‘Ben and Amy’s Little Window Shopper’ is feel-good fun, with great Kiwi humour. Memorable lines like, “Hey mince and cheese, get a wiggle on!” are sure to bring a smile. Further, the story of a young girl getting a job to save up for the watch of her dreams taps into theKiwi Codeof earned success.
Like Goldstein, another beloved ASB character, Ben and Amy are well on their way to becoming iconic and instantly recognisable brand characters for ASB.
2. Trustpower – Meant to be Together/Four Legs Good
The second TV commercial of Trustpower’s ‘Meant to be together’ brand campaign is even more moving than the first.
An adorable three-legged dog finding a home with a grieving elderly man is guaranteed to tug on heartstrings. Kiwis love this heartwarming story.
Unfortunately, some people enjoyed the ad but didn’t know who it was for. Trustpower’s purple is present throughout, but it’s subtle. And unlike ASB, characters aren’t used across executions or touchpoints – a missed opportunity.
The campaign clearly won hearts. But Trustpower should keep an eye on branding and message outtake. ‘Meant to be together’ compares newfound friendship with bundling energy and telco services, and this link can be easy to miss.
3. Westpac – Together Greater
Westpac also won over Kiwis with a story about newfound friendship.
With echoes of treasured childhood books likeWhere The Wild Things Are, ‘Together Greater’ performed well above average in ‘Remarkable’ on itsCreative Edge score.
However, with weak branding and a tenuous link to banking, Westpac might not get the credit. ‘Together Greater’ scores well below average on ‘Remembered’. It could be that the child and monster have not had time to become established. But then again, it’s not clear whether making them synonymous with Westpac is the strategy.
It will be interesting to see how Westpac bring their ‘Together Greater’ promise to life beyond advertising.
Stickman perfectly captures Kiwis' sense of humour – witty, disarming, and down to earth. A lot of effort goes into keeping the jokes edgy and fresh, often weighing in on hot topics.
The character, distinctive voice, and black and yellow world are instantly recognisable brand codes for PAK’nSAVE. And the brand makes the most of them.
Stickman doesn’t just win on distinctiveness, but on differentiation too. He’s a constant reminder of PAK’nSAVE’s low-cost positioning. This helps the brand fend off intense competition.
5. McDonald’s – New Mac Family
This sweet and relatable story continues to be a hit with Kiwis. First released in 2018, it was repurposed last year to promote McDonald’s ‘Family Big Mac’ range.
The story taps into a societal tension – overuse of technology versus genuine moments of connection. It gets families thinking about pausing screen-time to connect and explore the country instead.
The work isn’t overly strong in its use of brand codes. However, the story resolves with the family enjoying McDonald’s together, helping to transfer positive feelings to the brand and products. The unmistakable jingle at the end does some heavy lifting too.
6. Sky – Life Needs More Sky
Sky’s use of talking animals delivering famous movie quotes is wildly entertaining - performing well above average in ‘Remarkable’ and Remembered’.
The spot introduces Sky’s new brand platform ‘Life Needs More Sky’, a build on ‘Life Needs More Sport’ launched two years prior (which also performed strongly in our favourite ads list). There’s a real sense of love for entertainment across all the work which gets to the core of what Sky are all about.
7. ANZ – We Do How
This ad demonstrates the bank's commitment to giving New Zealanders the practical help they need to start their financial wellbeing journey. It’s an inspirational story ofearned success.
Viewers feel a rush of joy in seeing the hard work of Sameer and his family pay off when he finally achieves his dream of becoming a Black Cap. Beyond the TVC, ‘We Do How’ is brought to life through new internal initiatives and the promotion of a Financial Wellbeing Programme.
8. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency – Safe Limits
This ad delivers a dry (and potentially divisive) message in a fun, attention-grabbing and persuasive way. Passing cars constantly interrupt a conversation allowing for some memorable lines.
The work strikes a good balance between being funny and serious. Seeing the children so close to the speeding cars feels dangerous and reinforces the need to review speed limits – to keep New Zealanders safe.
9. KFC – General promotions
KFC continue to deliver some of the most entertaining product and price promos in New Zealand. The 15” spots pack a punch with their likeable jokes that keep the love for KFC’s chicken front and centre.
And with consistent use of established brand codes (red and white striped buckets, music, and the colonel), there’s no mistaking who it’s for.
10. V Energy - Can You Feel It
'Can You Feel It' is feel-good, upbeat and funny. The road trippin’ bugs singing along to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ are instantly likeable.
But it’s the dark humour that takes this ad to the next level where they perform the equivalent of a hit-and-run. We can also expect the work to perform very strongly on Remembered. The ad opens with the bugs buying V at a gas station and they keep a can in their hand from that moment on.
What can we learn from New Zealand's favourite ads?
TheCreative Edge frameworkwe used to evaluate each of the Top 10 ads indicates the strongest potential of creating a highly effective enduring advertising icon. The ASB ad that took out the top spot proves brand attribution can also be wrapped up in remarkable, rewarding entertainment.
As you might expect, favourite ads tend to perform well above average on Remarkable and Rewarding. Remembered is where we see the most variation with some of the ads on our list performing below average.
A massive amount of effort goes into creating advertising Kiwis love. But this effort is wasted unless it’s easy for people to recognise who the ad is for.
The good news is better performance on Remembered doesn’t have to come at the expense of creating loveable ads. ASB and PAK’nSAVE are both examples of favourite campaigns instantly recognisable as coming from their respective brands.
About the author
TRA is an insight agency that combines understanding of human behaviour with intelligent data capability to help clients navigate uncertainty and answer complex problems.