Emotional Connections Key to 2011’s Best-Liked TV Ads

December 22, 2011

nielsen-top-10-ads.jpgThe best-liked new TV ads of 2011 reflected the value of traditional ad elements such as strong creative, simple and engaging messaging, and a solid emotional connection, according to December 2011 analysis from Nielsen. The most-liked ad, with a “likeability” index of 231, was a Super Bowl spot for Volkswagen’s Passat, in which a boy dressed as Darth Vader believes he used “the force” to turn on a car. The index score of 231 means that among viewers, Volkswagen’s ad proved to be 131% better-liked than the average new commercial during the January 1 – November 30 period.
The only other commercial with a likability index of over 200 was an Oreo spot in which a boy wakes up his father at midnight for a Father’s Day treat (201). Rounding out the top 5 best-liked ads were commercials from St. Jude’s (191), Hallmark (190), and Real California Milk (189).

Q4 Auto Ads Fall Flat

In spite of the introduction of more than 150 new ads plugging new models and holiday promotions, automotive advertisers have experienced a lukewarm reception from US consumers in Q4, according to December analysis from Ace Metrix. Ads from Chevrolet were a notable exception, as the brand earned 3 of the top 4 most effective ads in the non-luxury automotive category, including the most effective ad, with an Ace Score of 632. Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. The results are presented on a scale of 0-950, which represents scoring on a number of creative attributes such as relevance, persuasion, “watchability,” information, and attention, among others.

4 of the top 10 luxury automotive ads were below the Ace Score norm, and overall, the luxury category performed far worse than its non-luxury counterpart.

Purell Best for Branded Integration on Scripted TV

Meanwhile, according to Nielsen, Purell’s placement on “The Big Bang Theory,” in which Sheldon used hand sanitizer after putting a live snake in a desk drawer, drew by far the highest recall index, at 271. The recall score is the percentage of TV viewers who can recall within 24 hours the brand/product of a branded integration they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing dramas or sitcoms, with 100 equaling the average score of all integrations occurring in the genre.

The closest-following integration in terms of recall score occurred for Red Bull on “Suburgatory” (214), when Tessa described the official drink of suburbia and people drank it repeatedly. Milton Bradley, Ferrari, and Subway took the next 3 spots, all with a recall index of more than 205. Hasbro took the 9th and 10th spots for Scrabble and Monopoly placements on “Desperate Housewives.”

American Idol Tops in Primetime Product Placements

Fox’s “American Idol” was the leading primetime program in terms of product placement activity, with 577 total occurrences during first-run episodes, ahead of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” which totaled 533. There was a relatively large drop-off to the third-ranked show, NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which garnered 391 total product placements. ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” followed right behind with 390, while Fox’s “The X Factor” came in fifth with 312.

About the Data: Nielsen’s Likeability Score is the percentage of TV viewers who report to like “a lot” an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing TV (among those recalling the brand of the ad). These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads during the period (Likeability Index). Only new ad executions were considered.

For the recall analysis, branded integrations were only considered if the occurrence had visual elements (i.e., was “seen” on-screen) or both visual and auditory elements (i.e., was both “seen” and “mentioned”). Only first-run episodes were considered. Both planned and incidental exposures were included.

For the product placement analysis, occurrence counts reflect the total number of show segments in which a brand/product appears or is mentioned. The analysis was conducted for primetime entertainment programming on 5 Broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC.

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