The auto industry may be on the rebound, but car manufacturers didn’t deliver the cream-of-the-crop spots in the first three months of 2011, according to rankings from national tracker Ace Metrix.
No commercials from the auto category made it into the company’s top 10 list of Q1’s most effective advertisements. That’s “a little strange,” said CEO Peter Daboll, given how well car spots have done in previous years.
Despite falling short of the top cut, Wieden + Kennedy’s work for Chrysler Dodge fared relatively well. An ad for the Charger model ranked in the upper 20 percent of ads for the quarter, as did Chrysler’s Super Bowl spot featuring Eminem.
Sweets, meanwhile, were very much in season. A Snicker’s Peanut Butter Squared candy ranked highest. The BBDO-produced “Focus Group” spot–in which a panel of computer-generated sharks concur that humans who’ve eaten the snack taste better–topped the list. Three other Mars commercials, including a Valentine’s Day M&M’s ad, snagged positions in the top 10. Kraft came in fourth with a spot for its Jello Temptations pudding.
"The thing about candy and food is it really has broad demographic appeal,” said Daboll. Those ads “tend to do well across all demographics while other ads appeal to specific demographics."
People also respond well to pets. “It's much better to put an animal in your ad than it is to put a celebrity,” he noted, citing a separate analysis conducted by the company. In the Q1 rankings, a Doritos Super Bowl spot starring a powerfully hungry pug fell one short of best in show.
The ranks are based on surveys sampling about 500 consumers representative of the TV audience, asking panel members to rate the creative content of commercials based on parameters including whether they like the spot or want what they think it’s selling.
Sugary fare also may have benefited from a 55 percent drop in the volume of technology advertisements from Q4. The latter category includes a wide range of holiday-friendly products, including computers, videogames and mobile. Advertising for such gadgets tends to be popular, Daboll said, so a smaller number could have left more room for dessert. Still, a spot for Samsung’s Galaxy tablet took fifth best this quarter and a Dell laptop ranked eighth.
Note: This article corrects an earlier version in which a Dodge program integration was wrongly included in the rankings and named the worst performing spot.