December 16th, 2015

The Force is Strong with These Brands


Ace Metrix

Here at Ace Metrix we are just as excited as the rest of the world about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens this week with unprecedented fanfare, great anticipation, and record-breaking box office expectations.

While we can’t tell you if you’ll like the movie or if it will live up to the hype, we can tell you how America has reacted to the Star Wars themed ads. To that end, we’ve channeled our excitement into an exploration of how brands have capitalized on the Star Wars marketing machine and used the Force to deliver compelling ad creative.

In general, we measure creative performance across several component scores to form the Ace Score. For our Star Wars-themed ad discussion, we think it really comes down to whether or not people liked the ad. We’ve tested ads from sixteen brands, many with multiple ads, and below are the ten ads with the highest Likeability scores. It’s worth noting that the entire set below achieved Ace Scores above category norms, indicating that these are not only likeable, but effective ads. We’ve included brands that have formal partnerships with Lucasfilm, as well as those not explicitly aligned with the movie. Each ad has been scored by its very own unique panel of 500 respondents, balanced to the US census for age, gender and household income. Here’s which ads have earned the highest Likeability scores and what those Americans noted as the “Single Best Thing About the Ad.”

Top 10 Most “Liked” Star Wars Themed Ads

Brand Ad Title Ad Length Likeability Score Single Best Thing About the Ad
HP “Reinvent Romance with R2-D2 (:30)”  :30  722 Visual Scenes (23%)
Duracell “Battle For Christmas Morning”  1:00  720  Visual Scenes (35%)
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Can’t Play”  :30  696  Product Itself (21%)
Subway  “The SUBWAY Cantina”  :30  691  Characters (20%)
Toys “R” Us Like Father, Like Daughter :30″  :30  690  Characters (20%)
EA Video Games “The Fight”  :30  686  Visual Scenes (24%)
Dodge “The Force Gathers”  :30  667  Visual Scenes (22%), Music (22%)
Verizon “A better network as explained by Star Wars”  :30  665  Characters (30%)
 Jeep “Shooting Star”  :30  665  Visual Scenes (42%)
Subway “Fit for Kids”  :25  661  Product Itself (17%)

Some of these ads rely on awe-inspiring visuals, some tell touching stories, and one or two even use a bit of humor. A few interesting observations:

  • Demonstrating the broad appeal of Star Wars, five of these ten most-liked ads scored higher among women and the other five scored higher among men. Duracell has the most-liked ad among men, scoring highest among men 36-49. This is interesting because a segment of this audience group were children when the original Star Wars (IV: A New Hope) opened in 1977. That said, nostalgia might be the driving force here. Said two viewers from that group:

    “Loved the humor and brings back a lot of great Star Wars memories growing up.”

    “I will admit to initially being put off by ANOTHER Star Wars tie-in, but the energy and craziness of the commercial won me over in the end. Well done, Duracell! May the sales be with you!”

  • HP’s ad is the most liked among women¬– employing a winning combination of a Star Wars character and schmaltzy romance. In addition to being liked, among women, the ad also outscored Computer Hardware category norms for Information and Change (brand perception), indicating there an authentic tie-in between the theme and the product. Two female viewers commented:

    “It was adorable. I loved R2-D2 delivering tickets to the girl. Really sweet commercial that shows new technology”

    “I loved the romance in this ad. That was the best part, it was a great way to sell the product and the movie. R2-D2 was really an eye catcher”

  • Toys “R” Us’ ad, “Like Father, Like Daughter” is the second favorite among women, and scored highest among women 36-49. This ad struck an emotional chord among that group, who, once again, might have memories of seeing the early movies during their childhood.
  • Two of these ads, HP and Verizon, scored over 10% higher than their brand norm for Likeability, demonstrating the power of Star Wars to help these brands breakthrough.
  • For the two ads that centered around characters and themes from the original Star Wars movies, Verizon and Subway’s “The SUBWAY Cantina”, the characters were named the “Single Best Thing About the Ad.” Not surprisingly, for two ads with high integration of visuals from the movie, Duracell and Jeep, the visual scenes were named the best thing.

With the exception of EA’s ad, brand recognition ran high for all of these ads, ranging from 62% for Toys “R” US and HP to 82% for Jeep. This is measured by response to an open-ended question about who the advertiser is. For EA’s ad, “Star Wars” was named as the brand, which is logical since it’s in the name of the video game (Star Wars Battlefront). For all of the ads “Star Wars” appeared in the responses as well, second to the actual brand name, demonstrating the combined strength of brand and entertainment entity in these ads.

While consumers connected with these very likeable ads, time will tell if brands continue to reap the rewards of their Star Wars association.



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