Lowdown: Microsoft Tops 'Breakthrough' Ad Ranking

Longer Spots Dominate Ace Metrix's Quarterly Ad Ranking

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Super Bowl ads are the most expensive TV spots of the year -- but only two of them cracked a list of the top 10 breakthrough ads for the first quarter published by Ace Metrix. Audi's "Commander" ad and Doritos' "No Dogs Allowed" -- which both debuted in the big game -- ranked sixth and seventh on the list. The rankings measure an ad's "ability to break through the clutter and get noticed." The top spot was Microsoft's "Women Made," followed by M&M's "Zedd & Blaco: Singing in the studio." See both ads below. Said Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll: "Eight of the top 10 ads this quarter were 60 seconds or longer, showing that oftentimes a longer ad is needed to tell the full story arc and connect with viewers."

Bodyarmor, a sports drink brand partially owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, is taking aim at Gatorade in a new campaign. One direct hit is in Chicago, where the brand is running a billboard ad near Gatorade's headquarters that encourages people to "ditch artificial sports drinks" and "switch to the No. 1 natural sports drink." The ad shows a Bodyarmor bottle beside what appears to be an unmarked Gatorade bottle.

Bodyarmor Credit: Body Armor

Bodyarmor touts itself as a premium sports drink that "contains no artificial colors or flavors and is made with potassium-packed electrolytes and vitamins and made with coconut water." The campaign also includes digital, print and point-of-sale ads. The agency is Resource Ammirati. The ads come after Dr Pepper Snapple Group recently upped its stake in the brand by an additional $6 million, now giving it 15.5% ownership. A Gatorade spokesman declined to comment on the campaign. Gatorade this year is planning to release an organic version, the PepsiCo-owned brand has stated.

Onto the baby category, where online outlets now account for 20% of the $30 billion U.S. market for baby products, 10 times the overall 2% share for packaged goods, according to a study by TABS Analytics. According to TABS's survey-based study, baby e-commerce is heavily concentrated, with Amazon, Walmart.com and Target.com accounting for 75% of online baby-product sales. Walmart still leads the offline market with 17%-18% of baby-product sales, followed by Target at 12.4%-14%, but both are now eclipsed by e-commerce as a whole. Amazon, including its Diapers.com unit, ranked fourth behind those two and the combined sales of Toys 'R Us and Babies 'R Us in overall baby product sales. Higher-income shoppers are unsurprisingly more likely to buy baby products online. But one surprise in the data: 40% of baby products are purchased by households with no young children. So grandparents seem to figure prominently.

Here's more interesting shopping research: Influencer marketing does pay off, at least according to research from Nielsen Catalina Solutions for WhiteWave and TapInfluence, a "searchable database of social influencers." NCS, which combines Nielsen online audience measurement with Catalina loyalty-card purchase data for the same households, is billing a recently completed study as the first to measure the in-store sales impact of a pure influencer marketing. The campaign tapped 250 fitness and food bloggers to create branded content about Silk's "Meatless Monday" campaign. NCS found consumers who viewed the bloggers' content bought 10% more Silk products than those who didn't. The effort generated $1.98 in added sales for every $1 spent, or $285 per 1,000 online impressions. Tapinfluence and NCS plan to collaborate on similar studies for other brands.

Chrysler has put comedian Jim Gaffigan in a new ad for the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. The spot debuted during the NCAA Final Four this past weekend. Doner handled the ad.

The baseball season just began, but one team has already lost, according to a newly released index measuring fan loyalty. The Seattle Mariners ranked dead last in the rankings, which are compiled annually by market research firm Brand Keys. The index is based on interviews with 250 self-declared fans in each team's local market, factoring in ticket sales as well as emotional aspects of loyalty. The St. Louis Cardinals ranked No.1, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Bite Sox
Bite Sox Credit: Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox came in at No. 16 on the list. But the franchise today is hoping to win over some new fans with food. The Sox rolled out a specialized food truck to promote some of the items being sold at U.S. Cellular Field. The truck was set to hand out traditional baseball fare including peanuts and hot dogs as well specialties like bacon on a stick. The team mascot, Southpaw, was also set to be on hand, according to Roaming Hunger, the agency that worked on the project.

Turning to the Olympics: General Mills, which is not an official Olympics sponsor, is honoring past gold medalists with exclusive Wheaties boxes. Swimmer Janet Evans, diver Greg Louganis and track star Edwin Moses will each get their own boxes in May. "This is an opportunity for Wheaties to highlight past champions who haven't yet received the honor of being on a Wheaties box for their past athletic achievements," Jenna Lynch, Wheaties senior associate marketing manager, said in a statement.

Janet Evans, Greg Louganis, and Edwin Moses will be honored with their own Wheaties Legends boxes in May 2016.
Janet Evans, Greg Louganis, and Edwin Moses will be honored with their own Wheaties Legends boxes in May 2016. Credit: Wheaties/PR Newswire

You'd think that what may have been the most exciting finish in NCAA Final Four history would be what really gets fans up off their seats. But, no, a chart of fan movement from Unilever's Degree and bioanalytics firm Lightwave from Monday night's game showed the peak came earlier in the second half when Villanova fans were trying to distract North Carolina during a foul shot. The Villanova fans were generally more active than North Carolina fans -- so maybe that was really all it took to produce a three-point edge on a buzzer beater. In the far less interesting semifinals, Villanova fans had a way bigger edge on the downtrodden fans of the Oklahoma Sooners, which suffered an NCAA Tournament record drubbing. Syracuse fans, even though they lost, were a tad more active than North Carolina fans -- so maybe the Tar Heels were done in by the complacency of their school's long history of tournament success.

KFC U.S. head chef Bob Das teaches actress and comedienne Rachel Dratch how to make KFC Original Recipe fried chicken at the KFC Re-Colonelization event April 4, 2016, in New York City.
KFC U.S. head chef Bob Das teaches actress and comedienne Rachel Dratch how to make KFC Original Recipe fried chicken at the KFC Re-Colonelization event April 4, 2016, in New York City. Credit: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for KFC via PRNewswire

Finally, we end with a word from the Colonel: KFC is offering a new "Colonel Quality Taste Guarantee" after recertifying its restaurants' managers and cooks in the chain's 25-minute fried chicken prep process. The chain is calling the changes its "Re-Colonelization." KFC said if customers aren't satisfied it will remake the portion of the meal that wasn't to their liking.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl

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