Ranked #1: Campaign: ‘Phone It In’ by PHD Auckland and Colenso BBDO Auckland for Skinny | Agency: Mindshare New York | Network: PHD Worldwide | Holding Company: WPP | Brand: Dove | Advertiser: Unilever | Country: USA

Levering partnerships to engage and amplify impact is a key media strategy for success

19 March 2024 – The WARC Media 100, the ultimate independent global benchmark of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies for media, is now released.  

Compiled by WARC Creative, helping companies deliver creative marketing that works, the annual Media 100 Ranking reflects the work that was awarded by the most important global and regional media shows in 2023. The awards tracked are determined by a yearly global panel survey and in consultation with the WARC Rankings Advisory Board.

Amy Rodgers, Head of Content, WARC Creative, said: “The WARC Media 100, league tables of the best of the best campaigns and companies for media, are an inspiration on how a campaign’s use of media can impact brand success and society.  

“A number of this year’s top campaigns leveraged partnerships to engage and amplify its impact with audiences. Second place campaign, ‘Pre Loved Island’, partnered with UK TV show Love Island to bring second hand clothes into the mainstream, while Argentine NGO Alma worked with footballer Leonardo Sigali to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Dove’s ‘#TurnYourBack’ also partnered with 68 influencers, including Gabrielle Union, to drive its message of body positivity further.”

#1 Campaign for media: ‘Phone It In’ by PHD Auckland / Colenso BBDO Auckland for Skinny 

Securing the top spot with a nearly 70-point lead is ‘Phone It In’ by PHD Auckland / Colenso BBDO Auckland for Skinny, a telecommunications provider in New Zealand. For this out-of-home campaign that doubled as a radio campaign, Skinny open-sourced 34 tailored radio scripts as OOH placements so anyone could record them on their mobile – for free. These then ran as radio ads for the brand.

James Davidson, GM of Planning, PHD New Zealand said: “This campaign exemplifies our commitment to outthink the competition, employing craft, nuance, and intelligence while keeping simplicity at the heart of our approach to leverage traditional channels in a creatively distinctive way. It was a true collaboration between agency and client as equal partners in creating innovative solutions that deliver measurable impact.”

In second place is ‘Pre-Loved Island’ by EssenceMediacom London / McCann London for eBay to change perceptions of second-hand clothing. In third, ‘#TurnYourBack’ by McCann Warsaw for Dove, responded to the harmful effects of generative AI face filters on girls’ mental health.  

#1 Agency for media: Mindshare New York 

Mindshare New York rose 31 places to top the agency ranking. 11 campaigns for a range of brands including Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, Vaseline, Tyson and Castrol, contributed to its points total, six of which ranked in the top 100. 

Adam Gerhart, Global CEO, Mindshare, said: “Being recognized by WARC is an incredible honor. More than any individual award, it’s a cumulative view across the industry, and a testament to how we work with clients and partners. Winning both the number one spot for media agency and a top spot for global media network speaks to the breadth of our capabilities and innovation worldwide, with programs that bring together content and commerce, that leverage AI for accelerated growth, and ultimately create enduring and diversified business growth for our clients.” 

Narrowly missing out on the top spot was PHD Auckland in 2nd place, an achievement largely due to this year’s #1 campaign, ‘Phone It In’. This marks its first appearance in the top 50 since 2019. In third is Mediaplus Munich, up from 14th place. Mediaplus Munich is also the most awarded independent media agency.

#1 Network for media: PHD

After many years of steadily climbing the rankings, PHD Worldwide has risen one place to become the highest ranked network for the first time. The network had 20 agencies contribute to its points total, with seven of these ranking in the top 50.

Guy Marks, CEO, PHD Worldwide, said: “PHD’s long-term focus on media creativity has seen us outpace our competitors to top the WARC Media 100 rankings. This is a testament to our unwavering commitment to pushing creative boundaries by fusing AI-driven insights and human ingenuity to deliver tangible business impact for our clients. As we celebrate PHD’s milestone achievement, we’re driven by our ambition to propel our agency and clients to outgrow the market.” 

