October 6th, 2014

Top Ads of Q3 2014 Entertain with Humor, Philanthropy and Information


Ace Metrix


As we enter another busy holiday season, let’s first take a look back at what creative power we saw between July and October. We gathered more than 750,000 responses, and another 450,000 qualitative voice of the consumer comments about the 1,500 new ads of Q3.  From the 30 qualifying categories (those that ran more than 10 ads this quarter and at least 20 ads in the last 12 months), we see top performers using humor, emotion, and good old fashion product demonstrations to outperform their competitors anywhere from 5 percent to upwards of 30 percent.

Click the category link to jump ahead or stroll through them in sequence.

Top Ads of Q3 2014

Category Brand Ad Title Ace Score Percent Above Category Norm
Apparel & Footwear Hanes Hanes X-Temp



Appliances Frigidaire Super Mom



Auto – Luxury Infiniti Reverse Worries



Auto – Non-Luxury Chevrolet Best Thing Ever



Automotive Services Carfax Find What You Want



Beverages – Beer Angry Orchard Cider Fresh Apples



Beverages – Non-Alcoholic Lipton Refreshing Flavor :30



Beverages – Soda Canada Dry Jack’s Surprise



Beverages – Spirits Smirnoff Ice Summer Sensation



Candies & Snacks Twix Boss Tells Employee to Get Out



Financial Services – Banking, Investment & Mortgage PayPal Your Money Is Safe/One Touch



Financial Services – Credit Cards MasterCard One More Day



Household Scott Save The Tubes



Insurance Farmers Other Insurance Hiding Coverage



Packaged Foods Boar’s Head Cheese Golden Switzerland Cheese



Personal Care – Cosmetics Revlon Olivia Wilde: Glossy Wet Color



Personal Care – Hair Head & Shoulders C.J. Wilson: A Big Line



Personal Care – Main Band-Aid Supporting the Troops



Personal Care – Skin Olay Skin No Sleep Required



Pets Fresh Step Dog Thinks the Cat is Gone



Pharmaceuticals – OTC Aleve Woman Experiencing Pain



Restaurants – Casual Dining TGI Friday’s Endless Apps :30



Restaurants – QSR Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie



Retail Target Supplies They Need



Technology – Hardware Microsoft Hardware Power



Technology – Mobile Devices Samsung Mobile Phones Don’t Be A Wall Hugger



Technology – Software & Websites Google Dream



Technology – Video Games & Consoles Playstation Software – Mature Become Legend



Telecom Services Hulu Watch Now



Travel Delta Airlines Traveling Mystery



Apparel & Footwear

We’re excited to welcome Hanes back to the Ad of the Quarter list with another humorous spot for its X-TEMP technology underwear. “Hanes X-Temp” brought a category-high score for the quarter with an Ace Score of 591, 17.2% above the 12-month Apparel & Footwear norm. The ad effectively communicates new messages, demonstrating it’s “converter” personality through strong Information and Change scores.  The ad’s Information score came in 11% above the category’s 90-day norm while the Change score is 7% above norm.

While the ad is, obviously, creatively effective, it is also successful at being amusing. Upon leaving optional feedback for the advertiser, 16% of consumers mentioned how the ad was “funny.” Michael Jordan also got plenty of shout outs with 7% of consumers using his name positively to describe their thoughts and feelings on the ad.

Watch “Hanes X-Temp” >


Frigidaire has topped some of our lists before, and their latest winner, “Super Mom,” gives them another medal for the shelf. Consumers awarded “Super Mom” an Ace Score of 651, which is 6.2% above the 12-month Appliances norm. The Appliances category is certainly one of the most competitive and high scoring, but this ad was able to shine with likeable characters and high amounts of information. The ad had a Likeability score of 679, which is 10% above the 90-day norm for that component (no doubt assisted by the cute kid featured). In fact, 11% of consumers indicated that the characters were the best part of the ad.

The ad’s informative voiceover helped communicate the latest features of the new Frigidaire oven, which boosted the Information score to 673, 10% above the quarter’s norm for the category. The child narrator also delivered a sweet and relevant message, promoting Frigidaire’s time saving features – leaving more time for mom to spend with the family. Those who felt the message was the best thing (9% of respondents) scored the ad the highest (715). With a cute kid, relevant message and a shiny new oven in a pretty kitchen, the ad won a strong Desire score of 680, which is 11% above the norm.

