'Tis the season for plenty of new campaigns, as marketers of all stripes rush to make sure their brands are top of mind for holiday shoppers.
Ads that have a philanthropic bent, like Macy's Believe campaign or Duracell's partnership with the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, were deemed particularly effective by consumers, while ads promoting specific products, like Best Buy's "Game On Santa" spot highlighting Apple products or Sears' ad describing its Kenmore Elite Double Oven Range, hit the mark. Heartwarming or upbeat ads like Target 's "Done," Pillsbury's "Home for the Holidays" and Coca-Cola's "Snow Globe" also performed well, according to ad tracking firm Ace Metrix.
"Consumers really respond well to ads that go beyond just, 'Shop here. But it now,' said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, noting the retail category in general received high marks this year.
Beyond retail, ads for the food and beverage category were top performers, with Pillsbury, Coca-Cola, Marie Callender's, IHOP and Outback Steakhouse all making the top ten. Mr. Daboll says that 's no surprise, given that food ads are highly relatable and usually show products in appetizing ways.
What is surprising, however, is the lackluster performance from both the electronics and automotive categories. Ace Metrix says there are more than 150 new car ads this season, but the reception from consumers has been chilly. "The quality of automotive advertising has really gone down," Mr. Daboll said. "There was a bumper crop in the fourth quarter last year going into Super Bowl, and this year we're just not seeing that ."
2011's Best Holiday Retail Ads
1. Macy's : "A Million Reasons to Believe"
2. Sears: "Pre-heat event"
3. Macy's : "Santa's Mailing Address"
4. Sears: "Two Ovens Cooking At the Same Time "
5. Walmart Stores: "The Christmas Price Guarantee"
6. Target : "Done"
7. Home Depot : "A Better Season"
8. Best Buy: "Apple Selection"
8. Best Buy: "Black Friday Bruce"
8. Target : "One Minute Past Thanksgiving"
See next page for non-retail holiday ads
2011's Best Non-Retail Holiday Ads
1. Pillsbury: "Home For the Holidays"
2. Coca-Cola: "Snow Globe"
3. Nintendo DS: "Last Place Has to do the Dance"
4. Duracell: "Mattel Children's Hospital"
5. Aleve: "Pain Free Holiday"
6. Marie Callender's: "Kid's Table"
7. Pillsbury: "Crescent Wrapped Brie"
8. IHOP: "Holiday Hotcakes"
9. Verizon Communications: Wireless "Smartphones"
10. Outback Steakhouse: "Light Up the Season with Great Steak Combinations"