Last year's most engaging magazine ads were not necessarily the ones with the most expensive creative or the highest media spend.
The one thing most of them do share, however, is a strong connection between the medium and the message. Several of the top ads, for example, are exceptionally "endemic" to the magazines in which they appear -- an Xbox "Halo" ad in Official Xbox Magazine or an American Airlines ad in American Way. These highly targeted ads have an in-built appeal to the readers of these magazines.
For this look at the best-performing print ads of 2011, we at GfK MRI's Starch Advertising Research considered more than 87,000 one-page and two-page ads appearing in national consumer magazines between January and December. To identify the best-performing ads, we developed an "Engagement Score" combining the percentage of readers who read, or "noted," a given ad and the percentage who took any action as a result of seeing the ad.
What follows are the 10 ads that were best in their category: they not only had "stopping power" -- getting readers to notice the ad -- but also elicited a response, such as visiting the website, clipping the ad, using a coupon and recommending the product or service or buying it.
See what marketers like Target , Bed, Bath & Beyond and Apple did last year to get people to pay attention and respond to their ads.