Millennials Are Hungry: Restaurant Ads Resonate in 2014

Wendy's Boasts the Most Popular Ad in the Demographic for the Year, Nielsen Finds

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Ads for fast-food chains, quick-service restaurants and other casual dining resonated the most with millennial consumers this year, according to a ranking from Nielsen.

Of the top 10 most memorable commercials among millennials in 2014, six were in the dining category. Wendy's topped the chart with its "To Be With You" spot promoting its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

The company's Nielsen Brand Effect ranks the top 10 ads among the demographic, asking a sample of viewers whether they remember ads, the brand of the ad, whether they liked the spot and whether it impacted their intent to purchase the product.

Compared to the average ad, the Wendy's spot was 3.4 times more likely to be remembered and associated with the correct brand among millennials, defined here as viewers between 18 and 33 years old, according to Nielsen.

Wendy's reintroduced its pretzel bun this summer, bringing in pop icons from the '80s and '90s like R&B group Boyz II Men and Jon Secada to promote the item.

In the TV spot, created by Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Wendy's recurring Red character sings a rendition of Mr. Big's "To Be With You," a popular song from 1991, while thinking about the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

Wendy's has been focused on reaching millennials through digital channels. And like its previous efforts, the fast-food chain solicited tweets and Facebook posts in a user-generated content campaign that used the hashtag #pretzellovesongs.

Elsewhere in the category, IHOP came in second with its "National Pancake Day" spot; Papa John's ranks No. 5 with "Fritos on a Pizza;" Little Caesars is No. 7 with "Pretzel Crust Pizza;" KFC is No. 8 with "Pot Pies;" and Subway is No. 10 with "$3 Spicy Italian."

Other memorable ads among the demographic in 2014 included Skittles' "Pet Cloud," NFL Store's "Julie Loves the Vikings" and Old Navy's "No Reservations."

Here's the complete list of the top 10 ads that struck a chord with millennials during the year.

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