June 26th, 2014

Tootsie Roll Pops Stick in the Minds and Hearts of Americans


Ace Metrix


Almost two generations later, Mr. Owl continues to delight consumers by answering the age-old question, “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” We asked 500 consumers to score Tootsie Roll’s 40-year-old ad across our modern-day metrics of Persuasion and Watchability. What today’s consumers had to say validates the advertiser’s decision to run different iterations of the ad for decades. Here are just a few comments from consumers, some of who were not even born when the ad first debuted.

Men and women of all ages scored “Mr. Owl” well above norm, awarding the ad an overall score of 655, 15% above the 90-day rolling norm for the Candy & Gum category. But women 36-49 gave the ad its highest score of 713.

“Mr. Owl” drove incredibly high Likeability and Attention scores, but also scored well on Relevance and Desire, on par or exceeding scores of recent candy ads. In fact, compared to the high-production candy commercials of today (think M&M), which use green screens and CGI production, the hand-drawn execution and creative idea of the Tootsie Roll ad is unmatched in its ability to stand the test of time.

Of the 500 consumers surveyed, 326 left an optional comment during the ad’s survey. Twenty-nine percent of those respondents used either the word “love” or “loved” to describe their feelings towards “Mr. Owl.” The Candies & Snacks category typically sees use of these words by roughly 9% of consumers.

Ninety-two percent of the sample had seen the ad before, either on television or online, leaving only 8% of the respondents watching the ad for the very first time—what a treat for them! While viewers who had seen the ad before scored it above the Candy & Gum norm of 569, those who had not seen it before scored it just below at 551.

Consumers not only mention the ‘vintage’ nature of the ad but highlight the simplicity of the message and visuals – a testament to the creative idea and execution.

Amazingly (and fittingly), when answering the question, “How well does this ad represent the brand as you see it today?” a whopping 94% of survey respondents believed the iconic ad still embodies the brand, with 73% agreeing it represents the brand extremely well.  Of course, this is not entirely surprising given that the ad is still running today, and Tootsie Roll Pops have tried only one or two other new ads since the debut of “Mr. Owl”.

Reach out to us on Twitter to suggest your favorite throwback ads for next Thursday’s #TBT.


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