Budweiser, Google Top Ace Metrix Ranks

Both of Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads top the standouts for the most effective ads to debut during the first quarter of 2014, according to Ace Metrix.

“Puppy Love,” featuring the friendship between a puppy and a horse, drew the highest score on the Ace Metrix Emotional Sentiment Index that the brand has ever produced (83). “Hero’s Welcome” focused on a hero’s return.

The spots earned the second and fifth-ranked positions respectively, in terms of Super Bowl XLVIII ads, and claimed the number one and two spots on the top ads of the quarter list, outperforming the beer category average by more than 37%. Budweiser was ranked third among beer brands, according to the recently published Ace Metrix “Blackbook” — up from eighth place in the 2013 edition.

"Including puppies, much like babies, is certainly a way to grab attention — and Budweiser's iconic Clydesdales also bring majestic power to these ads," Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO, tells Marketing Daily. "Budweiser has become particularly good at telling emotionally charged stories that are relevant to a broad audience. Both of these [Budweiser] ads are told nearly exlusively with well-chosen music and grand cinematography. They are feel-good stories that took advantage of the diverse audience that watches the Super Bowl."

Budweiser is followed by Google’s Oscar-inspired ads. Two more Super Bowl ads were the highest scoring ads for the quarter: Microsoft’s “Empowering” (Ace Score 710) and Hyundai’s “Dad’s Sixth Sense” (Ace Score 706), which are also two of only three ads to ever break 700 of more than 32,000 ads in the Ace Metrix database.

The quarter includes four of the largest TV audiences advertisers will have access to all year: the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the Grammy's and the Olympics.

The top ads across both lists earned Emotional Sentiment Index scores well above the 12-month average of 48, indicating that each of these ads generated positive emotional engagement from consumers.

Google’s Oscar inspired ads ranked third and fourth with an ode to creativity. “Tonight” (Ace Score 627) was a tribute to the movies and their makers (featuring Google Play) and “We’re All Storytellers” (Ace Score 625) was a tribute to the potential moviemaker in all of us (featuring Google search). Both outperformed the Web sites category average by approximately 36%. Google recently earned the 2013 Brand of the Year both overall and was the number one-ranked brand within the software and web sites “Blackbook” category.

Rounding out the top five list was Dick’s Sporting Goods “Sports Matter - Combo” (Ace Score 637), a particularly notable accomplishment, given that nearly 20% of the 1,800 ads to debut last quarter were from a retailer, and this ad outperformed the retail average by 33%. The ad delivered another emotive story on why sports matter in our daily lives.

Every ad in the category standouts list was at least 60 seconds long and is consistent with the data that Ace Metrix has published about how consumers process longer ads, how ads have lengthened in the Super Bowl, and how length contributes to emotion.

There are many paths to great creative and to connecting with viewers, Daboll says.

"There is not one simple formula, but the best of the best connect with us emotionally," he says. "They transcend the pure advertising message and are great filmmaking in their own right. For Budweiser, it's animals and family; for P&G, moms and their kids. With Hyundai, we see humor and safety. With Microsoft, we see innovation and and information for compassionate uses.

"Google focused on our emotional connection with movies. Dick's focused on the emotional element of team sports. There is nothing more powerful with viewers than making them feel something. The brand is interwoven with a celebration of humanity. And as is evidenced by these top-performing ads, a longer ad length is often necessary to develop that emotional connection."

Microsoft’s “Empowering” earned an Ace Score of 710, the highest-scoring ad of the quarter, the highest-scoring ad of the Super Bowl, and the second-highest Ace Score in our entire database. The ad effectively reached across ages and demographics, imparting information about several Microsoft product brands (Surface, Skype, Windows 8, Microsoft Hardware, and Kinect) through stories of how technology can help humankind overcome any number of physical obstacles.

Hyundai’s “Dad’s Sixth Sense” earned an Ace Score of 706, the second-highest-scoring ad of the quarter and third-highest-scoring ad of all time. The general population score (681) earned “Dad’s Sixth Sense” third place overall and first in terms of automotive ads on the Super Bowl ranked list. Captivated consumers received an entertaining product demonstration during this artfully crafted story of parental protection.

TGI Friday’s claimed third place with the introduction of its “New Burgers,” which elicited Desire scores 14% above the norm for Restaurants ads. Ore-Ida’s “Fresh Take On Ore-Ida” combined humor and information with adorable kids to earn fourth place. The sole Olympic-themed ad to make either list, “Mom’s Work,” earned Procter & Gamble the final place on the top scorer’s list. Building off of the exceptional “Thank You, Mom” campaign introduced for the Summer Olympics, this ad was among the first to debut in January ahead of the Winter Olympics.

While not as prevalent as the category standout list, longer-form content again made an impact on the overall list with two ads clocking in at 60 seconds or longer (Microsoft & P&G). All told, 70% of the winners across both categories employed longer-form storytelling approaches -- a trend worth watching as the year progresses.

The Ad of the Quarter honor is awarded to the ads with the highest percentage gap to the twelve-month category norm that debuted nationally between Jan. 1 and March 31. A Top Ads list is also provided for the ads earning the highest Ace Scores among the same set.

The Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads, providing the advertising industry with an unbiased resource to measure creative impact. Ace Metrix scores every national television ad across 96 categories creating a complete comparative database, Ace Metrix LIVE.

A panel of at least 500 consumers, representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience, scores each ad in the exact same manner. The results are presented on a scale of 1–950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as persuasion, likeability, information, attention, change, relevance, desire and watchability. Ace Metrix applies a natural language-processing algorithm to the hundreds of verbatim responses collected for each ad, deriving a score that indicates positive, negative, or neutral emotional impact and represents the ad’s position on an Emotional Sentiment Index ranging from 1 to 100.

Ace Metrix collected more than 1,800 ads in the first quarter. All ads within categories that had at least 20 unique pieces of creative over the past twelve months, and at least five in the quarter were considered for the award.

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