Ad Age/IAG's Top Spots

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Twelve months, six broadcast networks and nearly 4,000 ads all add up to the Top Spot of the Year. And the winner is...(View the 2002 Top Spot at QwikFIND aao31i)


Rank Brand Ad Description Index

1 Toys "R" Us Geoffrey prank calls competing toy store, Nikko toys 255

2 Pepsi Twist Austin Powers punches Britney Spears 238

3 Toys "R" Us Geoffrey reads to kids, Big Toy Book 237

4 Toys "R" Us Geoffrey at press conference, Chicken Dance Elmo 236

5 Burger King Black Stack BBQ Griller-Men in Black are back (:15) 235

6 Pier 1 Imports Holiday-Kirstie Alley gives woman "mall-ectomy" 235

7 Old Navy Rugby Bunch-"Brady Bunch" parody, opening credits 233

8 Ford "Make your getaway," post -"24" premiere (:180) 232

9 Clairol Herbal Essences Shampoo-Blonde in shower is into herbs (:15) 232

10 Hanes Michael Jordan in locker room (:15) 231

11 Pepsi Britney Spears, through the years, drive-in (:30) 230

12 Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup-Snowman becomes kid 230

13 KFC Blazin' Strips-Jason Alexander at club (:15) 226

14 Pier 1 Imports 40th Anniversary Sale-Kirstie Alley jumps out of cake 225

15 Sears Washer, dryer, fridge-rancid milk, "Fridge is broken" 225

16 KFC Popcorn Chicken-Barry Bonds bobblehead doll (:30) 224

17 KFC Popcorn Chicken-Free on June 20 224

18 Ford "Start your day," pre-"24" premiere (:180) 223

19 Old Navy Rugby Bunch-Boys playing basketball, girls cheering 220

20 Discover Discover 2GO-People amazed by keychain card 219

Source: Intermedia Advertising Group ( The IAG Top 20 Most Effective Ads of 2002 focuses exclusively on new campaigns airing since the start of the year (Jan. 1-Dec. 15) and ranks TV ads based upon a viewer's ability to recall the new ads and their associated products/brands. The ranking is derived from an ad's individual Recall Score and Recall Index. The Recall Score is the percentage of TV viewers who can recall within 24 hours the brand of the ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing. These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads during the time period (Recall Index). 100 equals average. For example, with a recall index of 255, the top ranked Toys "R" Us spot has proven more than two-and-a-half times as effective as the average new commercial breaking since Jan 1.

A giraffe, A spy and a Pop Star

Employing a spokesperson to tout your brand doesn't ensure high recall. But it can certainly help. Of the 20 most-remembered ads breaking since Jan 1, about two-thirds make use of celebrities, human or otherwise.

Toys "R" Us icon Geoffrey the Giraffe took home the gold, with one of the toy shop's "prank call" spots garnering a brand recall rate about 155% higher than the average spot launched this year. Two other recent Geoffrey ads also placed among the year's top performers. In fact, the only ad packing enough punch to break up the retailer's dominance was a spot for Pepsi Twist, featuring mega-stars Austin Powers and Britney Spears.

In many cases, 2002 ad effectiveness was rooted in creative consistency and familiarity. Several long-standing campaigns, including efforts from Clairol and Pier 1 Imports, achieved their highest recall of the year with some of their most recent work. Previous exposure to similarly themed ads seems to have fostered brand association in the newer spots.

And interestingly, although the Super Bowl is advertising's ultimate high stakes showcase, recall did not necessarily peak during the event. A Britney Spears Pepsi spot was the only Big Game spot with enough staying power to rank among the top ads of the year.

But celebrities weren't the only way to break through the clutter. Clever and surprising humor may have propelled recall for Sears in its "rancid milk" spot. An exclusive sponsorship deal brought high brand recognition for the three-minute Ford spots aired during the"24" premiere. And sometimes all it takes to stand out is a unique angle in a conventional category, as evidenced by the ad introducing Discover's keychain credit card that rounded out the Top 20 most-remembered spots of 2002.

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