Marketers ran more ads this holiday season -- just under 400 spots aired through December 17, up from 352 a year ago. Ads with strong storytelling, humor and philanthropy won over consumers, according to data from ad tracking firm Ace Metrix.
"It's not what the brands are trying to communicate, it's how they communicate," said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, which tracks ad effectiveness based on metrics like "likeability," "attention," "relevance," and "desire," or purchase intent. "A lot of these brands, especially on the retail side, are very good examples of using a story to spread their message."
Nintendo's "Dad Loses" ad claimed the top spot as the funny, family-friendly take struck a chord with consumers, Ace Metrix said. Ebates' "Paid to Shop"' and Amazon Fire TV's "Rom-Coms" also topped the list.
Retailers made up 64% of this year's holiday ads, according to Ace Metrix. And four ads were among the ten best, up from three last year. Among the top retail ads were Kohl's "Holiday Magic" spot, which showcases a touching father-son moment, and Walmart's "Surprise" ad featuring an unexpected holiday visit to a military veteran.
Mr. Daboll said retailers put out stronger creative this year, and did a better job mixing brand messages with promotional ads. "It's just a function of the mix that we see this year," he said. "They're blasting more promotional ads this year. And they're still telling the story and engaging the consumers with the quality of the creative."
Nationwide rounded out the list, marking the first time an insurer has appeared on the list of top holidays ads since Ace Metrix began tracking them in 2011.
Top Ten Holiday Ads, According to Ace Metrix
1. Nintendo, "Dad Loses"
2. Ebates.com, "Paid to Shop"
3. Mazda, "Braeden's Story"
4. Amazon Fire TV, "Rom-Coms"
5. Kohl's, "Holiday Magic"
5. Walmart, "Surprise"
7. Subway, "Cool"
8. Home Depot, "Spread More Of This"
8. Petsmart, "Thanks To Your Pets"
10. Nationwide, "The Grinch And Santa"