Watch “Super Mom” >

Auto – Luxury

While we’re all waiting around for self-driving cars, auto manufactures are already developing the next best thing—auto-intelligent safety features. Infiniti’s winning ad, “Reverse Worries,” entered our database with an Ace Score of 642, which is 13.3% above the 12-month Luxury Auto norm. While being informational, the ad was also able to win by being extremely relevant for consumers. On the component of Information, the ad scored 20% above the category’s 90-day norm.

Likewise, safety was a dire point of interest for consumers during the commercial. Seventeen percent of survey respondents mentioned “safety” when discussing their thoughts and feelings on the ad. This likely helped the Relevance component achieve its score of 671, which is 20% above the 90-day norm. Additionally, while 31% of consumers agreed that the ad’s car was the best part of the ad, another 21% indicated that the ad’s message was the best element.

Auto – Non-Luxury

Chevrolet released this aptly timed ad about the same time as Apple held its September special event. The ad also does a little cheeky play on Samsung’s “Next Best Thing” campaign. The ad, titled “Best Thing Ever,” earned an Ace Score of 636, which is 15.6% above the 12-month Non-Luxury Auto norm. “Best Thing Ever” greatly exceeded all of the component norms, but especially in terms of Information and Change. The Information component was awarded a score of 709, which was a whopping 25% above the 90-day category norm. Likewise, Change received an impressive score of 700, 16% above norm.

This ad had many positive aspects going for it. While 28% of consumers said that the product was the best thing about the ad, 21% indicated that the ad’s message was the best thing. Additionally, consumers who are planning on purchasing or leasing a new car within the next six months awarded the ad an impressive Ace Score of 714.

Watch “Best Thing Ever” >

Automotive Services

Carfax’s “Find What You Want” earned the highest Ace Score of the Automotive Services category with an Ace Score of 628, outperforming the Automotive Services category 12-month norm by 12.7%.

While men and women both awarded the ad above norm Ace Scores, women still scored 6% higher than what men scored it. As the optional comments for the ad reveal, women found the ad particularly informative, with 11% mentioning it in their feedback for the advertiser.

“Find What You Want” performed particularly well in terms of Attention, scoring 11% above the 90-day norm. Part of the high Attention score may be attributed to the adorable fox in the ad, which 14% of consumers said was the absolute best thing about the ad.

Watch “Find What You Want” > 

Beverages – Beer

While Beer ads are often polarizing, Angry Orchard’s “Fresh Apples” skillfully creates a message that even non-beer drinkers don’t think is half bad. With an Ace Score of 562, the ad outdid the 12-month Beer category norm by 10.6%.

Of all the beer drinkers, consumers who have consumed flavored-type beers within the last 30 days scored “Fresh Apples” the highest with an Ace Score of 705. The ad was able to achieve that score by providing an orchard-full of information and creatively crafting that info with crisp visuals for a high Desire score. Information scored 17% above the 90-day norm while Desire scored 10% above norm.

Twenty percent of consumers said that the ad’s visuals were the best thing about the ad, while another 20% indicated the product itself were the best thing about the ad.

Watch “Fresh Apples” >

Beverages – Non-Alcoholic

Lipton’s “Refreshing Flavor” had the highest Ace Score in the third quarter for the Non-Alcoholic Beverages category. Featuring the world’s most-adored puppets, consumers awarded “Refreshing Flavor” an Ace Score of 660, which is 16% above the 12-month Non-Alcoholic Beverages norm.

This ad won most significantly on the components of Likeability and Attention, which both scored 15% above the category’s 90-day norms. This ad received its best scores from women 50+ (Ace Score 686) followed by women 36-49 (Ace Score 674). Some portion of the ad’s high score can be attributed to the song-and-dance from the Muppets. An impressive 41% of consumers all agreed that the Muppets were the best thing about the ad. Including the lovable characters also garnered an Emotional Sentiment score of 67, the fourth highest of all ads to win Ad of the Quarter for Q3.