Mindshare Worldwide rose from 4th place last year to take 2nd place, and EssenceMediacom takes 3rd place. While most of the top 10 networks maintained similar positions to last year, the most improved network is Havas Media Group, moving up five places to 7th. Serviceplan tops the independent networks for media, a position held since 2021.

#1 Holding Company for media: WPP

WPP has maintained its position at the top of the holding company ranking for seven consecutive years, with seven networks in the top 50, including three in the top five: Mindshare Worldwide ranked 2nd, EssenceMediacom in 3rd and Wavemaker in 5th. 

Christian Juhl, Global CEO of GroupM, WPP’s media investment company, says: “We’re enormously proud to continue our record of industry leadership in the WARC Media 100. Every day, our teams strive to ensure the work we do creates competitive advantages for our clients and raises the bar for excellence in our industry. To have that work recognised so consistently for its quality and creativity is a tribute to the ambition of our clients, the talent of our people, and our unrivalled commitment to defining the next era of media.”

The top six holding companies remain the same as last year, with Omnicom Group in 2nd place, but narrowing the gap between WPP, and Interpublic Group ranked third.

#1 Brand for media: Dove 

The best performing brand for media is Dove, up from 8th place last year. Continuing to create campaigns focused on challenging traditional beauty standards, five of its campaigns are ranked in the top 100, three of which are in the top ten. 

Firdaous El Honsali, VP Dove Masterbrand Global & North America, said: “We’re honoured that WARC has ranked Dove the #1 brand in the world. Coinciding with 20 years of Campaign for Real Beauty, this award is a testament to the role of powerful creativity to build emotional connections, drive change and deliver business impact. It’s incredible to be recognised for our continued commitment to redefining beauty standards for every woman, this accolade is dedicated to the entire Dove team and our partners who share our vision daily.”

Cadbury drops down to second place with three campaigns in the top 100 and McDonald’s, the most improved brand, moves up from 10th to 3rd place.

#1 Advertiser for media: Unilever

Unilever remains in first place for the fifth year in a row, widening the gap between it and the other advertisers. Overall, 28 brands contributed to its points total, three of which were in the top 50: Dove, Boost India and Vaseline.

Esi Eggleston Bracey, Chief Growth and Marketing officer, says: “Five years of media excellence in a row! Thank you to our HUGELY talented teams and agency partners who continue to innovate in a dynamic media landscape, boosting our brands to standout in the marketplace. A massive congratulations to Dove for leading from the front. On our mission to broaden the narrow definition of beauty, the team successfully cuts through the noise, taps into culture and drives business impact.” 

Mondelēz International and Anheuser Busch InBev have also maintained their positions ranked second and third respectively.

#1 Country for creativity: USA

The USA remains in 1st place for the seventh year in a row as the most awarded country for media. More than a quarter of the campaigns in the top 100 ran in the US, three of which made the top 10: ‘#TurnYourBack’ and ‘Toxic Influence’ for Dove, as well as ‘Lunchabuild This!’ for Lunchables.

The UK and India also maintained 2nd and 3rd place positions, although the gap between the two has shrunk significantly. Argentina is ranked in the top 10 for the first time.

The top ten most highly ranked campaigns and companies in the WARC Rankings Media 100 2024 are:

The WARC Media 100 has been compiled by applying a rigorous, unbiased and transparent methodology.

The WARC Media 100 Ranking can be viewed in full here. It includes the world’s top 100 awarded campaigns for media, top 50 agencies, agency networks, brands, advertisers, countries and top holding companies. For a limited time the WARC Media 100 summary report is available to all here.

The campaigns, case studies, credits and summary reports are available to WARC Creative members.

The WARC Creative 100 was recently revealed. The WARC Effective 100 will be announced on 25 March.