WHAT IT MEANS: Themes of joy, done well, can work in any market. Consumers tired of specs; product must fit into lives.

FCB and Ogilvy continue to entrench their positions as the agencies most able to produce television advertising that resonates with consumers.

In the latest Millward Brown survey of most-liked ads, FCB has five ads in the top-10 lists for the first and second quarters of 2016, and Ogilvy has four.

For 30 years the research firm has been gauging ads that click with consumers and the twice-yearly list gives brands an indication of what works.

FCB’s long-standing client, Toyota, has two ads in the first-quarter top-10 list. FCB has a third for an Engen collaboration with forecourt partner Wimpy.

Global ads are again finding favour with SA consumers, and two international brands top the first-quarter ranking. An ad for Lays chips from Spanish agency Tiempo BBDO is in first place, nudging out a Coca-Cola ad by Argentine agency Mercado-McCann.

"Both these spots show that the power of universal themes of happiness, sharing, joy and laughter, done well, can work in any market," says one creative director. "They are useful ideas for any brand wanting to find a real consumer connection."

TBWA has two ads in the first-quarter list: Fatti’s & Moni’s pasta and Klipdrift brandy.

SA consumers seem to relate strongly to food and beverage ads. Six in the first-quarter top 10 and five from the second quarter, including a second from Wimpy, are from these sectors. Rounding out the first-quarter list is a new ad for Rhodes Food and its agency, Owen Kessel Leo Burnett, which is building a strong creative reputation.

While locally made ads dominated SA television advertising in the last two quarters of 2015, international ads are again having an impact here. In the second quarter of 2016 two ads from Leo Burnett Chicago, both for the Samsung Galaxy S7, make the top 10. One, titled "Sister", tops the list. Unlike its competitors, it plays strongly on how the device enables human connection rather than focusing on its technical attributes.

Another creative director notes: "Consumers ... might be weary of technical specifications continually being thrown at them. They want ads that show the product fitting meaningfully into peoples’ lives."

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