- Verizon’s "Military Appreciation" campaign ranked No. 1 on Ace Metrix's list of the top breakthrough ads of Q2 2018, according to findings shared with Marketing Dive. The analysis tested 1,800 ads and measured campaigns based on attention and likability.
- Colorado Tourism's "Unforgettable" came in second, with the highest "desire" score. After watching the ad, 68% of viewers said they were "more" or "much more" likely to visit Colorado. Petsmart's "Stages," which focuses on the relationship between a pet and its owner, ranked third, with viewers enjoying the relevance of its characters and message.
- Dove, Papa John's, Iams, Huggies, Amazon Fire TV, HP and Sonic made up the rest of the top 10. Sonic's "The Perfect Shakes" spot, which featured product close-ups, drove "desire" among viewers with 70% reporting positive intent.
The Ace Metrix Breakthrough ad list highlights several marketing tactics that resonate with consumers and underscores the need for marketers to make an emotional connection in their campaigns. Many of the top-rated ads included cause-driven messaging, deep storytelling or highly visual elements. Consumers, especially younger age groups, feel especially connected to causes, and research has shown that they show a stronger likelihood to purchase from brands that support the causes important to them.
For example, Huggies, Dove and HP's focus on fathers and the impact they have on their children's lives earned them high marks for likeability and attention. Dove's Father’s Day campaign #DearFutureDads, which focused on the issue of paid paternity leave, particularly resonated with women, with 43% saying they were "very likely" to share the ad in their social circles, according to the news release. Dove previously made the list in Q2 2016 with another Father's Day campaign, "Caring Makes My Dad, My Hero." Huggies' "Father’s Day Hugs" drew a strong emotional response from 77% of viewers.
Tugging at consumers' heartstrings and taking on an important social cause might resonate, but it can be a risky move for marketers. Brands can sometimes take the sentimentality too far, especially when targeting millennials, who expect brands to represent something deeper. Ads that communicate a brand's values and social purpose performed the best in a separate Ace Metrix study. Ads that appeal to a consumer's conscience and encourage them to take an action performed the worst.