Kantar announces South Africa’s 20 most popular ads in 2021

Kantar’s most popular ads celebrate South Africa’s favorite TV commercials. These are the advertisements that have been ranked as the most liked by South African audiences, who we believe are the most important critic – the person who ultimately decides whether or not to buy your brand.

Looking back, 2021 was the year when South Africa’s resilience was tested like never before. According to Sarah King, Global Brand Manager of Kantar, in times of disruption, things that are familiar are reassuring. Brands have become an emblem of normality for people. Even at the height of it all, people didn’t want brands to stop advertising. They just wanted them to stop advertising in clichés.

The automotive category has really taken this to heart in 2021. With no clichés in sight, eight car-themed ads entered the picture with all things funny (Toyota Corolla Cross ‘Prequel’, ‘Robots’ and ‘Robots – Hatch’) and family well-being (VW Tiguan ‘Family never looked so good’ and VW Golf 7’s ‘For the love of driving’) to entertaining (‘More space for s’ fun’ from Toyota Rumion), the aspirational (Audi Q3 ‘Sportback’) and downright nostalgic (‘Vrrr pha’ from VW Golf GTI). We haven’t seen this much automotive action on the list since the first recession set in, so people are clearly dreaming big, if not actively considering one of life’s most important purchases.

Simple and strong stories resonate

This ties in with key findings from our creative tests, which reveal that South Africans enjoy simple, linear storylines that follow a strong narrative. Brands leave nothing to the imagination and tell bold stories that serve as a reminder at the time of purchase. Adidas’ ‘Impossible Is Nothing – Lionel Messi’ by Sockeye has tapped into the power of sport to unite the world, making it South Africa’s most popular advert of 2021.

Kantar Announces South Africa's Most Popular Ads for Q3 and Q4 2021

The food commercial is a favorite for SA, and the sensory visuals in everything from the pouring and preparation scenes in Clover’s “Mooo Fresh” and Lucky Star’s “Rise” to the critical moment of taste pleasure reinforce the overall experience that we see at McDonald’s. Nazo Meal” and Coca-Cola’s next-gen “Taste of no” ads.

The good old-fashioned love story of Spec-Savers’ “Vision sees the future” shares sentimental and romantic nostalgia for the slice of life, while other brands have tapped into awe-inspiring influencers and celebrities, with ‘Dove Men Care+ featuring Siya Kolisi’ to help tell their brand story.

Who, what, where, why, when and how. A brand story checklist for you.

    – Who: is everyone’s role in the ad clear? Did you show the collective in the ad? Did everyone respond or react as you would expect in real life?
    – What: The on-screen action should be easy to follow and understand, as well as realistic. What about your brand?
    – Where: Is your story going? Is your setting inspiring or meeting your expectations? If as expected, did the story show a day in your consumer’s life?
    – Why: should they use this product? Is the reason for believing and enjoying it well illustrated? Did the voiceover clarify anything the audience might misunderstand?
    – When: what is the deadline? Does the story take place in the past, present or future? Is this a short-term special offer or a brand renewal?
    – How: Is this how it would really happen? Could the story be misinterpreted and mean something else?

It all seems obvious, but that’s where brands tend to fall apart. It’s no wonder then that some of the most popular creative works have followed these ideas.

In a year when we needed to reconnect after the great lockdown, the familiarity of gatherings and the reminder of what really matters was the underlying theme of McDonald’s ‘Favorites – make it a feast’, ‘Freedom Day’ from Spur, Sta-Soft’s ‘New Sta-Soft with a longer-lasting flavor’, and even Coca-Cola’s ‘Uplift: Internet Café’, all backed by a catchy beat.

Kantar Announces Top 10 Most Popular Ads in South Africa for Q1 and Q2 2021

“Covid-19 served as a news story, a social trauma and a personal life event because we lived through it. As our social, functional and emotional needs have changed, so too have the brands that need to do show empathy, imagination and courage The brands that win the hearts and minds of the public in South Africa are those that simply understand how people feel and how your brand can play a stronger and more active in their lives,” concludes Natalie Botha, Media and Creative Manager, Knowledge Division, Kantar.

Congratulations to the following brands and agencies:

Announcement n°1 for 2021

sockeye salmon

Announcement n°2 for 2021

South Africa

Announcement n°3 for 2021

FCB Jobourg

The Top 20 Most Liked Ads of 2021

Click on here to view a PDF of all listings.

Kantar’s Top Ads list is based on our Adtrack Newcomers metric, which is the first in-market metric approximately two weeks after launch for all new branded ads served.

About Adtrack™

Adtrack™ is Kantar’s proprietary advertising testing system, evaluating the impact and likeability of all brand advertising in South Africa for over 35 years. The resulting database has over 100,000 TV commercials tested and over 1.1 million interviews conducted, making this database one of the largest of its kind in the world. Find out how your creative and media credentials stack up against the competition! Adtrack is the most comprehensive and sophisticated post-launch assessment and planning effectiveness tool available. A commissioned Adtrack study provides deeper insight and understanding into the performance and effectiveness of your ads. Through the use of Kantar’s Media Optimiser tool, we are able to recommend the optimal future ad delivery to maximize your return on investment. Adtrack studies are available on all media channels.

About Kantar

Kantar is the global leader in evidence-based analysis and advice. We have a complete, unique and comprehensive understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in more than 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our staff, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technologies, we help our customers understand people and inspire growth.

For questions about Adtrack, contact:
Chris Nortje
Customer Relationship Manager
[email protected]

If you have any questions about Top Ads, contact:
Ilse’s dinner
Marketing Communications Manager, Middle East and Africa
[email protected]