Mountain View, Calif. – Target’s back-to-school ad “Supplies They Need” resonated most with consumers among all back-to-school ads in 2014. According to TV and video advertising analytics provider Ace Metrix, consumers awarded an Ace Score of 673 to the Target spot.
Kohl’s is the most prolific back to school advertiser, airing 14 back to school ads, most of which focused on its seasonal styles and sales. The department store brand also had the highest average Ace Score (552), with Walmart, J.C. Penney and Staples falling next in line, of brands airing three or more pieces of back to school creative. Target’s “Supplies They Need” earned the highest Ace Score (673) and was the only Target spot to feature the charitable program which matches all supplies sales with a donation to the Kids in Need Foundation. The program contributed greatly to the strong score with 48% of respondents identifying the message or the featured offer to be the best thing about the ad, while another 8% said it was the visuals and 7% said the music.
While moms are generally thought of as the primary back to school shoppers, some brands showed dads being the back to school hero, a creative spin that was completely absent last year. Ads featuring dads in a leading role scored, on average, 6% higher with consumers. The highest rated dad-centered ad is Dell’s “A Genius,” which consumers gave an Ace Score of 624, the fourth highest score overall. Sonic, RadioShack, Yoplait and Toyota also used dads and humor to grab consumer attention.
The use of humor was dramatically higher than previous years, with 34% of back to school ads using humor this year, whereas only 16% of ads used humor in 2013. While scores for funny ads this year were higher than those of last year, funny ads on average performed less well than other back to school ads. The most effective, funny ads came from Sonic. Its 30-second and 15-second ads, “Letter Jacket,” earned 616 and 612, respectively, and were a new twist on its back to school ads from the prior year.