As the Holidays approach, thoughts turn to retail. It's a perfect time to see how various department stores, fashion stores and online retailers have done in advertising effectiveness over the last 12 months. Some retailers, like Kohl's, have consistently good ads (outside of radio), while others (high-end retailers) always bring up the rear. This post explores the best ads across seven media types, analyzing why they work so well out of almost 1450 ads tested in the past year.
The Effective Retail Advertising Picture for the Last 12 Months
Television - Best Buy -“The Lab: WD Solid State Drive 60”
Radio - Walmart - "Introducing Free Next Day"
Online Video - Amazon - "Amazon Basics Reusable Silicone Baking Cups"
How can one find enough to say about Reusable Silicone Baking Cups to stretch out to 45 seconds? Well, Amazon did just that with a female narrator that seemed quite comfortable describing how these little cups replace traditional muffin cups and can be used for a variety of things. Not only that, they can be microwaved, frozen, dishwashed and more. But the best moment was when she read off each color. Here's another super-simple, low-production-value ad with a happy soundtrack that literally wiped out all other online videos with an ABX Index of 139 - in the top 99% of ABX tested ads. Very clear branding (Awareness) and Message drove Reputation to 221 and Action to 159. Other scores included Likability at 169, Relevance at 138. All CTA's were very high including Intent to Purchase at 148.
Online Display and Animation - Walmart - "Light Up Christmas Walmart.com"
Print - Kohl's - "The Completer Piece"
Kohl's does a great job with fashion and is consistently among the highest-scoring of all advertisers across media types. This double-truck ad was the highest print ad measured this past year for retail and has great models as evidenced by the ABX Gender Equality Index™ of 111. Other high scores for this add include Reputation and, to some degree, Action - though most was for an Intent to go to the Website (173). We are also glad to see the large Kohl's logo since some similar ads from last year were less well-branded. But this ad is missing one important piece: what is the Message? It's a good image piece, but may not have driven sales very well.
Free-Standing Inserts - Target - "Fun Run"
In all candor, this FSI was fourth from the top scoring FSIs, with Walmart winning the first three. But the point differential was so small, it seemed only fair to show another retailer in this post. At an ABX Index of 120, this FSI was way ahead of Category and Media Norms. Target gives a clear Message at 123 and presents its smiling model respectfully, earning a 105 in Gender Equality for Females. Both contribute to its high Reputation and Action scores - with the strongest CTA being 193 for "Recommend" and 151 for "Look For." The wonderful colors and placement of sale information were also well-liked as evidenced by a strong Likability score of 136.
Out-of-Home - Walmart - "Introducing Free 'NextDay' Delivery"Finally, the strongest OOH offering comes from Walmart with, once again, the "free next-day delivery" message. What's not to love? A Message doesn't get a lot clearer than this. White and yellow large text on strong blue background - one has to notice it. No clutter, no images, nothing to gum up the works. The 192 score for Reputation, plus 140 in Likability, explains the reason for every CTA to be not only positive, but way above Norm for Category and Media. Intent to Purchase is 149, Recommend is 165 and Website is 156. This board, and the ad campaign surrounding it, certainly delivered a punch to Walmart's competitors.In summary, many of these ads showed humor, simplicity of presentation as well as message, respectful presentation of on-air talent, and an ability to move the audience toward action. We can all learn a lot from these leading retailers.
How the ABX Testing is Done
ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (160,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.
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And There's More ...
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