But, Muppets alone don’t make great creative. The characters do a nice job of attracting and maintaining attention but not outshining the product (which some more polarizing celebrities can do). Thirteen percent of optional verbatims mention the Lipton brand by name.

 Watch “Refreshing Flavor” >


Beverages – Soda

Canada Dry took a refreshing take on soda commercials with its winning ad, “Jack’s Surprise.” The ad garnered an Ace Score of 612, a score 11.5% above the 12-month Soda category norm. Winning on the components of Likeability, Attention and Desire, the ad was able to combine humor and information in a creative way. The Likeability and Attention scored 13% and 12, respectively, above the category’s 90-day norm. Likewise, Desire also scored 13% above norm.

There were many things to love about “Jack’s Surprise.” Consumers found the ad’s characters (14%) and the brand (14%) to be the best thing about the ad, while even more found the ad’s visuals (21%) and product (19%) to be the best thing. Either way, consumers agreed that this was an amusing ad, with 12% mentioning it was “funny” in their optional feedback for the advertiser.

 Watch “Jack’s Surprise” >


Beverages – Spirits

Smirnoff Ice’s “Summer Sensation” earned an Ace Score of 623, which is 26% above the Spirits 12-month norm—the third highest score relative to the category norm of all the Ad of the Quarter winners.

While women scored the ad 7% higher than men overall, men ages 21-35 awarded the ad the second highest score (648) of all gender/age demographics. Consumers who have consumed spirits of any kind within the last 4 weeks were especially into the ad, scoring it above 700 across the board. While the ad’s visuals helped consumers get a sense for the product, it was the product itself that really shined, with 38% of consumers indicating it was the best thing about the ad.

Watch “Summer Sensation” >


Candies & Snacks

Twix’s winning spot combines humor and product in a creative way to win the highest Ace Score in the Candy & Gum category. With an Ace Score of 659, “Boss Tells Employee To Get Out” scored 16.2% higher than the 12-month category norm.

As we mentioned during the ad’s Ad of the Week win, nostalgia may have played a key role in boosting ad’s score. Consumers ages 36-49 scored the ad 8% higher than 21-35-year-olds and 17% higher than 16-20-year-olds.

Many consumers found the ad hilarious with 22% mentioning the ad was “funny” in their optional feedback for the candy bar brand. However, more than funny, consumers also simply love Twix. Thirty-eight percent indicated that the mini candy bars were the best thing about the ad. Another 14% indicated that the ad’s characters were the best thing.

Watch “Boss Tells Employee To Get Out” >


Financial Services – Banking, Investment & Mortgage

PayPal is back in the national ad game with its winning ad “Your Money Is Safe With One Touch.” The ad achieved and Ace Score of 663, which is 29.2% higher than the Financial Services – Banking, Investment & Mortgage 12-month norm—the second highest score relative to the category norm of all the Ad of the Quarter winners. The ad also had the second highest Emotional Sentiment score of all Ad of the Quarter winners for Q3 with a score of 71 out of 100 – meaning respondents really had a strongly positive connection to the ad.

The ad succeeded in combining information in a digestible way to convey change and relevance to consumers. The Information component achieved a staggering score of 697, which is 21% higher than the category’s 90-day average. From reading the consumer’s optional comments left for the ad, many survey respondents mentioned that they appreciated the information. PayPal addressed the security concern of many consumers head-on. In fact, 6% of consumers used the word “safe” when describing their thoughts and feelings on the ad in relation to PayPal, showing that the ad was affective.

Watch “Your Money Is Safe With One Touch” >


Financial Services – Credit Cards 

Who doesn’t want an excuse to take a vacation? MasterCard’s winning ad, “One More Day,” uses adorable children to persuade viewers to take just one more vacation day a year. “One More Day” achieved an Ace Score of 594, which is 7.8% above the 12-month norm for the Credit Card category. Master Card took an innovative approach to its credit card ad, using a the cute kids and, perhaps, a little bit of guilt to give consumers a good reason to extend their summer. The ad wins on its breakthrough power, with Likeability and Attention scores being the strongest components.

Twenty six percent of respondents indicated that the children were the best part of the ad while 17% said that the ad’s message was.



