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Ruby Tuesday, which had the fourth-highest Ace Score of the quarter, with 691, “over time has become a much better 15-second advertiser,” Symonds said, noting that its top ad was a 15-second spot that advertised three concepts very quickly. The spot conveyed new sliders call Mini Masterpieces, with attractive price points of $5.99 or $9.99 as part of a combo, and the availability of the unlimited salad bar, all without time for much ad copy or a tagline.

“Ruby Tuesday over-indexes on [attribute scores of] relevance and desire, meaning you can have more success at a 15-second spot in casual dining than you could elsewhere,” he said. “It establishes itself quickly with food shots, gets your mouth watering, and then gets more instances of the ad for the same media budget.”

Ace Metrix recently amended its survey process to ask viewers what the best of each ad they evaluated was, lending insight into what drove high Ace Scores for certain restaurant brands, Symonds added. In Ruby Tuesday’s ad, the reasons were fairly balanced, with 18 percent of viewers saying the visuals were the best part, 18 percent saying the product itself, 16 percent saying the deal or price point, and 14 percent saying the brand itself was the best part.

“I would expect the visuals to play well, since that’s what Ruby Tuesday does consistently in their ads,” he said. “With a 15-second ad, the food and visual scenes have to come through.”

Viewers identified different reasons for liking Darden’s top three ads. For instance, 30 percent labeled the deal the best thing about Olive Garden’s aggressive “Buy One Take One” commercial, while in the Italian brand’s commercial for “2 for $25 Guest Favorites” only 19 percent cited the deal and 21 percent cited the product itself.

In the segment’s fifth-place ad, an IHOP commercial with a 689 Ace Score, 30 percent of viewers said the product was the best part of the commercial, followed by 17 percent who said the visuals were the best part.

“It’s pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes,” Symonds said. “Whenever IHOP is in the winner’s circle, it’s a pancake-driven ad.”