Watch the 9 most effective ads of the year: KFC, Cadbury’s and Starbucks drive sales with storytelling

Kantar’s creative ad testing platform, covering digital, TV, print and outdoor, uncovers how humour and emotive storytelling engage viewers and drive sales.

Marketing data and analytics company Kantar has revealed the winners of the 2023 Creative Effectiveness Awards, recognising the most impactful ads of last year around the world. 

Judged by its panel of consumers, Kantar’s Link creative testing platform was used to evaluate more than 13,000 digital and social, TV and print and outdoor ads throughout 2022.. 

The awards celebrate those that were most effective at driving sales and increasing long-term brand equity.

The winning ads also embody the key trends which set apart the most effective ads, acting as a creative beacon for the industry during a time when creativity and effectiveness are ever-more important. New analysis recently co-published by Kantar and WARC found that the most creative and effective ads generate greater than 4 times profitability.

Revealed: the most creative and effective ads of 2022

This year’s winning ads come from a diverse range of brands, categories, and markets using different creative approaches to engage consumers and be memorable:

Digital and Social

Cadbury Dairy Milk, Canada: Garage 30s Digital (VCCP)

Twinings (Italy), Chile: Tealand (Saatchi & Saatchi Italy adapted by Raya Chile)

Heineken 0.0, Netherlands: When you drive never drink (Riding is still driving) (PUBLICIS ITALY/LePub)


KFC France, France: KFC Héritage (Havas Paris)

Tennent's Lager, UK: Tennent's Lager - It's a Wonderful Pint (Studio Something)

Bosch, Spain: Live sustainable #LikeABosch (Jung von Matt / Pingüino Torreblanca)

Print and Outdoor

Starbucks Chilled Coffee, UK: Starbucks chilled coffee – OOH (Landor & Fitch)

The North Face, UK: It’s More than a Jacket – Summit Series (The North Face Creative Team)

Occhio, Germany: Largo (Martin et Karczinski)

Winning ads reveal the themes powering effective creative

Kantar’s validated ad testing solution ‘Link’ determines each ad’s ability to contribute to brand equity and drive sales. In 2022, five themes set apart the most effective ads: 

1.     Emotion – Many of the award winners use powerful storytelling and music to engage consumers and be more memorable.

2.     Escapism – The ongoing challenges and crises of recent years have led to a search for other realities and a sense of escapism. We have seen ads digging into nostalgia and others flying into the future.

3.     Humour – Ads are bringing light relief, helping people to forget their troubles and providing a distraction.

4.     Simplicity - In a world of ever-evolving technology, some simply go down a refreshing and straightforward route of clear, easy, direct messaging.

5.     Better world – Some of the winners continue a rising trend in advertising that is working towards a better world for all, featuring genuine and positive social and environmental responsibility messages.

Jane Ostler, EVP, Global Thought Leadership, Kantar, said: “We have just reached a major milestone of evaluating the effectiveness of over 250,000 ads with Link. And great ads have one thing in common: they leverage technology to understand how creative across all platforms can help brands be meaningful and different. Those who stand out focus on understanding what makes people tick and what helps the brand to be memorable. In a time when financial pressures mount in every corner of the world, it is not surprising that humour and emotive storytelling permeate all award-winning ads”.

To see the full top ten award winners in each category, visit