Consumers awarded Scott’s “Save The Tubes” an Ace Score of 689, which is 14.1% above the 12-month Household category norm. Scott’s new, tube-less product tied with the ad’s environmental message as the “best thing” about the ad—both with 30% of consumers indicating each was the best.

As noted in the ad’s Ad of the Week win, women were particularly impressed with this innovative toilet paper roll, scoring the ad 18% higher than what men awarded the ad. The ad particularly won in terms of Information and Change on the components graph. Educating people about the waste toilet paper rolls product, the ad’s Information score is 19% higher than the 90-day Household norm for Information.

Watch “Save The Tubes” >



Farmers Insurance’s winning ad, “Hiding Coverage,” was awarded an Ace Score of 613, outperforming the 12-month Insurance category norm by 14.3%. The ad won for its ability to be informative and relevant while also being entertaining.

The ad’s Information score surpassed the 90-day norm by 14%. Likewise, consumers found the ad particularly pertinent, giving the ad a Relevance score 18% above the norm. While 16% of consumers loved the ad’s characters, another 22% thought that it was the ad’s message that was the best thing about “Hiding Coverage.” Either way, the combination of the message and characters led to a pretty humorous outcome. Of the 344 consumers who left feedback on the ad, 10% mentioned how they thought the ad was “funny.”

Watch “Hiding Coverage” >


Packaged Foods

As the second cheese ad in a row to win the title of Ad of the Quarter, “Golden Switzerland Cheese” earned an Ace Score of 689, which is 17.2% above the 12-month Packaged Foods norm. The ad was able to inform viewers on how Boar’s Head produces its cheese while showing delicious visuals to influence consumer desire. The Information score for the ad is 693, 19% above the 90-day norm. The ad’s Desire score was even more staggering, achieving a mouthwatering score of 754, 23% above the norm.

Consumers had a tough time deciding whether the ad’s tasty visuals or the Swiss cheese itself was the best thing about the ad. Twenty-five percent of viewers indicated that the visuals were the best while 28% said it was the product itself.

Watch “Golden Switzerland Cheese” >


Personal Care – Cosmetics

Revlon combines colorful visuals with celebrity Olivia Wilde for an ad that outperforms the Cosmetics category 12-month norm by 15.7% with an Ace Score of 563. “Olivia Wilde: Glossy Wet Color” scored especially high in terms of both Relevance and Desire. Women of all age groups rated the ad especially high, 29% above the Cosmetics 12-month norm.

After watching the ad, many women mentioned that they “love” (10%) the lip stain, Revlon or Ms. Wilde herself, or that they “want” (5%) the new product with many commenting about the long lasting message and the way the actress’s lips appeared.

Watch “Olivia Wilde: Glossy Wet Color” >


Personal Care – Hair

Head & Shoulders’ winning ad, “C.J. Wilson: A Big Line,” earned an Ace Score of 571, outperforming the 12-month Hair category norm by 14.8%. The informative yet funny ad won on its ability to relate to the consumer and show that the shampoo brand was changing. The ad’s Relevance score is 599, which is 14% above the 90-day Hair norm. Likewise, the Change score is 9% above the 90-day norm.

A majority of consumers thought C.J. Wilson gave a standout performance, with 20% indicating “the characters” as the best thing about the ad. Viewers whose favorite part was the characters also found the ad to be funnier than other consumers. Overall, survey respondents who chose to leave Head & Shoulders some optional feedback mentioned that the ad was “funny” 12% of the time.


Personal Care – Main

One of the few philanthropic ads to win Ad of the Quarter, Band-Aid’s “Supporting The Troops” was awarded an Ace Score of 686, which is 23.9% above the 12-month Personal Care – Main norm. The ad also takes home the highest Emotional Sentiment score of any Ad of the Quarter winners with a score of 71 out of 100.

The ad is well-loved by consumers, scoring above 700 in terms of Likeability, Attention and Change. Women scored the ad especially high with a score of 722, which is 30% above the 12-month Ace Score norm. Overall, consumers confirmed that it was the ad’s message that was particularly powerful. Twenty-eight percent of consumers said that the message of supporting our troops was the very best thing about the ad.

