(Continued from page 2)

In the quick-service category, KFC had the highest Ace Score in the quarter at 615 out of 950. The 30-second spot for the new KFC Go Cups featured two police officers trying the new product in their squad car, and when a call comes over their radio for help on a crime in progress, the grizzled old veteran tells the eager rookie to pursue the situation alone. Then he eats his partner’s KFC Go Cup.

Symonds noted that 14 percent of survey respondents described KFC’s ad as funny, but overall a commercial’s humor does not often correlate to how well it breaks through with viewers.

“The relationship between funny and the Ace Score is really nonexistent,” he said. “You can make a good commercial that’s funny, but you could just as easily make a very mediocre ad that’s very funny.”

KFC's ad for the KFC Go Cup had the highest QSR Ace Score

Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s Pizza dominated the rest of the top 10 list for the category.

Pizza Hut had the second-, third- and 10th-highest Ace Scores of 614, 613 and 590, respectively, all for aggressive value offers. The brand promoted its $6.55 Anniversary Deal, Big Dinner Box and $10 any-size pizza deal during the quarter.

Domino’s had the No. 9 Ace Score of 591 for its commercial promoting online ordering, a major area of focus for all three pizza chains and what they describe as their biggest competitive advantage over the rest of the pizza brands. The spot ended with a short tag for its $5.99 medium-pizza offer.

Papa John’s also used its commercials in the third quarter to promote brand news. Its early-August commercial, which had an Ace Score of 610 to tie Subway for the No. 4 spot, announced that Papa John’s once again had won the top rating in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which led to the chain running a half-off “thank you” offer online.

Another Papa John’s spot promoting its pizza cookie dessert tied with Arby’s for the No. 6 ranking, with an Ace Score of 596. That commercial debuted in September, as did six of the other ads in the top 10.

Symonds said that timing is no coincidence. “This is a big seasonal time for pizza and other restaurants, which is why you see more new creative,” he said. “It’s a good time to hit up the menu innovation element, because you have people back in front of their TV sets in a dedicated way for football or new shows starting in September. It’s an opportunity to reach a broader audience more quickly.”

Ace Metrix is based in Mountain View, Calif.

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