TNS UK’s Will Goodhand explores the highs and lows from a selection of World Cup ads.

With England's expectations low, World Cup campaigns focused instead on the festival of football and the charismatic carnival provided by Brazil. But as every gambler knows  if everyone places the same bet, the returns get lower – a fate suffered, so TNS research shows, by some of advertising’s biggest players.

But three ads are still delivering bite for their brand, even as memories of Luis Suarez getting his teeth into the competition fade – indeed, the most incisive ad of all those tested put teeth centre stage!

McDonald’s deserves honourable mention for the heroics of real people in its 'GOL!' Ad. TNS’s long term measures indicate lasting brand benefit, as well as a high short-term bounce shown by our sales-validated measures. Unsurprisingly this sparked a strong reaction on social media.

Social media comments:


Carling’s 'The Greatest Escape’ was just that, making a break from the generic World Cup carnival with its ‘Escape from the Office’ ad. TNS’s long term metrics show real lasting benefit to the brand. Perhaps worringly for British bosses though - Carling gets the highest score for personal Relevance of all the ads tested: which of your employees has been rolling past your office on the way to the pub?


Listerine - 'The surprise taste of success'. Most surprising aftertaste of the World Cup? Not the German victory but rather the performance of Listerine’s execution! For long-term benefit to the brand, Listerine’s ad eats Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald’s (just) for breakfast – which is appropriate since what goes into a football fan’s mouth is the ad’s subject. This unusual insightful angle seems to be driving those Novelty credentials which TNS research shows is the essential first step in building long-term brand benefit. Listerine’s approach to World Cup messaging delivers fresh Engagement and drives Motivation levels – in the teeth of less-impactful ‘traditional’ World Cup-associated brands. 


They think it’s all over - and it is now. The ads that are still delivering for their brands are those which starred for Engagement, Relevance, and Novelty. And it was on this last measure – Novelty – that many ads, including certain executions from Coca-Cola and Pepsi, fell short as they followed the crowd, failing to stand out from the clutter.

To get the full lowdown on what makes a great ad, to learn how Carling, Coca-Cola, Listerine, McDonald’s, PC World and Pepsi fared, or to access the full presentation please contact Will Goodhand to set up a meeting.


Ads tested



TNS UK’s World Cup ad effectiveness study showcases TNS’s long-term campaign metrics, revealing that long-term brand benefit requires Novelty, vital for capturing attention; Emotional Connection, essential for building longer term memory; and personal Relevance.

Using Affdex facial recognition software we were able to track moment by moment emotional responses to the adverts pinpointing the most enjoyable scenes within each, helping to cement the relevant messages. Our survey was carried out deploying TNS AdEval to 400 respondents via the TNS Omnibus, plus Affdex Facial Recognition, July 2014.