Watch “Supporting The Troops” >


Personal Care – Skin

Consumers awarded Olay’s “No Sleep Required” an Ace Score of 598, which s 16.6% above the 12-month Skin category norm. While the ad is targeting women, men still rated it nearly 7% above the Skin category 90-day norm, finding the ad funny and relatable. Women, however, are the ones who helped it achieve its Ad of the Quarter win, giving the ad a score of 665, 30% above the 12-month Ace Score norm.

Watch “No Sleep Required” >



Fresh Step’s winning ad, “Dog Thinks the Cat is Gone,” appealed both to cat and dog lovers, earning an Ace Score of 615, 9.6% above the 12-month Pet category norm. While cat owners awarded the adorable spot a score of 705, dog owners still awarded the ad a high score of 634.

Of the 341 survey respondents who chose to leave feedback for Fresh Step, 11% mentioned how they thought the ad was “funny.” Of course the thing that made the ad funny was also the best part of the ad—the ad’s characters. Thirty-one percent of consumers agreed that the dog and cat in the commercial were the best thing.

Watch “Dog Thinks the Cat is Gone” >


Pharmaceuticals – OTC

Aleve’s winning spot “Woman Experiencing Pain” achieved an Ace Score of 625, which is 10.9% above the 12-month Pharmaceuticals norm. The ad was able to be relatable while also giving an adequate amount of information about the new product. Consumers found the ad to be 8% more relevant than the average Pharmaceutical ad in the last 90 days.

Women could especially relate to the ad’s message scoring the ad nearly 9% higher overall than what men scored the ad. However, 34% of viewers agreed that the best thing about the ad was Aleve’s new nighttime product.

Watch “Woman Experiencing Pain”> 


Restaurants – Casual Dining

TGI Fridays’ widely-publicized Endless Apps promotion made it onto the Ad of the Quarter list with an Ace Score of 701, outperforming the 12-month Casual Dining category norm by 14.5%. Women were especially intrigued by the popular deal, with every female age demographic scoring the ad above 700. Women ages 21-35 were particularly ready to chow down, scoring the ad 9% higher than the ad’s overall Ace Score.

Just as you might guess, our data confirms, the $10 appetizer deal was the best thing about this ad with 31% of consumers indicating that option on the survey. Of the 323 survey respondents to leave an optional comment for the ad, 9% used the word “endless” and 10% mentioned the “deal.”

Watch “Endless Apps” > 


Restaurants – QSR

Pizza Hut is famous for its stuffed crust pizza, but its ad that wins the title of Ad of the Quarter is for a different kind of food—a giant cookie. “Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie” earned an Ace Score of 681, which is 17.8% above the 12-month QSR norm. The ad broke barriers, scoring above 700 on five of the six components—Likeability, Information, Attention, Change and Desire. Even Relevance, however, scored extremely well (690), 15% above the 90-day QSR norm.

A majority of consumers—38%—agreed that the best thing about the ad is Hershey’s cookie. Pizza Hut was able to make the cookie look so good that 9% of consumers who left feedback on the ad mentioned the word “yummy.” Another 10% used the word “love” while 5% mentioned the cookie looked “delicious” or made them “hungry.” And while 17% of the 500+ respondents noted that they hadn’t purchased Pizza Hut in the past but would consider it in the future, awarding the ad an Ace Score 753, with Desire at 773.  

Watch “Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie” >



“Supplies They Need” is one of two philanthropic ads on the Ad of the Quarter list. The ad from Target earns the title for the Retail category with an Ace Score of 673, a score 23% above the 12-month category norm. The discount store’s ad especially resonated with women, scoring it 18% higher than what men awarded the ad.

Gender aside, both men and women awarded the ad with Information scores greatly surpassing the category’s 90-day norm. With a score of 722, the Information in this ad, usually lacking in Retail ads, came in 26% above norm. Consumers agreed that the ad’s message to give to children in need of precious school supplies was the best thing about the ad with 36% selecting the ad’s messaging.

Watch “Supplies They Need” >


Technology – Hardware

Microsoft’s winning ad, “Power,” achieved an Ace Score of 659, which is 17.1% above the Hardware 12-month category norm. The comparison ad is incredibly effective at relaying information while remaining relevant and igniting a sense of desire in consumers. The ad’s Information score is 14% above the 90-day norm while its Relevance and Desire scores are 14% and 17%, respectively, above norm.

