WARC Media 100
The WARC Media 100 is a ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies for media.
It tracks the results of media award shows around the world, and acts as a benchmark for media excellence, allowing marketers to compare their performance with that of their peers.
The results of the WARC Media 100 have been summarised in a report with the headline rankings and trends.
Learn more about the 2021 rankings, and see how the top campaigns, brands and agencies placed.
Top campaigns from the 2021 rankings
Always: Rabbi Bot
Using AI technology while respecting traditions to simplify life for Jewish women.
2021 top agencies
MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv
Mindshare Ho Chi Minh City
2021 top advertisers
Procter & Gamble
The Walt Disney Company
The WARC Media 100 is a ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies for media. It compiles the results of award shows that ran the year prior to its publication (e.g. the 2021 rankings reflect the results of award shows that ran in 2020). See note on the 2021 Rankings here.
The Media 100 has run since 1999 (formerly part of the Gunn Report) and sits alongside two other rankings: the WARC Creative 100 (formerly the Gunn Report), and the WARC Effective 100 (formerly the WARC 100) which has ranked effectiveness since 2014.
To compile the WARC Media 100, we track different advertising competitions around the world – all of them require entrants to show the impact of media on the campaign. Campaigns (and the brands and agencies behind them) are awarded points based on the prizes they win in those competitions.
The WARC Media 100 methodology follows the approach of the WARC Effective 100 methodology (previously the “WARC 100”), which was developed in consultation with an independent third party: Douglas West, professor of marketing and programme director at Kings College, London.
The show list for the 2021 rankings has been frozen from 2020, due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order of overall show weighting, following shows are included in this year’s rankings:
Cannes Lions (media categories), Festival of Media, Effies (media categories), M&M Awards, WARC Media Awards, Adweek Media Plan of the Year, Internationalist Awards, I-COM Data Creativity Awards, MMA Smarties, World Media Awards, D&AD (media categories)
APAC: Spikes Asia (media categories), Tangrams, Festival of Media APAC, MMA Smarties APAC, Effie APAC plus local markets (media categories)
Europe: Eurobest (media categories), IAB Mixx Awards Europe, MMA Smarties Europe, EACA Euro Effie plus local markets (media categories), Campaign Media Awards
Middle East & Africa: Festival of Media MENA, Dubai Lynx (media categories), Loeries (media categories), MMA Smarties MENA, Effie MENA plus local markets (media categories)
LATAM: Festival of Media LATAM, El Ojo de Iberoamerica (media categories), MMA Smarties LATAM, Effie LATAM plus local markets (media categories)
North America: Festival of Media North America, MMA Smarties North America, Effie North America plus local markets (media categories)
How we select the shows
Each year, the award shows tracked to compile the WARC Rankings are reviewed to ensure that they reflect the needs of the industry and fulfil the purpose of the Rankings. To determine the most prestigious and rigorous shows, WARC Rankings conducts the following global research:
- We survey senior planners, strategists and creatives, asking them to tell us the global and regional shows they regard as the most prestigious and rigorous.
- We speak to an Advisory Board made up of industry leaders from advertising agencies, media agencies, consultancies and brands, who provide their expert opinion and independent guidance to ensure the rankings remain current, relevant and service the needs to the marketing communications industry.
How we weight the shows
Based on this consultation with the industry, shows are selected and weighted 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, including:
a. Industry perception
It is widely held within the industry that some competitions are harder or more prestigious than others. To reflect this, WARC Rankings uses the results of the survey and advisory board consultation to feed into the competition weighting.
b. 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 show that is open to all types of marketing activity will be harder to win than a show 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.
The exact calculation is proprietary to WARC Rankings and, to avoid prejudicing entries to future competitions, we cannot reveal the weightings assigned to competitions.
Assigning Award Points
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 Award 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 10. Grand Prix wins are exempt from the cap.
Non-campaign awards in these competitions (for example, 'Agency of the Year') are not included.
Points are assigned to campaigns as follows:
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 Media 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 Media 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 (i.e. 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.
Note: ownership structures of agencies and brands reflect the situation in January 2020; this may differ from the approach to ownership of individual award shows.
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 (i.e. 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'.
In a ‘normal’ year, the 2021 rankings would compile the results of award shows that ran the year prior to its publication (e.g. the 2021 rankings reflect the results of award shows that ran in 2020). However, the disruption to the awards industry in 2020 caused by COVID-19 has meant we have had to adapt our methodology for the 2021 and 2022 rankings for a number of reasons:
- To create a ‘fair’ playing field across agencies and advertisers
- To ensure the rankings as far as possible are comparable year on year
Our 2021 WARC Rankings therefore contain the results of:
- the results of all tracked shows that took place in 2020
- the year 1 results of shows that took place in 2021 that awarded two years’ work, split by campaign execution date
Our 2022 WARC Rankings (launching Q1 2022) will contain the results of:
- the results of all tracked shows that took place in 2021 (excluding b) above)
- the year 2 results of shows that took place in 2021 that awarded two years’ work, split by campaign execution date
The date of the split in year 1 and year 2 work varies by show. Where a show has judged the two years separately and confirmed these dates to us, or published separate eligibility periods, we have used these dates. For any remaining shows, we have split their respective eligibility periods into two even time periods.
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.