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Domino’s Pizza: Symonds said Domino’s Pizza’s strategy was more interesting for the variability of messages it took in 2013, from quality-focused ads with chief executive Patrick Doyle to more straightforward spots for a $5.99 deal, or more counterintuitive ads later in the year.

“Domino’s did well with the variety of different approaches, which is more unique in QSR,” Symonds said. “They’re also telling people they slow down the process for Handmade Pan Pizza, the ‘powered by pizza’ commercials aimed at startup companies, and the technology play where they’re talking about online ordering.”

Panera Bread: The fast-casual bakery-café chain also was effective in the “anthem” approach of touting its brand positioning and what it stands for in TV commercials, Symonds said.

“Each and every time Panera ran a ‘Live consciously, eat deliciously’ ad, it was about how they approach the business and what that led to from a menu perspective,” Symonds said. “Chipotle Mexican Grill doesn’t make this list, based on volume of advertising, but Panera and Dairy Queen to a lesser extent follow that mold of [values-based advertising].”

More product-focused commercials for the chain’s pastas also performed well, he added.

Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut had a noticeable year for maintaining high Ace Scores, even when a midyear switch from The Martin Agency to McGarrybowen as its agency of record brought about new creative, Symonds said.

The first commercials under the new agency, advertising 3-Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza, performed well, Symonds noted.

“The ads are all about showcasing individuals’ boldness and individuality, overstuffing a dryer or overstuffing a turkey to talk about Stuffed Crust Pizza,” he said. “It was a big shift from this very rigid formula earlier in the year that was just deal-based but tried to insert menu innovation. … Consumers may take time to adjust to a change in creative, but if it is something they relate to, they’ll jump right on board.”

Pizza Hut had the highest component measure in quick service for “relevance,” which, like Olive Garden, probably resulted from being the largest chain in its category and a heavy advertiser, Symonds said.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN