Mars Inc. had four out of the 10 most effective television ads running in the first quarter, according to Ace Metrix.
The Ace Score measures TV commercials' creative effectiveness based on persuasion and "watchability" measures, on a range of 0 to 950.
"Focus Group," a spot for Mars' new Snickers Peanut Butter Squared, ranked #1, with an overall Ace Score of 668 (the norm for candies/snacks is 585). The humorous commercial shows sharks in a focus group expressing a preference for the taste of a human being who had just eaten a Squared (peanut butter and Snickers) over a human who had eaten a regular peanut butter cup.
Three M&M's spots also made the rankings. One, for personalized M&M's, "Red Can't Say He Loves Her," ranked #3, with a 662 score. Another, "You Are What You Eat" (actor Patrick Warburton turns into a Pretzel M&M) was #9, with a 645 score. A third, showing a convenience store robber holding two M&M's and one guy named Gary as hostages and threatening to eat one of them ("It's Them or Gary"), placed 10th, with a 643 score.
Doritos' "Pug Attack" -- the PepsiCo "Crash the Super Bowl" contest winner that was the highest-rated ad during the Super Bowl -- came in second on Q1 Ace scores, with a 662.
Kraft had two top scorers. "The Choco Beast," for new Jell-O Temptations low-calorie treats for adults, was #4, with a score of 654. And a spot showing a woman taking her chicken cooking to the "Next Level" with Kraft's Philly Cooking Creme tied, at 650, with Samsung Galaxy Tab's spot showing how users can "Feel Free" to work, play, "video chat" and more on the go with the new Android device.
Pepperidge Farm's commercials spotlighting the ingredients in various products, "Good Is in the Details," and Dell's spot demonstrating the switchable lid on its new Inspiron R series that allows choosing from 20-plus designs, tied at 646.
As for least effective ads, the list was headed by Chrysler Dodge's "Haiku for You" (315).
It also included several spots using celebrity endorsements. Examples: two spots showing Russell Simmons for AT&T Bank Rushcard Prepaid Visa (one 324, one 390); racecar driver Joe Gibbs for Toyota Tundra ("Racing Mixes It Up," 391); and Dylan and Cole Sprouse for Dannon Danimals Crushcup Yogurt ("Crush Their Way," 393).
In a recent study, Ace Metrix found that just 12% of ads run in 2010 that used celebrities achieved more than a 10% performance lift over industry averages for their product categories. "Use of celebrities continues to be hit or miss -- mostly miss," observes Ace CEO Peter Daboli.
Other low scorers included "Rock & Roll: Joe" for Mutual of Omaha (338); "Rob Talks About Football" for Miller High Life (378); "Leave Your Blues at the Door" for House of Blues (385); and "Green Day's New Live DVD" for Best Buy (391).