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Ace Metrix's released its second BLACKBOOK guide today, providing an overview of which restaurant brands' TV ads resonated the most with U.S. audiences in 2013.
Ace Metrix scored ads from 96 categories within 25 industries. In the restaurant category, both QSR and casual dining were researched.
For QSR overall, the average Ace Score dropped 2.1 percent, however the category still remains one of the top scoring.
Pizza companies outscored burger brands by 6.2 percent and other QSR advertisers by 1.8 percent. But it was Baskin-Robbins that earned the top spot in 2013, edging out Pizza Hut by one point.
Baskin-Robbins only ran 15-second spots throughout the year, "maximizing its media budget with mouthwatering visuals of its ice cream flavors," according to a news release from Ace Metrix.
The guide says, "Pizza Hut remained at the top of the pack despite an agency change that took in a new, equally successful direction that saw storylines accompany its sexy pizza shots."
At No. 3, Panera Bread is new to the list. The brand earned points by telling stories about its food and philanthropic efforts, Ace Metrix said, adding: "Panera is a textbook example of a challenger brand getting it right with each spot to maximize its media dollars."
Panera was followed by Boston Market, Domino's Pizza and Dairy Queen.
The rest of the QSR rankings include:
No. 7, KFC
No. 8, Taco Bell
No. 9 (tie), Sonic and Wendy's
No. 11, Subway
No. 12, Little Caesars
No. 13, Popeyes
No. 14 (tie), Long John Silver's and Papa John's
No. 16, Dunkin' Donuts
No. 17, Burger King
No. 18, Starbucks
No. 19, Arby's
No. 20, Hardee's
No. 21 (tie), Carl's Jr., and McDonald's
No. 23, Quiznos
No. 24, Chuck E. Cheese's
On the narrow portfolio list — for brands with fewer than five pieces of creative — Dairy Queen ranked No. 1, followed by CiCi's Pizza, Bojangles, Chick-fil-A, Taco Cabana, Jersey Mike's and CKE Restaurants.
Check out one of Baskin-Robbins' 15-second spots from last year:
Casual Dining moved to the top of the ranks in 2013, pushing out Appliances which was 2012's highest ranking category. Casual Dining scores are usually high in Desire, Likeability and Attention, with nearly 40 percent of the category ads achieving an Ace Score of 600 or higher.
The top three brands — Longhorn Steakhouse, TGI Fridays and Olive Garden — were separated by one point in Ace Score. Also of note, Joe's Crab Shack made the most improvement — moving up 13.4 percent in its Ace Score. Relevance plays a role — those brands with more restaurants tend to outscore more regional players, the release said.
Top 10 brands by "persuasion"
Baskin-Robbins also fared well in the "persuasion" ranking. There are six persuasion metrics measured for each ad, including "desire," "change," "relevance," "attention," "information" and "likeability."
Baskin-Robbins was No. 6 in the "desire" category, among seven casual dining chains, as well as Reese's and Tropicana.
Baskin-Robbins was also on the "attention" list, at No. 8, and the "likeability" list at No. 7. The only other limited-service brand to score in the top 10 for a persuasion component was Pizza Hut, at No. 10 in relevance.
Top by brand by "emotional sentiment"
The Emotional Sentiment Index is represented on a scale of one to 100, and indicates where the ad falls in negative or positive emotional impact, according to Ace Metrix.
No limited-service brands scored in the top 10. Olive Garden (No. 5) and Carrabba's Italian Grill (No. 10) were the only restaurants on this list.
The data was pulled by examining nearly 1,400 brands, more than 12,000 ads and more than 1.2 million consumer interactions. Within each category, brands have been ranked on one of two lists based on the number of unique creative to first debut on national TV in 2013.
Rankings in BLACKBOOK are based on proprietary Ace Scores, which measure metrics of "persuasion" and "watchability." Also, the Emotional Sentiment Index represents ad effectiveness.
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.