- Nike scored three spots among the top 10 most culturally impactful ads from the third quarter, according to an Ace Metrix analysis of empowering video creative shared with Marketing Dive. The commercials highlighting unconventional athletes Justin Gallegos, Maynor De Leon and Chantel Navarro are from the same campaign, "Sport Changes Everything," which debuted in July.
- Rounding out Ace Metrix's top 10 were efforts from IBM, Frosted Flakes, Subaru, Southern New Hampshire, the NFL, Verizon and T-Mobile. Ace Metrix examined more than 1,700 ads from the quarter using a proprietary measurement process called the Cultural Perception scoring system.
- Two key metrics of the system are "Empower," which looks at the positive impact of an ad's messaging, with high performing ads reading as authentic and inspirational, and "Exploit," which quantifies negative impact, including an ad's potential to offend via stereotyping or come across as pandering. Of all of the ads Ace Metrix tested, 23% were found to be empowering.
Despite some controversies related to its business practices, Nike continues to lead the pack on emotionally resonant, impactful video advertising. The athletic apparel retailer, which saw revenue rise 7% in its most recent quarterly earnings report, has helped spark industry-wide discussions around purpose-led brand building, namely through a campaign last fall that starred the activist and free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The Kaepernick creative, decorated by the ad industry, caused backlash among consumers who didn't want politics bleeding into the brand's messaging. Some negative feelings have lingered as Nike has continued to promote messages on subjects like women's equality with a "Never Stop Winning" spot for women's professional soccer. Ace Metrix revealed that the ad airing around the U.S. women's national soccer team World Cup victory this summer scored nearly equally on empowering and exploit metrics.
Nike has stood by its approach to advertising, and positive sales performance indicates the company is seeing the benefits of striking the right chords with cause-minded younger consumers, even as it risks alienating other groups. Ads from "Sport Changes Everything," which profile unconventional athletes who deal with issues like cerebral palsy, were well received and key into some broader trends propping up high performers in Ace Metrix's analysis.
Half of the ads on the list tied in some sort of athletic narrative around inspiration and motivation, particularly for underdogs. This was true even for brands not endemic to the sporting category.
Frosted Flakes detailed budgeting problems with youth sports and pledged to donate to support the cause with "Mission Tiger," a campaign that drove the highest purchase intent among empowering ads measured. Corporate responsibility and philanthropy pushes tied to creative were generally strong motivators of an emotional response in viewers.
Scale is an issue that Ace Metrix dove into less. Viewership of the YouTube cut of the Frosted Flakes spot, for example, has a little over 16,000 hits, versus Nike's Justin Gallegos ad that is close to 4 million views at press time.