Press Release

December 22nd, 2011

Ace Metrix Reveals the Secrets to the Most Effective Holiday Ads of 2011

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—December 22, 2011– There were 30 percent more holiday ads in 2011 than 2010, reported Ace Metrix, the authority in television advertising effectiveness. But not all of them performed well, in fact, more than half of all holiday ads received Ace Scores that were below their category norms. The key characteristics of this year’s more successful holiday ads include philanthropy, story telling, and the creative inclusion of Santa Claus.

Retail and automotive remain the most prolific categories while a few unexpected brands got into the holiday spirit and created stand-out ads, including Jack Daniels, Aleve, Pillsbury, Marie Callender’s, and Allstate, which performed well above their category counterparts.

“Santa’s negotiating power has increased based on the effectiveness of this year’s top holiday ads. T’was the season of story telling and Santa as Star,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix of the most effective ads this holiday season.  “It turns out, Santa sells:  there were 35 new ads that featured Santa Claus this season, and each one scored higher than the norm.”

Case in point, the top scoring ad featured Santa talking to Siri on his iPhone for assistance with his 3.7 billion appointments. Best Buy aired the most effective campaign of the holiday season. The  “Game on Santa” campaign, which ran a total of eight holiday-themed ads that provoked Santa with smart buying moms, were consistently higher scoring than the ads of its competitors.

But for many of the top ads, Santa was the key to consumer connection­– whether using classic Santa in a red coat and white beard (Apple, Coca-Cola), the children’s enthusiastic desire to reach Santa (Macy’s), or the depiction of a back-aching workshop Santa (Aleve).

2011 Top Holiday Ads*

Brand Ad Title Ace Score Percentage Above Category Norm
Apple Santa Uses Siri 652 8%
Pillsbury Dough Boy Takes Us Home for the Holiday 633 16%
Coca-Cola Santa Shakes a Snow Globe 631 7%
Nintendo Last Place Has to Do the Dance 627 16%
Duracell Mattel Children’s Hospital 623 10%
Aleve Get a Pain Free Holiday 621 16%
Marie Callender’s Adults are Over-rated 619 14%
Macy’s Kids Are on the Floor 618 21%
Sears Preheat Event 613 14%
Best Buy Best Buy Mobile: Verizon 609 17%

*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 relevance, persuasion, watchability, information, attention, etc.

For others, the key to effective holiday ads was in the story telling. Pillsbury and Marie Callender’s aired top-scoring holiday spots with heartwarming story telling ads. Others, Duracell and Macy’s, both sponsored charities this season and had philanthropic ads in support of them.

“Story telling ads have become more and more popular this year because of their consumer effectiveness,” commented Daboll. “But humor, and a focus on the product works too, as we see with Apple, Nintendo and Sears spots.”

In addition to pure story telling, holiday ads that appeared from categories not typically associated with the holidays performed well. Daboll said, “It’s a welcome surprise to see brands such as Jack Daniels, Aleve and Allstate integrating holiday themes and as a result, delivering category leading ads.”

Ace Metrix will reveal the Top 10 Ads of the Quarter and Top Ads for the Year on January 4th, 2012.

About Ace Metrix
Ace Metrix is the industry authority in measuring and understanding the impact of advertising creative. Through patent-pending Ace Score™ 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 global advertisers.

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