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Tools Replace Tech in this Year’s Holiday Ad Race, According to Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix®, the new standard in television and video analytics, today announced the top holiday ads of the year, a list led and dominated by Craftsman and Sears, which together aired four of the top 15 holiday ads of 2012. The winning ad was for the Craftsman Max Access Locking Wrench, achieving an Ace Score of 658, 29 percent above the retail category norm of 509. Notably absent from the list were the technology ads that led the 2011 holiday race won by Apple, and also featured Nintendo and Best Buy. This year, leading the technology pack (though absent from the top ranking) was Samsung’s “Santa Landing” ad with an Ace Score of 594.

“Tis the season for Sears,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “Craftsman ‘manned up’ with a very detailed and effective portrayal of its products, while Sears underscored the breadth of its offerings.”

Most Effective Holiday TV Ads of 2012*

Rank     Brand     Ad Title     Ace Score
1     Craftsman     Maximum Versatility     658
2     USPS     Extra Pair of Hands     645
3     Duracell     Toys for Tots     628
4     JCPenney     Spirit of Giving     627
5     Hallmark     Christmas Memories     621
5     Hallmark     Just Tell Me     621
7     Old Navy     Colorful Christmas     619
8     Philadelphia Cream Cheese     Holiday Favorite     616
9     Target     Dream Big Magic     615
10     Pizza Hut     Big vs. Huge     612
11     Craftsman     Happy Men Love Tools     611
11     Craftsman     Bolt On Power Tool System     611
11     Dodge     Brighter Season     611
11     Lowe's     Remember the Decorations     611
11     Sears     Wise Baby     611
*Definition: Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 1-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as Relevance, Persuasion, Watchability, Information, Attention, etc. This list is comprised of the highest scoring new television advertisements to have first aired nationally during the 2012 holiday season and through 12.18.2012.

Santa Takes a Holiday; Brands Choose to Recycle

“Not one of the top scoring ads this year feature Santa Claus, while last year the big guy starred prominently in the top 3 and was featured in 7 of the top 15,” said Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO. “Interestingly, the brands that hired Santa last year didn’t make the list this year, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, and Best Buy.”

Another trend this year is to recycle classic creative. “While new holiday ad volume appears to be steady, many brands are recycling some of their seasonal favorites. We have seen brands like Allstate, Audi, Campbell’s, Cheerios, and Folgers airing holiday season classics several years old,” continued Daboll.

“Reddi-whip for example, recut several of their ads for this season. Their ‘Oil or Cream’ ad has increased 7 percent in overall effectiveness from its original debut, both top quintile ads. The ability to achieve similar if not increasing effectiveness scores calls into question conventional wisdom about wear-out particularly when spaced over time.”

Non-retail Winners

Retail ads weren’t the season’s only winners. Beleaguered USPS aired a single holiday ad (Ace Score: 645) that ranked just behind the #1 Craftsman ad. No other delivery service ad came close.

Duracell’s ad promoting its partnership with Hasbro to benefit Toys for Tots, was the third most effective holiday ad of the season, with an Ace Score of 628. Missing from this year’s list was Coca-Cola, but its “Help Protect the Polar Bear” cause ad did lead the list of non-alcoholic beverage ads this season with a 590 Ace Score.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese was the single packaged food to appear in the Top 15, achieving an Ace Score of 616, while Pizza Hut’s “Big Vs. Huge” dinner box ad was the only restaurant ad to rank among the top 15 with a score of 612.

Finally, Dodge’s “Big Finish” ad promoting its Charger, Challenger, and Dart was represented in the Top 15 and as the #1 automotive holiday ad scoring a 611.

Other Retail Winners

Ellen DeGeneres helped JCPenney achieve the 2nd highest scoring retail ad of the holiday season (Ace Score 627), and Hallmark aired two separate ads in the Top 15, each with Ace Scores of 621.

Old Navy’s ad for colorful pop pants achieved Top 15 status with an Ace Score of 619, and Target’s magical “Dream Big” ad scored a 615, representing the 6th most effective retail ad this holiday season.

Finally, of the two new holiday ads aired by Lowe’s this year, one ranked within the Top 15, scoring a 611 matching scores with three of the Craftsman and Sears ads, which showcased the Craftsman “Bolt On Power Tool System,” happy men receiving Craftsman tools, and a baby luring his dad away from the tool department to an earring display in Sears.

About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix® is the new standard in television and video analytics, dedicated to delivering better, faster, and more cost-effective solutions for evaluating video advertising within competitive context. Through the Ace Metrix LIVE™ platform, companies can now access timely, actionable data wherever, whenever they need to, enabling real-time advertising campaign optimization. Combining leading edge technology and patent pending methodology, Ace Metrix is revolutionizing the way marketers measure themselves and their competitive landscape. The Company is privately held and is backed by leading venture capital firms and industry leaders including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Palomar Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures, and WPP.

Follow Ace Metrix on Twitter for sustained insight: @Ace_Metrix.

Note: Ace Metrix®, the Ace Metrix logo design, Ace Score®, and Creative Lifecycle Management® are registered trademarks and Ace Metrix LIVE™ is a trademark of Ace Metrix. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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