- Verizon's Pay It Forward is the most empowering ad with COVID-19 messaging, according to an analysis of the positive cultural impact of recent ads that was shared with Marketing Dive by Ace Metrix. Honda's Working Together ranked No. 2 on the index and Anheuser-Busch's One Team ranked No. 3.
- Among the more than 100 COVID-19 ads reviewed, 73% had a measurable impact related to empowerment when scored using Ace Metrix's Cultural Perception system. Pre-pandemic, only 12.5% of ads typically achieved any empowerment score.
- The report also looked at first quarter ads overall, with Super Bowl ads ranking among the top breakthrough ads during this period, including Doritos' The Cool Ranch ft. Lil Nas at No.1, followed by Hyundai's Smaht Pahk, Jeep's Groundhog Day, Google's Thank You Healthcare Workers and WeatherTech's Lucky Dog.
Ads with messaging related to COVID-19 have shifted Ace Metrix's list of most impactful ads this year, as these highly empowering messages have taken over during the last month or so. During the first quarter, Super Bowl ads are normally still resonating with consumers, but COVID-19 messaging is dominating the psyche this year.
"While Super Bowl 54 ads were the most impactful in years, that's a lifetime ago now that we have a new normal," Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, said in a statement. "COVID-19 occupies consumers' minds 24/7, and they've shown they're open to and even expect brands to communicate what they're doing during the pandemic."
While consumers, in general, respond very well to encouraging, relevant and informative messaging, when it comes to the current health crisis, they are looking for brands that are doing something meaningful, Daboll noted. That consumer desire is reflected in the top empowerment ads, with each highlighting how a brand is pitching in to support others that are deeply affected by the crisis, be it cheering healthcare workers or supporting out-of-work wait staff.
Verizon's Pay it Forward ad focuses on how the organization is helping small businesses through the pandemic by connecting big names with small businesses on Twitter every week. Honda's Working Together focuses on the power of working together in difficult times to overcome hardship. The car maker is also leaning heavily on social media to highlight its COVID-19 relief efforts.
Anheuser-Busch's One Team highlights healthcare workers on the front lines of fighting the illness and celebrates their teamwork that is helping control the progress of the disease. Miller Light's Tip Jar ad highlights how the beer brand is donating $1 million to tip out of work bar and restaurant workers and encourages consumers to also share tips online.
Ads that broke through in Q1 but that were unrelated to the crisis often came with celebrity appeal. The Cool Ranch spot starred hip-hop artist Lil Nas X and country star Billy Ray Cyrus, while the humorous Hyundai Smaht Pahk ad starred Chris Evans, John Krasinski ad Rachel Dratch speaking with a Boston accent.