Australians and Kiwis Top 10 Favourite Ads Revealed in New Survey

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 and New Zealanders.

In New Zealand, ASB’s ‘Ben & Amy’ took out the number one spot for the fourth consecutive year, followed closely by ANZ’s ‘We Do How’ and Turners ‘Tina from Turners’ rounding out the top three spots. Australia’s top three spots was led 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 spot respectively.

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


 

In the latest NZ survey, the top 4 have remained consistent in their rankings since (December 2023); four brands are new to list; three have been in the top 10 before but are +/- position in the latest rankings; and one newcomer is listed. This is Australia’s inaugural Favourite Ads Survey conducted by TRA, so all ads are newcomers to the list.

NZ’s top 10 ads

  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

Australia’s top 10 ads

  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

Carl Sarney, TRA’s Head of Strategy, and Alex Forrester, TRA’s Business Director use the TRA’s proprietary framework, Creative Edge, to evaluate the strength of the ad’s creative execution to explain why certain 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:

Character focus: NZ ads seems to leverage familiar characters and ongoing stories, such as ASB’s “Ben and Amy” and ANZ’s “Sharma family”. While 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.


 

Resident New Zealand adman, Carl Sarney said: “One story, spread as big as you can afford to spread it, is creating highly effective, enduring icons that are loved by the public. It’s good news for everybody – campaigns loved by the public tend to drive results that are loved by the C-suite too.

“Ben & Amy are a case in point, the ASB brand characters have resonated with Kiwis for years consistently earning them top spot since the characters were launched back in 2020,” Sarney concluded.

In contrast Australia’s Alex Forrester said: “The common theme across the Aussie 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.

“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,” Forrester explained.

“In comparison, consider Telstra’s ‘Footy Country’ ad, remembered because the brand is not obvious throughout the ad. That’s a bold decision which demonstrates that attribution – being ‘remembered’ – is more complicated than just repetition of a brand’s logo.  When executed expertly, the use of deliberate subtlety can work.

“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,” Forrester concluded.

Giselle Bleakley, Head of Marketing and CX at New World, was delighted the brand is a new entry to NZ’s list.  She said: “Rather than invent something new to talk about, we listened to our customers and used advertising to amplify what they already loved about us

“Our campaign tracking shows that the ‘find your wonderful’ TVC achieves some of the strongest attention and bonding scores for any ad we’ve 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,” Bleakley concluded.

 

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