Press Release

January 13th, 2011

Ace Metrix Reveals the Best and Worst Celebrity Endorsements of 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA–January 13, 2011– Ace Metrix™, the authority in television advertising effectiveness, today released findings from a groundbreaking new study that proves empirically that ads featuring a celebrity perform no better than ads without, and in many cases perform much worse. The study, “Celebrity Advertisements: Exposing a Myth of Advertising Effectiveness,” tested more than 2,600 television ads over the course of 2010 and found that fewer than 12 percent of ads using celebrities exceeded a 10 percent lift versus average industry norms, and nearly 20 percent of celebrity ads yielded negative lift scores in excess of 10 percent.1

“This research proves unequivocally that, contrary to popular belief, the investment in a celebrity in TV advertising is very rarely worthwhile,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “It is the advertising message that creates the connection with the viewer in areas such as relevance, information, and attention, and this remains the most important driver of ad effectiveness.”

2010’s Worst Celebrity TV Ad Performances

It should come as no surprise that the worst celebrity spokesperson of 2010 was Tiger Woods, led by his endorsement of Nike. Collectively, Woods’ TV ads were 23 percent less effective than average, and Americans in general, regardless of gender or age, were equally unreceptive to his ads.

Ads featuring topics such as saving wildlife, Dawn’s “Wash Away” and saving trees, Starbuck’s “The Big Picture”, scored high. The Dawn “Wash Away” ad was the highest scoring Q2 ad with an Ace Score 699.

“Tiger’s ads in 2010 did very little to inform consumers about the products he was endorsing – they were all about Tiger. This was confusing to consumers,” Daboll said. “At the end of the day, his endorsement likely cost his sponsors much more than just the fee for his services.”

2010’s Worst Celebrity TV Ads By Negative Lift (Sink)*

Rank Celebrity Brand Ad Title Lift
1 Tiger Woods Nike Did You Learn Anything? -30%
2 Lance Armstrong Radio Shack No Emoticons -28%
3 Kenny Mayne Gilette Good Segment -28%
4 Dale Earhnhardt Jr. Nationwide Auto Insurance Coverage at the Right Price -27%
5 Donald Trump Macy’s Making Timmy a Mogul -24%

* A complete list of Worst Celebrity ads can be found in Ace Metrix’s “Celebrity Advertisements: Exposing a Myth of Advertising Effectiveness” White Paper.

2010’s Most Effective Celebrity TV Ad Performances

As the star of three of the top five celebrity ads, Oprah Winfrey proved that not all celebrities are created equal.

2010’s Top Celebrity TV Ads By Lift

Rank Celebrity Brand Ad Title Lift
1 Oprah Winfrey Liberty Mutual Think You Can Text and Drive? 34%
2 Ed Burns iShares Ed Burns Swallows Camera 28%
3 Oprah Winfrey Progressive Matthew Wilhound Killed by Cell Phone User 24%
4 Oprah Winfrey Progressive Distracted Driving 22%
5 Carl Weathers Bud Light Bud Light Playbook 18%

“What’s important about Oprah’s performance as a spokesperson was that each of her ads delivered a highly relevant message: ‘don’t text and drive.’ Her ads were not selling or pushing a particular product, but discussing a highly relevant and information-laden topic. Oprah, coupled with this message, not surprisingly, performed very well across all gender and age groups. The most effective ads do not merely appeal to a single target audience but across a wide, general audience,” Daboll said. “Celebrities are often polarizing, even within demographic targets, which creates additional uncertainty and risk beyond the campaign message.”

On average, TV ads starring Oprah generated an average lift of 27 percent, a spectacular result, especially considering the product she was promoting was insurance, an industry that suffers from a relatively low industry norm. Consequently, each of Oprah’s TV ads performed well, not only in an absolute sense (i.e., across all ads), but also in a relative sense (i.e., among all 2010 insurance ads).

About the Study
In 2010, Ace Metrix tested 263 unique nationally televised ads featuring celebrity endorsements as part of the Ace Metrix syndicated Creative Effectiveness Platform. These ads spanned 16 industries and 110 brands. All ads were tested within 48 hours of breaking nationally, thereby capturing immediate rather than “cultivated” advertising effectiveness. In addition, a “control group” of non-celebrity ads was analyzed for the sake of comparison. Our proprietary Ace ScoreTM provides a metric of relative comparison; they allow performance evaluation in a variety of competitive settings: (i) compared with another ad; (ii) compared with the average of all ads in our database; (iii) compared with an ad’s competitive set; or (iv) compared with some other configuration of ads.

About Ace Metrix
Ace Metrix is the industry authority in measuring and understanding the impact of advertising creative. Through patent-pending Ace ScoreTM measurement technology, Ace Metrix collects and measures the consumer impact of every nationally breaking TV ad in near real-time. Through its Creative Lifecycle Management suite of products, Ace Metrix provides actionable creative analysis, from ideation through real-time in-market performance optimization, to many of the world’s leading advertisers and agencies. Ace Metrix works with leading advertisers including Big Lots, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., ConAgra, Nissan North America and others. For more information please see

Note: Ace Metrix and Ace Score are trademarks of Ace Metrix. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

1 An advertising “lift” statistic is a simple improvement calculation that shows—in percentage terms—how much better or worse an ad did compared with its industry competition.


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