The folks at Warc recently announced the results of their 2016 ranking of the world’s best marketing campaigns. Although I don’t normally pay much attention to these things, the Warc 100 rankings are based on a very different methodology. Developed in consultation with King's College London, Warc tracks advertising competitions around the world which require entrants to show the business impact of social video campaigns, rather than solely recognizing the campaign’s creativity. Now, that’s a methodology that uses metrics that matter.

Social Video Campaigns That Delivered Results

And, when I checked out this year’s list of top 10 campaigns, I was surprised to see only a small handful of ones that we’ve discussed in the past. The vast majority are campaigns that I haven’t seen or heard about before. Let's take a look at the top 10, and what kind of business metrics the campaigns hit in 2016.

Social Video Campaigns are Winning Awards for Delivering Business Results Warc 100 top 10 global advertising campaigns 2016 750x241

#1 Penny the Pirate: For example, have you seen or heard about “Penny the Pirate,” which ranks #1 in the Warc 100? I guess we don’t get Down Under as often as we should. Well, this campaign was developed by Saatchi & Saatchi and OMD for the Australian optical chain OPSM. It combined both traditional and digital media, including an engaging printed book and app to highlight vision problems in children.

Business ROI as results of campaign: But, here’s what caught my eye: More than 126,000 parents bought the reading book, the number of eye tests conducted by OPSM increased by 22.6% year-over-year, and the optical chain’s sales also grew by 22.4%. Well, shiver me timbers.

#2 #LikeAGirl: The #2 campaign in the rankings, #LikeAGirl by Always, is one that we’ve mentioned in the past. So, regular ReelSEO readers already know that the feminine hygiene brand changed negative stereotypes about what it is to be a girl via online video, social media and a website hub. But, what I didn’t know was this: The #LikeAGirl video was shared 1 million times within the first month.

Business ROI as results of campaign: The brand’s purchase intent increased up to 92%, and Always received a UN award for the impact the campaign had on female empowerment around the world. Hey, that’s new news!

#3 Project Architeuthis: But wait, there’s more! In third place is the US Navy recruited cryptologists via social media. “Project Architeuthis” was an alternate-reality, puzzle-solving game where characters, cryptologic clues, tips and updates were revealed via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Business ROI as results of campaign: Analysis showed that playing the game increased the likelihood of enlistment. By how much? Well, I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

#4  Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables: In 4th place is a campaign by Intermarché based on the insight 40% of fruit and vegetables are being thrown away because they looks less than perfect. Starting locally, the retailer dedicated an aisle to ugly fruit and veg sold at a 30% discount. Following press and TV ads the trial was rolled out to all its 1,800 stores and had a marked effect on consumer behavior.

Business ROI as results of campaign: An average of 1.2 tons was sold per store in the first two days. Incroyable!

#5 Live Test Series: You may not remember all 20 of the videos in the #5 campaign, “Live Test Series” by Volvo Trucks. But, I’m almost certain that you remember the most popular video in the series, “Volvo Trucks - The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test), which has more than 82.6 million views. For this campaign, Volvo Trucks set out to maximize awareness of its new range of trucks with a series of stunts to illustrate aspects of the vehicles, including ones emphasizing safety and environmental concerns. These were promoted on YouTube and by the press.

Business ROI as results of campaign: The video generated over 100 million YouTube views, a significant increase in brand recall and awareness, as well as a 23% increase in sales during the fourth quarter of 2013. Now, that’s what I call epic!

#6 If We Made It: Newcastle Brown Ale played up to its image as a blatantly honest, no-frills beer brand in the US by parodying the advertising hype around the Super Bowl. It targeted digital natives with a mock Super Bowl campaign, tracking the phases of a regular campaign with teasers of its “if we made it” ad.

Business ROI as results of campaign: The campaign increased volume sales by over 20%. I’ll drink to that!

#7 This is Wholesome: This campaign was launched by Honey Maid, a classic, all-American brand that has been part of families’ lives for 90 years. However, the brand had lost its relevance and growth had stalled as it was perceived as old-fashioned. The “This Is Wholesome” campaign celebrated the diversity of all families in America, including gay dads, mixed-race families and single dads.

Business ROI as results of campaign: Sticking to its principles helped Honey Maid achieve an increase in market share.

#8 Share a Coke: This campaign certainly made a splash. To re-connect with users, Coca-Cola printed popular names on its bottles. This idea was then extended across kiosks that would print names by request on cans, then more names were voted for through social media.

Business ROI as results of campaign: Following a successful launch in Australia, this simple idea was then rolled out around the world to new markets including the US.

#9 Kan Khajura Tesan: Kan Khajura Tesan, which translates as “the Earworm Channel,” is one that you may have heard about. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) reached a rural audience in the “media dark” Indian regions of Bihar and Jharkhand with an always-on, free-to-use mobile media channel offering music, jokes and Bollywood content, interspersed with ads.

Business ROI as results of campaign: The channel gained 12 million subscribers in less than 10 months from launch, including one million unique callers per month.

#10 I Will What I Want. In 10th place is a video marketing campaign by Under Amour. The sports apparel brand turned around its “masculine” image to become a symbol of female athletic aspiration in the US. The creative idea connected Under Armour’s performance values to the true stories of women today achieving success on their own terms.

Business ROI as results of campaign: The campaign put the brand at the heart of a cultural conversation, achieving a complete turnaround in connecting with its new target and a 28% sales increase.

Now, you may think it is significant that the US has four campaigns in the top 10, led by Campbell Ewald’s "Project Architeuthis" for the US Navy and three campaigns from independent agency Droga5: "If We Made It", "This is Wholesome" and "I Will What I Want".

However, the US’s representation in the Warc 100 mirrors its 27.6% share of global ad spending, which was US$163.7 billion in 2015. By comparison, the UK, India, and Australia significantly outperformed in the Warc 100 relative to their share of global ad spending. So, being able to show the business impact of a campaign isn’t limited to us Yanks.