Best and Worst Ads of Q1: Samsung Wins, Goldman Sachs Bombs

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With the Super Bowl and the Awards shows, the first quarter is the most important quarter in advertising.

AceMetrix, which analyses every TV ad released in the U.S. every year, just released its rankings, and even more interesting than the winners, were the losers: financial services companies.

And Goldman Sachs in particular—ranked at the bottom of all ads.

The big winner: Samsung, which topped the list with its ad for its tablet/phone, with an ad for its Internet-connected TV in the number 5 spot.

AceMetrix polls 500 geographically and demographically diverse viewers about every single new ad about a range of criteria: is an ad likeable, relevant, does it drive purchase intent, and does convince the viewer that the company is moving in a new direction. AceMetrix’s CEO Peter Daboll tells me when ads are good enough to make it into the top ten, companies almost always see a positive sales correlation. That sales bump comes nearer term for products like M&Ms and Doritos, and over a longer purchase cycle for electronics and cars. There’s no exact breakdown of how an AceMetrix score correlates to revenue, but there’s no question these rankings matter—TV ads are still the biggest marketing line item. And even when brands launch video ads, they’re usually repurposing TV spots.

Here are the top ten adsand here are the bottom ten.

A number of popular Super Bowl Ads—Doritos Slingshot Babyand M&Ms ‘Just My Shell’ad—ranked in the top ten. But it’s Samsung who comes out as the real winner, with two of its ads taking the #1 and the #5 spot. Daboll tells me that Samsung’s ads did well across all the component scores, particularly in ‘purchase intent.’ The winning ad for Samsung’s Galaxy tablet has no voice over, just cool music, and a compelling demo of the product. And the ad lasts a full 60 seconds. Daboll points out that even though ads for gadgets generally do better with men, this one scored particularly well with women.

Other big winners managed to cross typical gender divides. Tide’s ad for its new ‘Pods’laundry detergent is unusually appealing to men—and Daboll says that detergent ads don’t usually do well with any demographic, let alone men. Another unlikely winner—Hunts ads for canned tomatoes, which created a Food Network style narrative.

Financial services companies scored at the bottom of the list—which has been pretty common over the past few years, as consumers have a lot of distrust for this category, Daboll tells me. The two worst-performing ads were from a company called ‘One Reverse Mortgages’– viewers thought the idea of older actors trying to sell older consumers on reverse mortgages was ‘creepy.’

Goldman Sachs only released three ads in the first quarter—all of them ranked poorly compared to other financial services ads and poorly overall. Two of them were in the bottom eight of all ads released in the first quarter.

One problem- the ads were just 10 seconds long, and viewers found them confusing. One ad is a man and his dog walking through a field, the other is a guy at work welding. But even at 10 seconds, they were still boring to consumers. Goldman may want to reconsider its ad strategy—Daboll says that the ten second format is ultimately flawed. It also seems like Goldman just isn’t testing the ads properly before launching to the public. Short and boring is a terrible combination.

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