2011 Ace Score Rankings: KitchenAid Leads The Pack

KitchenAid-MachineA KitchenAid spot demonstrating the brand’s innovative new food processor led Ace Metrix’s top TV ads for 2011, with an Ace score of 699.

The 60-second commercial employs product innovation and “storytelling” by showing home chefs how the 13-cup processor’s unique thick-or-thin external blade control function enables precise cutting of “even the tenderest foods.”  The KitchenAid ad’s score far exceeded the average 539 Ace score for its category, household products. 

The Ace Score measures ads' creative effectiveness based on reactions from a representative sample of the U.S. television viewing audience. Attributes such as "likeability," attention, "watchability," persuasion, relevance and information are measured to arrive at the overall score. To pull exceptional scores, ads must register high on multiple dimensions.

Product innovation was a dominant creative element in 10 of the year’s top-ranking ads, and storytelling was a dominant creative element in eight of the ads.

“Storytelling was clearly a powerful tool for advertisers in 2011,” and ads that demonstrated product innovation “clearly knocked the socks off consumers,” notes Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll. Daboll also points out that innovation-oriented messaging worked very effectively not only for KitchenAid and products such as Apple’s iPhone, Amazon’s Kindle, Microsoft’s Kinect and BMW, but for brands/categories not necessarily associated with innovation (including Lysol, Sears and Columbia apparel).

Other winning creative elements or themes included value for money, humor, the environment, patriotism, philanthropy and health.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the top-scoring ads, in order of their scores. All of the ads can be viewed on Ace Metrix’s site.

2. Microsoft Kinect (60 seconds): 683 Ace score (versus 551 average Ace score for its category, video games/consoles). Key message: Kinect’s sensor “turned voice and movement into magic” (both for fun on Xboxes and professional and medical applications). Dominant creative elements: storytelling, innovation.

3. Coca-Cola (30 seconds): 682 (versus 547 average for its category, non-alcoholic beverages). Key message: Coke’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to tie special, white cans of Coke into support for preserving polar bears’ “arctic home.” (While the white cans were soon pulled from shelves due to consumer confusion that was affecting sales, the ad’s depiction of polar bears’ plight clearly grabbed attention and resonated with viewers.) Dominant creative element: philanthropy.

4. Olive Garden (15 seconds): 674 (versus 569 average for its category, casual dining). Key message: “Something new for lunch” – a half panini with unlimited salad for $6.95. Dominant creative elements: value for money, food imagery.

5. Amazon Kindle Fire (30 seconds): 671 (versus 579 average for its category, tablets). Key messages: “The instruction we find in books is like fire”; Kindle Fire is priced at $199. Dominant creative elements: innovation, value for money.

6. BMW Advanced Diesel (30 seconds): 670 (versus 541 average for its category, luxury autos). Aired during Super Bowl. Key message:  “clean, quiet, powerful,” set to David Bowie’s “Changes.” Dominant creative elements: innovation, environment.

7. Snickers Peanut Butter Squared (30 seconds): 668 (versus 583 average for its category, candy/snacks). Key message: Exceptional flavor. (Sharks in focus group agree that they most enjoyed eating a guy who’d just eaten a Peanut Butter Squared.) Dominant creative element:  humor.

8. Budweiser (60 seconds): 665 (versus 460 average for its category, alcoholic beverages). Key message: 9/11 tribute. Dominant creative elements: storytelling, patriotism.

9. Pizza Hut (15 seconds): 662 (versus 576 average for its category, QSRs). Key messages:  New Big Dinner Box has “all your favorites in one box,” for $19.99. Dominant creative elements: value for money, food imagery.

10. State Farm (90 seconds): 662 (versus 496 average for its category, insurance). Key message: 9/11 tribute/thanks to New York fire department. Dominant creative elements: storytelling, patriotism.

11. Google (90 seconds): 661 (versus 546 average for its category, Web sites). Key message: “Dear Sophie” and other vignettes showing how Google helps people make the most of the Web.  Dominant creative elements: storytelling, innovation.

12. Apple iPhone 4S (30 seconds): 659 (versus 588 average for its category, mobile phones). Key message: iPhone with an “all new camera” plus other capabilities unique to iPhone.  Dominant creative element: innovation.

13. American Airlines (60 seconds): 654 (versus 523 average for its category, airlines). Key message: Tribute to troops. (Pilot says “No, thank you” to soldier as soldier leaves plane; ad also sends viewers to AA site to participate in programs supporting troops.) Dominant creative elements: storytelling, patriotism, philanthropy.

14. Nissan (60 seconds): 652 (versus 514 average for its category, non-luxury autos).  Key message:  New technology in cars provides drivers with 360-degree “vision.” Dominant creative elements: storytelling, innovation.

15. Philadelphia Cooking Cream (30 seconds): 650 (versus 533 average for its category, packaged foods).  Key message:  Solution for cook who needs tasty, new ways to prepare chicken.  Dominant creative element: innovation.

16. MasterCard (30 seconds): 646 (versus 474 average for its category, financial).  Key message: Ray Romano asking consumers to help raise $4 million in funds for “Stand Up for Cancer” by using their MasterCards. Dominant creative element: philanthropy.

17. Sears, Bionic Wrench (60 seconds): 644 (versus 505 average for its category, retail). Key message:  “14 wrenches in 1.” Dominant creative elements: storytelling, innovation.

18. GE (30 seconds): 641 (versus 541 average for its category, corporate branding). Key message: GE’s advanced technologies are “good for both the economy and the environment.” (Elephant shown dancing in jungle and in various GE facilities.) Dominant creative elements:  environmental, animals.

19. Columbia Omni-Heat jackets (30 seconds):  634 (versus 530 average for its category, apparel). Key message:  High-tech lining in Omni-Heat jackets reflects heat back to wearers, keeping them 20% warmer even in the coldest temperatures. Dominant creative elements:  innovation, humor.

20. AT&T Wireless, featuring Samsung Infuse 4G (30 seconds): 634 (versus 559 for its category, telecom services). Key message: “Color so real it’s almost unreal…only from the network of possibilities, AT&T.” (Image of tarantula on Samsung is so real that woman screams when the tarantula image appears on a fellow restaurant diner’s device.) Dominant creative element:  humor.

21. Aleve (30 seconds): 621 (versus 515 average for its category, pharmaceutical OTC).  Key message: “Everyone deserves the gift of a pain-free holiday” (Santa’s back pain is relieved when someone leaves him Aleve instead of milk and cookies). Dominant creative element: humor.

22. Lysol Healthy Touch No-Touch Hand Soap System (30 seconds):  614 (versus 516 average for its category, personal care). Key messages: “A healthy family is a happy family.” (Ad shows family using new Lysol system that auto-dispenses right amount of soap to kill 99% of bacteria, with no need to touch germy pump.)  Dominant creative elements: health, innovation.

23. Freshpet (30 seconds): 603 (versus 517 average for its category, pet care). Key message: “Don’t our dogs deserve to eat fresher, less processed foods, just like we do?” (Dogs shown wearing signs protesting dog foods that are processed, have preservatives, etc.; and Freshpet’s fresh meat/veggies dog foods are shown in in-store refrigerator.) Dominant creative element: humor.

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