Great strategies can have unpromising beginnings. That's one big message from 'Car Creation', our number 10-ranked campaign on this year's Warc 100 – our ranking of the 100 smartest campaigns in the world. Developed for NRMA Insurance by Whybin\TBWA in Sydney, the campaign highlighted the fact that the client insured parts that were missed by rival insurers' policies. This was dramatised by building a real-life car out of these missed parts, and by using car parts as the key visual image of the campaign creative.

But this strategy has its basis in a highly tedious process within Whybin. "We spent the better part of two weeks buried in product disclosure statements," said Hristos Varouhas, the agency's executive planning director. "It was painful to get through. But we found a lot of differences in the cover. It was the matrix to end all matrixes. It was a monster!"

For Varouhas, this approach represented not just a way of sharpening the campaign strategy, it also represented an opportunity to break category norms. "The category was full of brands that had big, lofty, fluffy, emotional ads. So instead of having emotional promises, we disrupted that and went 'proof over promise'."

So, should planners in the rest of the world aim to emulate the – clearly highly successful – 'Car Creation' approach? "I wouldn't recommend you always do that," Varouhas added. "It's a case of just seeing how the game in that category is played, seeing how you can differentiate within it, then through that you can charter a course that's right to create the strategy that needs to be created."

If you'd like to dig deeper, into the Warc 100, please read the full top 100 rankings, and learn more about our methodology.

Warc subscribers hoping to learn even more about each of the world's smartest campaigns can also read the full case studies where we have them. And, if you're on the rankings but don't have the case on Warc yet, please drop us a line.