The WARC Effective 100 (successor to the WARC 100) tracks the performance of campaigns, brands and agencies in more than 70 marketing effectiveness and strategy competitions around the world.
The rankings are a benchmark for commercial creativity, allowing marketers to compare their performance with their peers.
2018 top campaigns
The Swedish Number
Helping Swedes feel proud of their country through an app connecting foreigners to ordinary Swedes
2018 top creative agencies
2018 top media agencies
2018 top digital / specialist agencies
Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide
2018 top agency networks
Ogilvy & Mather Advertising
2018 top holding companies
2018 top brands
2018 top advertisers
2018 top countries
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The WARC Effective 100 (formerly the WARC 100) is a ranking of effective advertising and marketing campaigns – and the companies behind them. In 2019, the WARC 100 became part of WARC Rankings, alongside the WARC Creative 100 and WARC Media 100 (formerly the Gunn Report rankings).
To compile the WARC Effective 100, WARC Rankings track different advertising competitions around the world – all of them require entrants to show the impact of a campaign. Campaigns (and the brands and agencies behind them) are awarded points based on the prizes they win in those competitions. Each competition is weighted based on how rigorous and prestigious it is.
The WARC Effective 100 methodology was developed in consultation with Douglas West, Professor of Marketing at Kings College, London.
For the 2019 report, further to feedback from the industry, the listings have been compiled by analysing the results of the most important global and regional awards shows in the world as determined by the industry and have been made known to provide transparency and proof of impartiality. They are:
- Global: AME Awards, Cannes Lions, Effies (multiple shows), IPA Effectiveness Awards, Jay Chiat Awards, WARC Awards, ARF David Ogilvy Awards
- Regional: Loerie Awards, Tangrams, WARC Prize for Asian Strategy, WARC Prize for MENA Strategy
WARC tracks the following types of award for the WARC Effective 100:
- Effectiveness award: Entries are judged primarily on the impact of a campaign.
- Strategy award: Entries are judged on the strategic response to a client's business problem.
- General marketing excellence award: A significant proportion of the scoring is based on effectiveness.
Assigning Award Points
The first step in building the rankings is to assign points to campaigns based on the awards they have won.
Most of the awards schemes under consideration have a single Best in Show (or Grand Prix) winner per category, as well as a broader group of Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. We assign points on a range from 10-2 (see table at right).
For schemes that do not run a Gold/Silver/Bronze scheme, we have adapted this points scheme to reflect their structure.
Award schemes under consideration vary greatly in terms of size. In order not to over-reward campaigns that have won many awards at a single scheme over those winning awards in multiple schemes, we have capped the number of Award Points a single campaign can win at a single awards scheme at 20. Grand Prix wins are exempt from this cap.
Non-campaign awards in these competitions (for example, 'Agency of the Year') are not included.
Points are assigned to campaigns as follows:
Assigning the Competition Weighting
Each competition in the WARC Effective 100 is assigned a score (the Competition Weighting) between 1 and 5 – this is an assessment of how 'hard' the competition is to win, and how prestigious the award is.
To produce this weighting, WARC Rankings has developed a calculation that takes into account a number of factors.
The exact calculation is proprietary to WARC Rankings and, to avoid prejudicing entries to future competitions, we cannot reveal the weightings assigned to competitions.
The calculation includes:
It is widely held within the industry that some competitions are harder or more prestigious than others.
To reflect this, WARC Rankings has conducted a survey of more than 100 senior agency planners and strategists. The results of this survey feed into the shows selected for inclusion in the ranking, and into the Competition Weighting.
The level of 'potential' competition
In theory, competitions or categories that are open to a wider 'pool' of campaigns will be harder to win than competitions that limit the size of the pool. So, for example, a global competition will usually be harder to win than a single-market competition. Or a category that is open to all types of marketing activity will be harder to win than a category that is only open to, say, digital marketing campaigns.
To reflect this, WARC Rankings takes into account how much of the global advertising market each competition represents. It is able to do this using WARC's comprehensive adspend data resources, which include analysis by channel and by geography.
Building the scores
For each competition in which a campaign wins, its Award Points are multiplied by the Competition Weighting to produce a score.
For example, if a campaign wins a Silver in a competition with a weighting of 3, it will score 12 (4 Award Points x 3 weighting).
Many campaigns win awards in multiple competitions. So, a campaign's final score in WARC 100 is the sum of all the scores it has achieved in different competitions. Where the same campaign has been awarded at different competitions under different campaign titles, a generic campaign name has been used for all of these entries.
Ranking agencies and brands
Once the scores for campaigns have been calculated, it is possible to assign points to the organisations behind them – both on the client and agency side.
The scores that have been generated for every campaign in the database are assigned to both an agency and a brand. This information is based on publicly released data, such as the winners' lists published by awards organisers.
This allows WARC Rankings to build rankings of individual agencies, agency networks, agency holding companies, brands and advertisers.
These rankings reflect the points generated from all campaigns in the database, not just the top 100 campaigns in the WARC 100.
As with campaign scores (see above), there is a cap of 10 Award Points (equivalent to two Grand Prix) that a brand or agency can win from a single campaign in a single competition.
In addition, the overall Award Points a single brand or agency can win from a single awards scheme (ie from all its winning entries in one competition) at 20. This is because a small number of competitions in the database award a very large number of prizes, making it possible for agencies or brands eligible for those competitions to pick up a lot of points from a single award scheme. This is unfair on agencies or brands ineligible to enter those competitions (for example, if the competition is in a local market and not open to entries from outside that market).
As with campaign scores, all Award Points are multiplied by the relevant Competition Weighting to produce the scores for agencies and brands.
We have introduced a Table Builder feature to allow users to create their own rankings from the database. This feature is available only to WARC subscribers.
Users can build rankings of agencies, agency networks, agency holding companies, brands or advertisers, which they can download to an Excel file. They can filter these rankings by product category, geography, or (for agencies, networks or holding companies) agency type.
We have divided agencies in the database into one of three broad groups: Creative, Media and Digital/Specialist Agencies – a broad category that includes pure-play digital, specialists in PR, brand consultancy and other marketing services.
Because of the effects of the points cap (see above), there may be a very small number of minor discrepancies between custom-built filtered rankings from the Table Builder and the company's overall ranking as published by WARC.
Agencies listed as 'contributing agencies' for a campaign in the database are awarded half the Award Points assigned to 'primary agencies' for the same campaign (ie 1 for Bronze, 2 for Silver, 3 for Gold, 5 for Grand Prix, with a points cap of 5 for a single campaign in any competition).
WARC Rankings has used the information released by awards schemes to determine which agencies are classed as 'primary agencies' and which are classed as 'contributing agencies'.
Only those awards handed out during the previous calendar year, or those handed out at the beginning of the present calendar year that are explicitly labelled as awards from the previous year.
All awards information, including lists of winners and details of judging criteria, is based on data that is in the public domain, whether through public, free-to-access web pages, press releases or other information for the media.
The location assigned to individual campaigns is based on the location in which the campaign ran. If global, the location is where the campaign originated. The location of the primary agency is assumed to be the location of the original idea behind the campaign.
Wherever possible, English versions of each campaign name have been obtained, whether by contacting the original awards scheme directly to obtain a translated version of results, or by using a translation service. Where the same campaign has been awarded at different competitions in different languages, the English version of the campaign title has been used.
We have divided agencies in the database into three broad groups: Creative, Media and Digital/Specialist Agencies – a broad category that includes specialist digital, direct, PR, brand consultancy and other marketing services.
This year's data is currently being updated.