Evaluating Great Ads: A Definitive Guide for SME/SMI Owners

Evaluating Great Ads: A Definitive Guide for SME/SMI Owners

What distinguishes an ad from the rest?

As Marketers, we’re bombarded with tonnes of information overload, resulting in potential Information Obesity. This same predicament is also shared by our customers, the very people we’re trying to reach!

Basic Statistics

Information Overload

Information Overload

In order to stand out from the crowd, we need to be able to create, collate and communicate the intended message to our audience’s mind.

The benefits of knowing how to evaluate great ads include:

  • The increased ability to create and deliver marketing messages that are well-suited to the audience’s taste
  • The increased ability to improve the quality of ads produced
  • The ability to achieve better ROI on your branding efforts
  • An increase in your company’s brand value, using a simple ad or a series of integrated ads
  • Great, memorable ads that actually boost sales

What makes an ad great?

The questions one should always bear in mind are:

  • What is the ad trying to say?

Always deliver one, consistent message throughout, with only one objective in mind – the product / service in the ad has to be the centrepiece of attention, after all

  • Who are they talking to?

The more specific the target audience, the better! Ads that speak to the heart are usually the ones that win hearts. But it also needs to address the issue faced by the audience

  • Why would the target audience listen? Why should they care?

The more concrete the idea behind the ad, the more resonance the audience has with the brand. After all, an ad is a medium to deliver solutions to the needs and wants of your audience.

Example of a great ad “How the Dumb Ways to Die Game Got People To Be Even Safer Around Trains”

(http://mccann.com.au/project/dumb-ways-to-die / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev-R0tsreBw)

The objective of the ad is to promote rail safety and to educate and remind people to appreciate their lives. Accidents and deaths on Melbourne’s train system had been on the rise for years, but public safety messages didn’t seem to be working, especially with young people. The authorities hence looked for another way to drive this message home, turning to entertainment and branded content to engage the target market. So, instead of placing multiple safety messages across the board, which were effectively useless, the public safety message was delivered in a sarcastic way by depicting multiple scenarios of some of the dumbest ways to die. Results:

  • It convinced 1 million young people to pledge to be safer around trains, which resulted in a 21% reduction in accidents and deaths.
  • It was viewed 2.5 million times within 48 hours and 4.7 million times within 72 hours. Within two weeks, the video had been viewed 28 million times. As of June 2014 the video has had over 81 million views.


Dumb Ways to Die – Metro Trains Australia Results

“How the Dumb Ways to Die Game Got People To Be Even Safer Around Trains”

Awards & Accolades Garnered

  • Awards London International Awards 2013 – 29 Prizes ADMA Awards 2013 – 15 Prizes
  • Cresta Awards 2013 – 2 Prizes
  • National Safety Council Award

Spikes Asia 2013

  • Agency of the Year
  • 7 Grand Prix (Branded Content, Integrated, Promo & Activation, Digital, Radio, Film, Film Craft)
  • 11 Gold Spikes
  • 5 Silver Spikes
  • 4 Bronze Spike

The Australian Effie Awards 2013

  • 1 Silver Effie
  • 2 Bronze Effies

Cannes Lions 2013

  • 5 Grand Prix (Film, Integrated, Radio, Direct, PR)
  • 18 Gold Lions
  • 3 Silver Lions
  • 2 Bronze Lions

D&AD 2013

  • 1 Black Pencil
  • 5 Yellow Pencils
  • 3 Pencil Nominations
  • 5 in-books
  • Agency of the Year Most awarded campaign ever in D&AD’s history

Webbys 2013

  • 7 Webbys (in 4 categories)
  • Most awarded campaign of 2013

The One Show 2013

  • 3 Gold Pencils
  • 1 Bronze Pencil
  • 4 Merit awards
  • Best of Show 3rd ranked global agency, Metro Trains top ranked client.

One Show Interactive 2013

  • 1 Gold Pencil
  • 1 Merit award

One Show Entertainment 2013

  • 2 Gold Pencils

New York Festivals 2013

  • 1 Grand Award
  • 1 Gold Award
  • 1 Silver Award
  • 1 Bronze Award

Clio Awards 2013

  • 3 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • Top ranked Australian agency
  • Mumbrella Awards 2013
  • Mumbrella Award for Bravery
  • Australia’s Favourite TV Ad of the Year
  • Ad Campaign of the Year
  • Thinker of the Year (John Mescall)

AdNews Awards (held in Feb 2013)

  • 2012 Ad Campaign of the year
  • 2012 Ad of the Year


  • Selected among TED’s top 10 Ads Worth Spreading 2013, the only Australian advertisement ever to have been so recognised.

AdFest 2013

  • Grand Lotus for Film
  • 2 Gold Integrated Lotus awards
  • 1 Gold Lotus in Interactive
  • 1 Silver Outdoor Lotus
  • 1 Bronze Lotus in Interactive
  • Second ranked Australian agency

Sirens 2013

  • Gold Siren – Overall category winner
  • Silver Siren – Single category winner
  • Campaign of the Year
  • Siren Client Awards (voted by judging panel of clients)

Mumbrella Ad of the Month

  • November 2012

ACES 2013

  • Best Australian Television and Cinema Commercial

2013 Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards

  • 4 Gold (in categories: Most Effective Use of Branded Content; Charities, Public Health & Safety & Public Awareness Messages; Most Effective Use of Social Media Marketing; Best Integrated Marketing Campaign) Shortlisted in Best Non-traditional Thinking / Non-advertising Idea

WARC Prize for Innovation 2013

  • Finalist

Very Short International Film Festival 2013

  • Prize of the people – runner up

Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2013

  • Winner – Best Commissioned Film

International Music & Sound Awards 2013

  • Best original composition in non-broadcast or viral advertising/shortlisted


  • Finalist, best non-traditional thinking non advertising idea