LONDON/NEW YORK: Unilever has been named as the top ranking brand owner in the 2012 Effie Effectiveness Index, with WPP Group taking the same status among advertising holding companies, as did Ogilvy & Mather for agency networks.

The annual Index, developed by Effie Worldwide and Warc and launched in 2011, measures and ranks the effectiveness of marketing communications firms from around the world based on results from around 40 Effie global competitions.

"The 2012 Effie Index rankings, when compared with 2011's inaugural rankings, clearly demonstrate the global shifts in business performance over the past year," said Matt Seiler, Effie Worldwide Chairman of the Board and Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands.

"As an industry, we should be using this invaluable tool to identify the year's best performers, and learn how their best practices can make us better marketers in the future," he added.

On the client side, Unilever was named as the top advertiser on the 2012 Index, and also achieved the number one spot as most effective company in the Asia-Pacific and Europe regions.

Globally, Unilever swapped places on the rankings with FMCG rival Procter & Gamble, which came in first place as most effective advertiser in 2011, but dropped to second this year. P&G was also the top-ranked company in North America.

Elsewhere, Nestlé rose from fourth to third place on the advertiser rankings, while McDonald's was the highest-ranked non-packaged goods firm, finishing fourth. The global restaurant chain also finished first on the list of most effective brands in the world, retaining its top spot from 2011.

Among holding groups, WPP Group rose from second place to first on the 2012 Index, while Omnicom moved from first to second. Interpublic, Publicis Group and Havas rounded out the top five, with each retaining their 2011 rankings.

Ogilvy & Mather rose from third to first to become 2012's most effective agency network, knocking BBDO Worldwide off the top spot.

Moreover, Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai became the most effective individual agency office overall, up from second place in 2011, while Sancho BBDO, based in Bogota, Colombia, dropped from first to second.

The Index provided equivalent rankings for the most effective agencies which are not part of a major holding group. McKinney, an independent based in Durham, North Carolina, claimed the top spot here, ahead of Bruketa&Žinic OM, based in Zagreb.

An open-access overview of the rankings is available on the Effie Index website.

Data sourced from Warc/Effie Worldwide; additional content by Warc staff