVC achieves some of the strongest attention and bonding scores for any ad its measured.

“Matching brand promise with CX is important to us. We measure how well people think we live up to the promises we make with customer surveys, and since launching ‘find your wonderful’ these scores have been at record highs."

Australia’s top 10:

  1. KFC - Look on Fried Side of Life Campaign [and related ads]
  2. Telstra - This is Footy Country
  3. ALDI - Good Different 
  4. Cadbury - There's a glass & a half in everyone (garage)
  5. Woolworths - Packed with Pride
  6. Toyota -  HiLux ‘In the Middle’
  7. AAMI -When Australia Happens
  8. HBF - Quokka Series (example)
  9. McDonalds - The Original Mouthful
  10. Kia - Kia's Getting a Ute

NZ’s top 10:

  1. ASB – Ben and Amy  [No change in rankings] 
  2. ANZ – We Do How  [No change in rankings] 
  3. Turners – Tina from Turners   [No change in rankings] 
  4. PAK’nSAVE – Stickman  [No change in rankings] 
  5. Genesis – George and her family  [+3 places]
  6. New World – Find Your Wonderful [new to list]
  7. McDonalds – It’s Good to be the Driver [-2 places]
  8. KFC – General retail  [-1 places]
  9. Vogels – Neighbours [New to list]
  10. Lotto – House Hunt returns to list

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