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Pizza Hut has been named Brand of the Year in the QSR category for Ace Metrix's annual list of most effective TV advertising.
According to Ace Metrix spokesperson Michelle Robertson, Pizza Hut benefited this year from its focus on new products, as well as a little bit of star power.
"While (Green Bay Packers' quarterback) Aaron Rogers starred in the No. 1 ad, I would say Pizza Hut benefited — not unlike brands in other categories this year — from promoting innovation. The Big Dinner Box was clearly a crowd pleaser, but they also introduced three other new products via their top five scoring ads," she said.
Besides the Big Dinner Box, other ads promoted Pizza Hut's new sandwich concept, the P'Zolo, as well as its new garlic bread pizza and cheesy bites pizza.
Here is one of the ads starring Rodgers:
Top 10 QSR brands
The Top 10 QSR brands by Ace Score for 2012 were:
Pizza Hut, 598
Dairy Queen, 597
Domino's Pizza, 592
Papa John's, 582
Taco Bell, 579
Burger King, 566
Although Pizza Hut outpaced other pizza concepts, as well as burger and chicken concepts, in the QSR category, it did not score high enough to finish on the Top 20 Ads of the Year list, which was topped by Samsung Large Appliances.
Pizza Hut's Ace Score of 598 was also lower than fellow restaurant brands Olive Garden (624) and Applebee's (605) for the entire year. Outback's "Feeding our Heroes" ad was the top single restaurant ad of 2012 and among the Top 20 Ads overall, earning an Ace Score of 672. It was the only restaurant spot to finish in the Top 20.
Brand of the Year honors went to 16 advertisers in 15 categories. Ace Metrix's Top 20 list represented the highest scoring ads across 28 industries and nearly 6,000 ads scored in 2012.
"2012 was a year marked by creative strategies that stressed innovation while embracing cause and humor," said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. "The number of brands airing voluminous amounts of quality creative and still beating the competition is noteworthy. To deliver five great ads in a year and beat out your category competitors is quite an achievement, but to develop 20 or upwards of 50 ads in a year and remain the most effective brand of a category is a truly stellar accomplishment. Brands like Best Buy, Cadillac, Ford, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Samsung and Visa did just that."
To qualify for Brand of the Year, brands must have debuted five or more unique pieces of creative within an industry or category containing more than 125 pieces of creative and five qualifying brands.
The Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 1 to 950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as persuasion, relevance, information, attention, change, desire and watchability.
Other foodservice notables
A changing of the guard was seen this year in the beverage category in which Blue Moon usurped the top spot from "big beer," and Ocean Spray ousted Coca-Cola from the winner's platform.
Despite its success during the Olympics, Coca-Cola was not able to maintain its 2011 Non-Alcoholic Beverage Brand of the Year Status in 2012, achieving an average Ace Score of 585 compared to its average score of 607 last year. Grabbing the top spot was Ocean Spray, whose ads include two men in a cranberry bog. Their six ads delivered an average Ace Score of 595.
Blue Moon swept the Alcoholic Beverage Category with an average Ace Score of 538, beating out big beer brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light, all of which failed to even make the Watch List this year, a stark comparison to 2011.
Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.