Capital One mermaids top in Q2

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Credit-card issuer Capital One edged out retailers Old Navy and Pier 1 Imports to secure the Top Spot as the most-recalled ad breaking during the second quarter of 2003, according to the latest Ad Age/Intermedia Advertising Group Quarterly Report. Capital One's "Mermaids" spot, featuring a group of sea women who use a lost credit card to make extensive purchases, achieved a 144% higher consumer brand recall rate than the average new ad airing during the quarter. Spots with longstanding endorsers like Michael Jordan for Ball Park, Star Jones for Payless, and Jason Alexander for KFC tracked closely behind.

Snickers, continuing its offbeat "Side effects of hunger" campaign, won best-liked ad of the quarter for its "Barky" spot-which scored 73% above the likability norm. The ad amusingly attributes the grumpiness of a theme park character to an empty stomach in need of a Snickers bar. Another Masterfoods brand, M&M's, saw three of its spots place among the quarter's most-liked. Several public-service announcements, including a new installment from the American Legacy Foundation's "Truth" campaign, and feel-good creative from Quaker, Heineken, and Kmart were also well received.

In the automotive category, Volkswagen's existing nameplates Passat and Jetta joined sport utility vehicle newcomer Touareg, which already achieved above-average recognition early in its flight. Jeep's ad promoting its tie-in with movie "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" and Mitsubishi's "2 Fast 2 Furious" spot also scored well. Sprint PCS's "Picture Mail" launch and Verizon's "Test man" brand effort registered the highest recall marks for wireless. T-Mobile and Cingular also made it into the top 10. The restaurant Top 10 contained just three brands-KFC, Subway, and Olive Garden.

The quarter's most recalled consumer products ads featured both established and recently launched items, with executions for Snuggle capturing the top two slots. In prescription drugs, Nexium's "purple pill" just barely outpaced Lamisil's animated fungus to earn the recall gold, while Zyrtec bested its prescription allergy competitors to claim the No. 5 slot.

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