Super Bowl ads keep recall edge

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In summarizing ad recall for the first quarter of 2003, it's tough to look past the Super Bowl. Ads breaking during the Jan. 26 match-up crowned both Intermedia Advertising Group's Top 20 recall and likeability lists and also fared well in their individual product categories.

The Pepsi Twist spots, which blurred the line between the Osbourne and Osmond clans, achieved brand recall rates about 150% higher than the average spot breaking during the past three months. And no new ad from the first quarter of the year has been able to catch up with Budweiser's "Clydesdales replay." The Super Bowl spot easily maintained its status as the leader on the likeability chart-scoring 15% higher than second-place Federal Express and 156% higher than the average new ad.

The mix of automakers landing Top 10 positions for the category show there is more than one way to generate high consumer recall scores. Cadillac banked on attentive eyeballs when launching its latest campaign during the Super Bowl, and two of its "17th Street" spots benefited from these premium placements. Saturn earned high recall marks for its recent Ion and L-Series ads. Chrysler integrated singer Celine Dion into its "Drive & Love" flight, and some of the ad impact can likely be attributed to her growing connection with the brand. And notably, the only Top 10 inclusion from the crowded SUV class was the Mitsubishi Endeavor-with a spot that launched late last month introducing the new model.

Every Sprint spot breaking since the start of the year has ranked among the top performers in its category. Verizon's year-old "Test man" branding ads also scored well. Virgin Mobile has begun to grab the attention of younger consumers-and it only took one execution in broadcast network prime time to do so. Pizza Hut held its own throughout the first quarter, while ads supporting several new product initiatives in the personal/household care categories registered high recall-including extensions to the Old Spice, Saran and Windex brands. Light-hearted executions for Viagra and Lipitor and more sober ads for Procrit achieved the pharmaceutical category's highest recall scores.

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