Sixteen brands in 15 categories -- with Best Buy, Cadillac, Ford, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Samsung and Visa topping the lists -- had the best advertising of 2012. Twenty had the most effective individual advertisements among 6,000 ads measured. And many of the brands that won toppled established winners.
“2012 was a year marked by creative strategies that stressed innovation while embracing cause and humor,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of TV and video analytics measurement firm Ace Metrix, which also developed the best-of rosters. “To deliver five great ads in a year and beat out your category competitors is quite an achievement, but to develop 20 or upwards of 50 ads in a year and remain the most effective brand of a category is a truly stellar accomplishment.”
In Ace Metrix's study, based on viewer surveys, Samsung won Brand of the Year in the technology category, of which smartphones are just one segment. The Korean brand, which also had the top-scoring ad for 2010, won both for the quality of its creative and the volume -- three times new creative versus Apple. Three of its ads were among the top 20 ads, across categories. “In a category as vast as technology -- which spans hardware, software, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, video games and Web sites -- the competition is especially fierce,” said Daboll.
Within iPhones, Apple retained most-effective mobile phone brand for its Siri campaign featuring Zooey Deschanel and Samuel L. Jackson. The brand also took honors for the launch of the iPhone 5. Two of those were in the top 20, per the analytics firm: one for photography functionality, and another for Apple’s new earbuds. Samsung was second for smartphones.
Brands of the year, in their categories, were Cadillac and Infiniti in a tie for luxury autos; Ford for non-luxury; Blue Moon and Ocean Spray for beverages; M&M's (for its Ms. Brown campaign); Visa for Financial; Lysol for household; Liberty Mutual for insurance; Kraft Dairy for CPG; Dr. Scholls in personal care; Olive Garden for restaurants; Best Buy in retail; Samsung Hardware; and T-Mobile Wireless for Telecomm.
The firm notes that both Blue Moon and Ocean Spray pulled off coups against big beer and Coca-Cola. And Olive Garden had the best score of any brand. While Microsoft's "On the Surface" campaign won a berth on the "Ad of the Year" list, its Kinect tech went nowhere. The top five ads last year were for tech-forward household appliances and products (one of Samsung's big wins was for its refrigerator, not its smartphones.) The former Big Three automakers also did well: Cadillac and Ford were prime examples.