The art of creating ads that last

Do marketers need to change their ads often in order to stay connected with people or do ads have staying power that can deliver over time? With marketing budgets under constant pressure, marketers need to understand when it's time to switch gears, and how to evolve without compromising consistency.
19 October 2023
Ecem Erdem

Global Creative Thought Leadership Manager

Do ads come with an expiry date, or do they set in as they become more familiar?

Kantar’s tracking data shows that there is no evident impact of how long the ad has been running on ads’ performance. Comparing the second burst of TV tests to the first, approximately a third of ads show no change in performance, while around a third has decrease, and a third with increase. What this shows us is that wear out is not some unavoidable destiny for ads, it is possible to create strong ads that can maintain their success.

One of this year’s Kantar Creative Effectiveness Awards winners, ‘Tealand’ for Twinings, is a great example of creative staying power. This creative maintained its effectiveness for almost a decade. The ad uses visual storytelling successfully through the evergreen theme of Alice in Wonderland, an escapist and fantastical journey that clearly has remained relevant. While the awarded creative is from Chile, ‘Tealand’ has a long history of success. 


Tealand is an ad that conquers not only time but also geographies, as the original creative was first launched in Europe. Almost a decade after the original test, data shows that the ad is still as enjoyable and as distinctive, with a highly strong potential to contribute to the brand’s equity, as measured by Demand Power Contribution score. It may be rare for brands to run an ad for quite so many years, but this case shows that strong ads do not necessarily wear out. 



Do digital ads lose their spark in a fast-changing world?

While there is no visible pattern of wearout for TV ads, there seems to be a slightly different picture for the enjoyability of digital ads. According to Kantar’s ad tracking data, only 6% of digital ads’ enjoyability remained unchanged on the second burst of post-testing versus the first, and over half of them became less enjoyable.
Considering how fast-paced the digital environment is with social media trends changing rapidly, and brand content racing with user content in the same league when it comes to entertainment, it is not shocking to see digital advertising tending to be less resistant in enjoyability. However, ratio of changes in the persuasion metric (which measures an ad’s ability to impact purchase consideration) were the same as TV ads – with a third unchanged, and a decrease in 1/3. So, while it might be naturally expected for digital ads to be less entertaining after a certain time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their overall effectiveness would wear out as quickly.

When is the right time to move to a new creative?

Will a new ad, with a potentially refreshed (or new) message, be more effective than an existing ad, and will that increased effectiveness justify the cost of creating that ad?  It is important to evaluate your needs before moving onto a new ad. It is all about being clear on objectives and understanding whether your creative delivers. An ad being around for some time does not automatically means it’s not delivering. Ultimately, your decision should be driven by data. 


Creative quality is marketers’ best friend and clearly is an investment that can continue giving when done well. However, media planning also remain crucial. While it is possible for a high-quality creative to stand strong against time, the risk of oversaturation and the need to find a sweet spot in frequency should not be forgotten. Saturation of media weight over a short space of time can also create the impression of ad wear out; however, in such cases it may be the media buying strategy, rather than the effectiveness of the specific execution, that needs to be reviewed. Kantar’s CrossMedia solution can help you with that by providing analytics on cross-media campaign reach, frequency, and audience demographics in real-time

How to use time to your campaign’s advantage

It takes some time for consumers to associate the core idea and theme with your brand. Ads that are a continuation of existing campaigns in Kantar’s Link database are stronger in Branding metric compared to those kicking off a new campaign. Our conclusion is that staying consistent in your communication is key to success in establishing your brand’s personality. Creating campaigns that carries the brand’s DNA is one of the most important drivers of marketing effectiveness. Committing to distinctive brand assets is a great way to do this which allows brands to carry their essence even through different creative executions.


Source: Kantar Link Database

Consistency doesn’t mean that you need to repeat the same creative route for every new communication.  Staying consistent through new campaigns is not mutually exclusive with producing fresh content. Marmite is one of the brands that does it right. While the ads from the brand can follow different stories with different emotional tones, such as the iconic and humorous ‘Rescue’ from 2013, and ‘Baby scan’ aired this year which follows a more emotional and heart-warming story, the well-known ‘Love it or hate it’ core idea remains consistent in all communications of the brand, demonstrating it is possible to commit to a distinctive asset through time and executions. Time is not an enemy necessarily that wears ads out and can be an ally in establishing your brand.

3 things marketers need to know about strong creatives that stay connected with the consumer

1. Time alone is not enough reason to move on from a creative route. Marketers should evaluate their needs and objectives first and consider re-evaluating effectiveness of current campaigns through testing before spending on a new route.

2. Creative quality is the main driver of impact, leverage media planning to prevent oversaturation. A high-quality creative would have the potential to continue delivering for a long time. It is also important to plan media buying strategy wisely as it can also create the impression of ad wear out

3. Consistency is key, and campaigns can evolve while staying consistent with the brand’s core associations. It takes time to establish distinctive brand assets, and consistency is the key. Even when it’s time to move on to a new creative route, it is important to commit to your brand’s essence for marketing success.