There’s no doubt that the Surface 3 gave a stunning performance in this 0:30 spot. Thirty-nine percent of the ad’s survey respondents agreed, indicating that “the product” was the best thing about the ad. Consumers were also quite verbal with what they thought about the ad with 7% mentioning how “cool” the tablet looked and another 7% saying how they “want” one.

Watch “Power” >


Technology – Mobile Devices

Consumers awarded Samsung’s “Don’t Be A Wall Hugger” an Ace Score of 690, 15.3% above the Mobile Devices 12-month norm. The ad scored above 700 in four of the ad’s six components—Information, Attention, Change and Relevance. Viewers found the ad particularly pertinent to their technology woes with the Relevance component scoring 20% above the 90-day norm.

While 31% of consumers said the ad’s product was the best thing, a surprising number—19%— argued that the ad’s sarcastic message about always having to charge your phone was the best thing. Either way, Samsung certainly hit a hot topic for consumers. Of the 341 consumers to leave optional feedback on the ad, 7% said they could “relate” to the situation while another 14% discussed the “battery” life of their phone.

It’s worth noting that this ad also achieved viral status on YouTube with over 15 million views since its debut in the beginning of July.

Watch “Don’t Be A Wall Hugger” >


Technology – Software & Websites

Google’s ad “Dream” has the highest Ace Score relative to its category’s 12-month norm of all the Ad of the Quarter winners. Consumers gave “Dream” an Ace Score of 641, which is 30.1% above the 12-month norm for the Software & Websites category.

Consumers of all age and gender groups enjoyed “Dream.” People ages 21-35 scored the ad the highest, 19% above the 90-day category norm. The ad has soaring Likeability and Attention scores and delivers a Relevance score more than 18.5% above average. Yet, this spot, like many of Google’s top scoring ads, draws its strength from product desire to re-watch. In fact, Desire scores for the ad were 23.5% above norm.


Technology – Video Games & Consoles

PlayStation’s “Become Legend” was awarded an Ace Score of 582, which is 12.6% above the 12-month Video Games norm. This Ad of the Quarter winner played more like a movie trailer than a video game commercial. In fact, 8% of the 318 optional verbatims left for this ad mention “movie”, pointing out the incredibly realistic graphics and dynamic banter between the characters.

Consumers who regularly purchase video games or receive them as gifts especially enjoyed watching the winning ad, with those who purchased or received at least six games in the last 12 months scoring the ad above 700. Additionally, viewers who currently own an XBOX or PlayStation gave the ad a score of 654, which is nearly 27% above the 12-month norm for the Video Game category.

Watch “Become Legend” >


Telecom Services

Hulu has held strong as the highest scoring Telecommunications ad since the end of July with its spot “Watch Now,” achieving an Ace Score 638, 19.2% above the 12-month Telecom Services norm. The ad’s montage of popular television shows boded well with nearly every age/gender demographic. Women 36-49 scored the ad the highest, 9% above the overall Ace Score. The ad’s strength comes from strong breakthrough scores with Attention breaking 700 and a Desire score 22% above the TV services average.

Current Hulu subscribers especially loved the ad, awarding it an impressive score of 733. All consumers loved seeing their favorite television flash by on the screen. Of the optional comments left for the ad, 11% mention “shows” while 15% mention “Hulu.”

Watch “Watch Now” > 


Consumers awarded “Traveling Mystery” an Ace Score of 670, outperforming the 12-month Travel category norm by 18.1%. The mesmerizingly adorable ad scored especially high in terms of Attention, Likeability and Relevance. The cute kid and charming storyline brought a Likeability score 16% above the 90-day norm and an Attention score 14% above the norm. Additionally, many consumers could relate to the experience of loosing baggage on a flight with the Relevance score jumping up 17% above the norm – a key component of ads that exceed by building product passion.

Consumers found the ad’s striking visuals and the ad’s message to be the best thing about the ad with 24% and 20% of consumers, respectively, indicating so on the survey.

Watch “Traveling Mystery” >


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