Ahead of its annual year-end “Brand of the Year” list — the brands in 15 categories that pulled the highest average TV ad scores for the year — Ace Metrix has this year released a “watch list” of the five brands with the highest scores year-to-date as of Nov. 1.
To qualify for contention, a brand has to have aired at least five TV ads within the year.
Some notable trends among the front-runners:
*Restaurants are leading the pack. All five of the top restaurant/QSR category brands year-to-date (YTD) — Applebee’s, Baskin-Robbins, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Outback – have average Ace scores in the 600’s (specific scores won’t be released until year-end). That’s impressive even by the standards of this category, which has a high average score (571, YTD 2012) compared to many other categories.
Casual-dining restaurant brand ads have performed particularly well this year, thanks to consumers perceiving these venues as a small, affordable luxury as economic recovery continues (many of these ads stress value, along with taste/quality, as a key or primary selling point), notes Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll.
*Some of the biggest beer and soft drink brands are absent. Three of the alcoholic beverage front-runners are beer brands, but brands like Budweiser, Miller and Coors are not among them. Instead, the front-runners are Blue Moon, Heineken and Samuel Adams – along with spirits brands Jack Daniel’s and Maker’s Mark. (Last year’s most effective ads in this category included Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light.) The average YTD 2012 Ace score for alcoholic beverages is 481.
In the non-alcoholic beverages category (average YTD Ace score: 547), the front-runners include Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew, but not other big soft drink brands like Pepsi and Dr Pepper. Instead, three of the top five are non-soft drinks: Ocean Spray, Tropicana and Gatorade.
*Tech brand influence is shifting toward mobile/tablets. Last year, technology category Ace-score advertising leaders included Apple hardware and Microsoft hardware/software, reflecting the Mac-versus-PC battle. This year, those products aren’t among the YTD front runners.
Instead, the five tech-ad leaders are Apple’s iPhone (despite Samsung having run three times as many ads for it mobile phones in 2012); Samsung’s hardware (its Galaxy Note tablets have so far trumped the iPad on Ace scores); Samsung’s television brands; Google (for its Nexus 7 tablet); and PlayStation.
Front-runners on the “watch list” in other categories YTD include:
*Candies and snacks: Hershey’s, M&M’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, Pepperidge Farm and Reese’s. (Average YTD category Ace score: 558.)
*Financial: CapitalOne, Citibank, E*Trade, Ameritrade and Visa. (Average YTD category Ace score: 483.)
*General business: Ad Council, AT&T, GE, Panasonic and Procter & Gamble/P&G. (Average YTD category Ace score: 566.)
*Household: Bounty, Downy, Febreze, Scrubbing Bubbles and Swiffer. (Average YTD category Ace score: 560.)
*Insurance: Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide and State Farm. (Average YTD category Ace score: 509.)
*Luxury auto: Acura, BMW, Buick, Cadillac and Infinity. (Average YTD category Ace score: 552.)
*Non-luxury auto: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen. (Average YTD category Ace score: 529.)
*Packaged foods: Campbell’s, Oscar Mayer, Pillsbury, Progresso and Special K. (Average YTD category Ace score: 553.)
*Personal care: Crest, Dove, Dr. Scholl’s, Listerine and Old Spice. (Average YTD category Ace score: 501.)
*Retail: Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Victoria’s Secret and Walgreens. (Average YTD category Ace score: 514.)
*Telecommunications: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and XFinity. (Average YTD category Ace score: 524.)