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Nielsen Tops of 2013: Advertising

5 minute read | December 2013

The variety of ways we consume media is exploding, and TV advertisers are tasked with finding creative ways to break through in this complex media environment. How do some ads captivate viewers while thousands of others are readily disregarded? To gain insight, we identified the top 10 commercials and branded integrations of 2013. Why not learn from the best of the best?

As a general rule, enhancing the entertainment value of ads is a key way to boost memorability and branding. Marketers can achieve this through any combination of: telling a story that viewers can relate to; creating a connection through humor or emotion; or incorporating attention-grabbing sights and sounds. In 2013, several ads capitalized on these principles, and as a result, topped the list not only among the general population, but also by men and women separately. Subway, Party City and Kay Jewelers were able to craft ads that set themselves apart from the pack, with demonstrated success across demographics.

  • Subway shows us that the consistent use of the same creative style over time works to make the imagery of an ad ownable and salient in viewers’ minds.
  • Party City proves that there’s power in leveraging the attention grabbing power of a famous song and energizing dance sequence during a time of year when their brand’s value proposition is particularly relevant.
  • We see once again with Kay Jewelers that romance has not died and neither has a relatable and emotional storyline’s ability to drive memorability and resonance with consumers long after they turn off the TV.

Similar to ads, product integrations in programming must become a part of the entertainment experience but by nature, they have an easy in. But the challenge for advertisers is making the placement noticeable without creating a negative impression by unnaturally force-fitting their brand into a program’s storyline. 2013 showed us that placements which seamlessly tie into the attitude of a show or habits of a character break through. Products or brands, even those that are harder to integrate at the center of a storyline, can not only work but be very successful in building awareness and shifting opinions about brands by leveraging long-term show sponsorships.

Top 10 Most MEMORABLE New Commercials, 2013 (YTD)

General Population (P13+)

Rank Brand Ad Description Memorability Index (Ad IQ)
1 State Farm Discount Daaa-ble Check (:15) 248
2 Subway Tuscan Chicken Melt (:30) 244
3 Bud Light Outcome (:15) 244
4 Party City Thriller (:30) 236
5 KFC Breathing on Me (:30) 232
6 Pam Talking Food Residue (:30) 232
7 Wal-Mart Lisa A. Broomfield, CO (:15) 228
8 Volkswagen Test Drive (:30) 228
9 Restasis Eyecare Rx Big Deal (:60) 224
10 Kay Jewelers Photo Booth (:30) 224

Top 10 Most memorable New Commercials, 2013 (YTD)

Women (F13+)

Rank Brand Ad Description Memorability Index (Ad IQ)
1 Restasis Eyecare Rx Big Deal (:60) 264
2 KFC Breathing on Me (:30) 256
3 Party City Thriller (:30) 252
4 Subway Talk About Clutch (:15) 248
5 ADT Security One Really Big Reason (:30) 244
6 Wal-Mart Lisa A. Broomfield, CO (:15) 244
7 Dr. Scholl’s Dogs Were Barking (:30) 240
8 McDonald’s Road Trip (:15) 232
9 Hallmark Grandma (:30) 228
10 Kay Jewelers Photo Booth (:30) 228

Top 10 Most Memorable New Commercials, 2013 (YTD)

Men (M13+)

Rank Brand Ad Description Memorability Index (Ad IQ)
1 State Farm Discount Daaa-ble Check (:15) 260
2 Subway Tuscan Chicken Melt (:30) 260
3 ADT Security One Really Big Reason (:30) 228
4 Bud Light Outcome (:15) 228
5 H&R Block Second Look (:30) 228
6 Kay Jewelers Photo Booth (:30) 224
7 AFLAC Duck’s Lessons (:30) 224
8 Bud Light Cracked the Code (:30) 220
9 AT&T Basketball (:30) 220
10 Party City Thriller (:30) 220
Only new ads airing in 2013 YTD (Jan. 1, 2013 to Nov. 30, 2013) were considered. Top ads were identified by ranking performance on net memorability (percent of viewers able to remember the ad and correct brand). Net Memorability Index (Ad IQ) was calculated by indexing the net memorability score to the database average. For example, with an Ad IQ score of 248 the top-ranked State Farm ad among the general population has proven to be 2.48 times as well memorable and branded as the average ad.
Note: Super Bowl and contextual ads were excluded. (Contextual ads include those where all airings are limited to one show, of which the ad is related.)
Source: Nielsen TV Brand Effect.

Top 10 Best BRANDED AND OPINION SHIFTING PRODUCT Integrations in Scripted Shows, 2013 YTD

General Population (P13+)

Rank Brand Branded Integration Description Program (Network/Air Date)
1 M&M’s Mike eats M&M’s at Carl’s apartment before Carl offers him some chili. Mike & Molly (CBS, 1/21/13)
2 Wizards of the Coast Games (Seg 1) Howard holds up the Dungeons & Dragons manual. (Seg 2) Sheldon says that he never played Dungeons & Dragons with girls. (Seg 3) Sheldon does not condone alcohol use while playing D&D. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 5/9/13)
3 Sharpie (Seg. 1) Stephanie calls Lydia the “Sharpie lady,” before Owen tells her that Cristina is taking over her case. (Seg. 4) Cristine gets a call and says “Sharpie lady” is ready. (Seg. 5) Stephanie says “Sharpie lady” helped her realize something. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9/27/13)
4 Chevrolet Steve and Danny are riding in a Camaro SS with the SS logo on the headrests. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 11/8/13)
5 Life Alert Beverly tells Pops that she bought him Life Alert while she holds the system in her hand. Beverly watches a commercial for Life Alert in footage. The Goldbergs (ABC, 11/5/13)
6 Starbucks Bonnie tells Christy that she bought her a Starbucks latte and hands one to her. Mom (CBS, 11/25/13)
7 Walt Disney Resorts Sue asks Mike why he is carrying the Disney World trip change jar. The Middle (ABC, 2/27/13)
8 Hasbro Jenga Sheldon and Leonard play “giant Jenga” in their living room when Alex arrives to pick up a recording from Sheldon. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 1/3/13)
9 Walt Disney Resorts Bernadette suggests that Raj take Lucy to DisneyLand on a date and Raj says it’s too similar to India. Amy says she hasn’t been to Disneyland in a long time. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 3/8/13)
10 Chevrolet Danny whistles as he approaches a black Chevrolet that is parked in parking lot. The SS logo is imprinted on the seats as Danny and Steve ride in it. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 10/5/13)
Only branded integrations airing in new episodes 2013 YTD (Jan. 1, 2013 to Nov. 30, 2013) were considered. Top branded integrations were identified by ranking on a combination of branding (percent who could recall the brand being integrated) and brand opinion shift (% who were very or somewhat likely to influence their opinion of the integrated brand after seeing the integration). Branding was weighted more heavily than brand opinion shift and the combination of the scores were indexed to the database average from the prior year. For example, with an Integration IQ index of 166, the top-ranked M&M integration has proven to be 66% more recalled and likely to shift opinion than the average new integration.
Note: Branded integrations were limited to those that aired in dramas or sitcoms.
Source: Nielsen TV Brand Effect.

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