What is in this article?:
- Top 10 restaurant brand advertisers
- Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse lead casual-dining category
- Top quick-service ads focus on culinary innovation
Research firm Ace Metrix reveals which restaurants had the most effective ads in the quick-service and casual-dining segments
A study of the most effective advertisers in the restaurant industry by Ace Metrix revealed that “America’s love affair with casual dining” continued in 2012, the advertising research firm’s executive vice president of marketing, Jonathan Symonds, said.
After asking thousands of survey respondents to rank brands’ TV commercials based on how persuasive and watchable they were, Ace Metrix calculated its proprietary Ace Score for each restaurant. The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm found that restaurants’ ads performed best when they focused on food, but within the context of affordability and the dining environment.
Casual dining as a segment performed much better than quick service, with its top five brands averaging an Ace Score above 600 out of a possible 950 for the year, which is “significant,” Symonds said. Olive Garden had the highest average score of any brand in any category, with 624, followed by LongHorn Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse with averages of 611, 609, 607 and 603, respectively.
The quick-service segment’s most effective advertisers were Pizza Hut, Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen, Domino’s Pizza and KFC, with average Ace Scores of 598, 597, 597, 592 and 582, respectively.
“Particularly in casual dining, there is a formula for success, and these are very sophisticated marketers running the brands,” Symonds said. “They know they have good ads out of the gate because of their testing processes, and that’s why they continue to perform well, I think.”
During the past year, he said, dinnerhouse brands created effective ads judged to be persuasive and watchable by emphasizing low price points while showcasing slick food shots and clean, high-end dining rooms. Some of the lowest-scoring commercials from last year were 15-second ads that typically cut shots of ambiance and food and went straight to the value message.
Ace Metrix broke down the keys to marketing success for the following top brands.