Press Release

September 2nd, 2014

Ace Metrix Gives Kohl’s an “A” in Back to School Advertising

Ace Metrix Gives Kohl’s an “A” in Back to School Advertising

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA.—September 2, 2014—Ace Metrix®, the standard in television and video advertising analytics, today announced its wrap-up of top scoring brands and ads of the 2014 back to school season. With the debut of the first ad in mid-June, total back to school ad volume has increased year-over-year by 25%. Of those ads, 76% aired for retail brands. Target debuted the overall highest rated spot, “Supplies They Need,” which consumers awarded an Ace Score of 673. While retail brands make up a bulk of back to school ads, household, technology and food-related brands actually took most of the top spots for overall highest scoring ads, across categories.

“The top ads employed a variety of creative approaches, from placing Dads at the center of the storyline to incorporating humor, philanthropy and promotions—proving again that there is no formula to exceptionally effective creative,” said Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO. “Kohl’s performance as the brand with the highest average Ace Score is particularly remarkable given that it debuted the most back to school ads. While making a single piece of high scoring creative is worthy of note, creating a portfolio of high performing ads is truly extraordinary.”

Top Retail Back to School Ads of 2014*

Rank Brand Ad Title

Ace Score

1 Target Supplies They Need


2 Best Buy Four Majors


3 Old Navy Spelling Bee


4 Kohl’s Back To School :30


5 Best Buy Get It All


6 Kohl’s Back To School


7 Payless Back To School Styles :30


8 Staples Excitement


9 Kohl’s Dorm Destination


9 Target Back To School


*Definition: Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 1-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as Persuasion, Relevance, Information, Attention, Change, Desire and Watchability.

Kohl’s is the most prolific back to school advertiser, airing 14 back to school ads, most of which focused on its seasonal styles and sales. The department store brand also had the highest average Ace Score (552), with Walmart, JCPenney and Staples falling next in line, of brands airing three or more pieces of back to school creative. Target’s “Supplies They Need” earned the highest Ace Score (673) and was the only Target spot to feature the charitable program which matches all supplies sales with a donation to the Kids in Need Foundation. The program contributed greatly to the strong score with 48% of respondents identifying the message or the featured offer to be the best thing about the ad, while another  8% said it was the visuals and 7% said the music.

While moms are generally thought of as the primary back to school shoppers, some brands went rogue and showed dads being the back to school hero, a creative spin that was completely absent last year. Ads featuring dads in a leading role scored, on average, 6% higher with consumers. The highest rated dad-centered ad is Dell’s “A Genius,” which consumers gave an Ace Score of 624—the fourth highest score overall. Sonic, Radio Shack, Yoplait and Toyota also jumped on the dad-wagon, each also using humor to grab consumer attention.

The use of humor was dramatically higher than previous years, with 34% of back to school ads using humor this year, whereas only 16% of ads used humor in 2013. While scores for funny ads this year were higher than those of last year, funny ads on average performed less well than other back to school ads. The most effective, funny ads came from Sonic. Its 0:30 and 0:15 ads, “Letter Jacket,” earned 616 and 612, respectively, and were a new twist on its back to school ads from the prior year.

About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix® is the new standard in television and video analytics, dedicated to delivering better, faster and more cost-effective solutions for evaluating video advertising within competitive context. Through the Ace Metrix LIVE® platform, companies can now access timely, actionable data wherever, whenever they need to, enabling real-time advertising campaign optimization. Combining leading edge technology and patent pending methodology, Ace Metrix is revolutionizing the way marketers measure themselves and their competitive landscape. The Company is privately held and is backed by leading venture capital firms and industry leaders, including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Palomar Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures and WPP.

Follow Ace Metrix on Twitter for sustained insight: @Ace_Metrix.

PR Contact:  Michelle Robertson   |    646-279-5775    |

Note: Ace Metrix®, the Ace Metrix logo design, Ace Score®, Ace Metrix LIVE® and Creative Lifecycle Management® are registered trademarks of Ace Metrix, Inc. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.



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