QSRs Are Top NFL Advertisers

Fast food is the most-seen industry thus far in the current NFL season of commercials, according to a new report from, which measures the brand and business impact of TV and streaming advertising.

The report, released earlier this month, states QSRs make up 12.13% of live linear impressions across NFL games aired so far this season, beating out automakers, which scored 11.41%.

And more than just impressions, the ads show themselves to also be the “most likeable,” with both Taco Bell and Little Caesar’s ads scoring 22% above the likeability norm, according to the report. High likeability scorers also included creative from Subway and Papa John’s. Additionally, both Subway and Taco Bell ads scored “much more” purchase intent, above 40%, among respondents.

“A memorable ad can lead to actual consideration and trial,” Chris Finnegan, ad agency Cornett’s vice president, director of brand connections, told QSR Insider.“Whether the ad is memorable due to the concept or perhaps a celebrity appearance, creative effectiveness is a result of generating a response. In the case of QSR brands, they often lean into LTOs, new menu items and even tried and true classics to remind people ‘you have to eat.’”

Humor still reigns supreme when it comes to creative likeability; of the 100 most likeable football-themed ads, 72% registered a score for "funny," according to iSpot.

“Maya Angelou famously said, ‘People won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel,’ said Finnegan. “This is true in life and advertising. A funny ad can give that little dopamine hit and provide a shared experience with people who are all congregated in the same room. The best ads are ones that not only make your audience laugh, but ones that make them remember your brand. When you can do that - you’ve struck gold.”

Ads featuring players and coaches also scored high on likeability. Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce appeared during 3% of all household TV ad impressions delivered during NFL games, with his popularity skyrocketing when he began dating Taylor Swift. After showing up in 35 ad airings during the first week of NFL action this season, Kelce has appeared at least 30 times every week since.

“With women representing almost 50% of (NFL) fanbase prior to the Kelce/Swift relationship, it will be interesting to see what effect it has on adding more viewers to NFL games (or at least ones looking to catch a glimpse of their favorite pop star during a Chiefs’ game), said Finnegan. “Either way, brands shouldn’t ignore the female household decision makers who have been NFL viewers for years. Barefoot Wines is the official wine of the NFL and a perfect example of a brand that took advantage of a great opportunity to reach a demographic that may or may not be as interested in the beer brand ads that have long been a staple of an NFL broadcast.
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