Advertising trends: How to win in a digital world

Jane Ostler
April 17, 2023
Jane Ostler EVP Global Thought Leadership, Kantar Today’s fast-moving digital world presents challenges for marketers and their agencies. So, what makes an ad creative and effective in an ever-evolving digital landscape? Getting your creative right in a multichannel environment is challenging, and the key to successful campaigns is to learn throughout the creative process. showcase great creative content from around the world and help advertisers and their agencies understand what makes effective advertising. We highlight the top digital, social, TV, print and outdoor ads from over 13,000 that we tested with our in 2022. What makes our awards unique is that consumers are the judges. We want to help our clients be the best at getting better with their advertising - so let’s learn from the best.

Revealed: the most creative and effective ads of 2022

This year, we saw winning ads from an ever-expanding range of products and services in over 20 categories across 16 countries. Here are our top 3 winners across our media categories.

Top 3 digital and social ads

Brand Country Spot Agency

1 Cadbury Dairy Milk Canada VCCP

2 Twinings (Italy) Chile Saatchi & Saatchi Italy / adapted by Raya Chile

3 Heineken 0.0 Netherlands PUBLICIS ITALY/LePub

Top 3 TV ads

Brand Country Spot Agency

1 KFC Héritage France Havas Paris

2 Tennent's Lager UK Studio Something

3 Bosch Spain Jung von Matt / Pingüino Torreblanca

Top 3 print and outdoor ads

Brand Country Spot Agency

1 Starbucks Chilled Coffee UK Starbucks chilled coffee – OOH Landor & Fitch

2 The North Face UK It’s More than a Jacket – Summit Series The North Face Creative Team

3 Occhio Germany Largo Martin et Karczinski

Have a look at the in each category.

What makes a good ad?

To be effective, ads need to:

Have clear marketing objectives with brilliant execution

Be distinctive and meaningfully different

Trigger an emotional response

Stay close to their consumers

Stay up-to-date in an industry that never rests

Previous years’ Creative Effectiveness Awards have confirmed that these principles hold true. Our from our 2022 awards and our from 2021 confirm these basic truths. And this year we’ve seen some exciting new trends emerging.

Topical trends for creativity

We identified 5 topical trends across winning ads that make them truly stand out to the consumers who judged them via Kantar Link solutions. Here is a brief overview of these trends. You can find more detail and examples of great advertising in our .

1. ESCAPE ROOMS: creating other worlds

The ongoing challenges and crises of recent years have led to a search for other realities and a sense of escapism. We have seen some ads focusing on nostalgia, and others flying into the creative possibilities of the future, such as our Disneyland Paris winner - a dynamic example of experiential escapism through an immersive visual narrative, as the viewer and the characters transition between the multiverses of Disneyland.
Disneyland Paris, The Infinite Parade – BETC

2. TOUCH MY SOUL: How emotions create memories

Emotions play a strong role in making ads memorable. The more emotionally charged an event is, the more likely people will remember it. Our winners include many examples of heartfelt story-telling. And music was often used as a powerful tool to elevate emotional connection. , our #1 TV winner this year, is a great example of this.
KFC France, KFC Héritage - Havas Paris

3. MAKE LIFE EASY: Simplicity in complex times

In a world of technology and information overload, making life easy is a new shortcut. The refreshing and straightforward route of clear, simple, direct messaging was evident across a number of this year’s winners. Our Facebook winner, , embodies the full emotive and nostalgic feel of Christmas with the brand as the hero, perfectly suited to its digital context, and does so in a very short time.
Lurpak: The Cook Makes Christmas - Accenture & TAG

4. A BETTER WORLD: how advertising takes on responsibility

Many of our winners this year continue working towards a better world for us all - a rising trend in advertising. The differences we see this year include featuring genuine, brand-related messages, told with a stronger sense of positivity. AWS’s beautifully portrays an older character as socially vibrant and taking advantage of modern technology. Our Link database shows how shockingly under-represented this group is, with only 5% of ads including characters over the age of 65.
AWS, When I grow up – Joint London

5. YOU MADE THEM SMILE! – bringing the fun back into advertising

And finally, this year we see a slight turnaround in the . Humor was prevalent in our winning ads, bringing light relief, helping people to forget their troubles, and providing a welcome distraction – even when addressing serious topics. Our Heineken 0.0 ad, , finds a humorous way to remind us of how to stay safe.
Ads are starting to make people smile again 😊

Align your advertising with today’s trends

Our Creative Effectiveness Awards clearly demonstrate that advertising has a bigger role to play than just informing people about available products and services. Advertising needs to be cleverly conceived, but also needs to be kept simple and differentiated from the competition. That’s the communications conundrum. It means that staying on top of industry trends is key. We often talk about the foundations of good advertising; but we hope our analysis of advertising trends will help you stay up-to-date and ensure your advertising thrives in a multichannel, digital-led environment. And the key to this is and insights, so you can make sure your advertising resonates and meets objectives. Congratulations to this year’s winners and runners-up for showing it’s all possible, and for partnering with Kantar to make sure they are the best at getting better.

Learn from our winners

to find out more and learn from our winner’s success. And please to find out more.

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