Rainbows on fire, old-fashioned shaving bunnies, magic turnaround pants and towel ninjas seem to resonate well with consumers. Dairy Queen's new series of "RiDQulous" ads have been the most effective in the quick-service industry so far this year, according to a study by Ace Metrix, which measures television advertising success.
Dairy Queen's seven new ads each feature an embellishing spokesman who references many examples as to why "good isn't good enough" at the chain.
For example: "At Dairy Queen, we didn't just stop at soft serve, we made the one of a kind blizzard. And we don't just stop there; we shrink it down to give you the mini blizzard for only $1.99. We don't just have rainbows, we have rainbows on fire. And these aren't just bunnies, they're old-fashioned shaving bunnies. Because at Dairy Queen, good isn't good enough."
This series earned an Ace Score of 618 (compared to an industry average of 578).
"It's interesting to see Dairy Queen beat the behemoths, including McDonald's, which has just recently reintroduced Ronald McDonald for the first time since last year," said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. "Subway's frequency of new ads and commitment to creative messaging this year has also clearly paid off, as four of its ads were among the Top 10 most effective ads year-to-date, along with four from Dairy Queen, one from Wendy's and one from Baskin Robbins."
Here is a ranking of the top 10 most effective QSR advertisers, YTD, and their average Ace Scores:
- Dairy Queen, 618
- Wendy's, 610
- Baskin Robbins, 599
- KFC, 594
- Subway, 594
- Burger King, 593
- Popeye's, 591
- Chick-fil-A, 589
- Taco Bell, 579
- Sonic, 578
The category average is 578. Falling below that score, in order, was McDonald's, Quiznos, Jack in the Box, Arby's, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks Coffee and Long John Silver's.
Subway, which launched more new ads (19) than any other QSR this year, had the most successful single ad (Ace Score of 655), which touted the hazards of eating "greasy fast foods."
Subway's Ace scores have moved from a low of 470 in October to consistently above 600 in recent months.
Other individual ads that were measured as effective include Wendy's new french fry launch, with a 648 score. Dairy Queen had three in the top five, including "Not Just Bunnies," Bubbles With Kittens in them" and "DQ Soft Serve Mother's Day."
Where is McDonald's?
McDonald's has been quite aggressive in introducing new creative, with 16 new ads in 2011. However, none of these ads received high enough Ace Scores to rank among the top 10.
"McDonald's creative messaging, including its recent reintroduction of Ronald McDonald, has fallen rather flat so far. Food shots, which these ads lack, can be a major driver of desire in QSR ads, which could be one contributor to the low overall effectiveness scores," Daboll said. "But McDonald's fragmented messages and targeting, which has led to a rather garbled message, is likely the bigger problem. Advertisers need to realize that their ads hit all types of consumers, regardless of the core target."
An 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 0-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as relevance, persuasion, watchability, information, attention, etc.