A television commercial for Sasol that plays heavily on nostalgia tops the list of SA’s favourite ads for 2019.

An annual list compiled by research insights and consulting company Kantar polls TV viewers on ads that resonate and evoke emotion.

"Sasol’s ‘This isn’t just any fuel, #ThisIsGlugGlug’ by FCB Joburg is filled with all the wide-eyed wonder and nostalgic feel-good magic of the original ‘glug-glug’ ad of 1991," says Kantar.

As to why the ad is so memorable, Kantar says: "We know people feel first and think second, and ads that are creative and emotionally engaging tend to work better and build memorable and lasting impressions." The original ad is the work of the Lindsay Smithers agency that eventually morphed into FCB, which reprised the campaign.

Under the group leadership of CEO Brett Morris, a respected creative director, FCB Johannesburg also has two others ads in the top 20 list, one for cider brand Savanna and one for fast-food brand Debonairs.

But second place on the list belongs to the Publicis Milan agency with an ad called "Unmissable", made for Heineken’s sponsorship of the Uefa football league.

The ad demonstrates a universal sports fan experience: it’s when you’re not looking that your team will score. Using a common human experience allowed the ad to cross borders.

"This piece of communication’s star power links to the universal truth that watched kettles never boil and your team is most likely to score that all-important equalising goal when your attention is momentarily diverted from the on-screen action," says Kantar.

While retailer Edgars battled for survival last year, one bright spot in its miserable existence was its "Don’t tell me what to do" ad by the VMLY&R agency featuring artist Sho Madjozi, who continues to change the local fashion and music game. The ad was the third most-liked in the country.

But is this an important list? And why should marketing teams take note?

"It’s really the list all agencies should strive to be on because work that is liked and makes consumers feel warm is more likely to be remembered," says one creative director.

"And the power of recall in our world that is engulfed with messaging, most of it bland and meaningless, is critical to a brand’s success when consumers are making a choice either online or in front of a shelf."

One astute observation by Kantar is around Vodacom’s ad "It’s a tie" by Openfield Marketing that takes fifth position.

The ad sees a sports fan deeply immersed in gaming and, says Kantar, is right on the button as it proves virtual and augmented reality may well be the way of the future when it comes to sport, "especially with remote lockdown living and many people feeling they’re starting to live at work rather than working from home".

While the list is dominated by local advertising, star power still works. Says Kantar: "A delicious storytelling air wafts through Nespresso’s ‘Really George’ ad from McCann New York with a Game of Thrones-esque update on a coffee quest featuring actors George Clooney and Natalie Dormer. It is escapism at its best."

The ad was rated the top ad during the third quarter of last year and came in 13th overall for 2019.

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