P&G, Klondike, Google Win Top Q2 TV and Video Ads

Of the 2,100+ TV and video ads tested in Q2, the following distinguished themselves by achieving the highest scores on Empower, Funny or Heartfelt metrics from Ace Metrix Creative Assessment

The Most Empowering Video Ads from Q2

More and more brands are striving for relevance and trying to forge meaningful bonds with consumers through socially conscious, purpose-driven marketing that connects emotionally. But, it’s how brands communicate those social and cultural messages that can make or break consumer trust. 

It’s important for marketers to measure the risks and rewards that come with taking a stand and how that reflects on their brand. Measuring positive Cultural Perception*, the Empower score from Ace Metrix Creative Assessment, indicates when an ad’s purpose-driven message reflects positively on a brand by inspiring, encouraging or motivating viewers. 

The 5 most empowering video ads from Q2 rank among the top 0.7%of all ads, with the first 3 falling in the 99.9th percentile. Congrats to the following brands!

RankBrandAd TitleLengthEmpower Signal Band
1Procter & GambleThese Hands2:00Extreme
2Procter & GambleYour Goodness is Your Greatness1:00Extreme
3ToyotaWhat’s In Us1:00Extreme
4DiscoverBig Benefits0:30Rare
5CoronaProtect Our Beaches0:30Rare

Pre-pandemic, Ace Metrix Creative Assessment measured a 12-14% average monthly rate of empowering ads. At the onset of lockdowns, brands rose to the occasion with uplifting and encouraging messages, resulting in a dramatic spike in Empowering ads (49% of ads in April 2020). While that rate leveled off in the following months, the number of empowering ads remained higher than norm throughout 2020 — monthly rates were above 20%. 

The trend is here to stay, with the rate of Empowering video ads at 23% and 25% in Q1 and Q2, respectively.As the 2021 Summer Olympics approach, the rate of empowering ads is bound to remain the same or increase as more brands tap into the inspiration around the long-awaited games. Already, Olympics tie-in ads are making a mark – two of the most empowering video ads from Q2, “Your Goodness is Your Greatness“ from P&G and “What’s In Us” from Toyota, leveraged the athletic theme.

The two ads on the list from Procter & Gamble rank among the 5 most empowering video ads from the last 5 years. “These Hands” is part of Procter & Gamble’s “Widen the Screen” campaign — which won a Silver Film Lion at Cannes Lions this year. The message in “These Hands” was incredibly inspiring with 58% of survey respondents naming it the Single Best Thing about the ad. Despite its 2:00 length, the engaging narrative and visual scenes successfully broke through with viewers with Attention and Likeability scores 17% and 22% above norm, respectively. 

The Funniest Video Ads from Q2

Humor is as polarizing as today’s political climate — Not everyone finds the same things funny. Combine that with heightened consumer sensitivity, and there is a lot that could go wrong with trying to make a funny video ad. These days, brands need to work harder for laughs to avoid blowback and positively resonate with the masses. That’s just what the funniest video ads of Q2 did.

The funniest video ads from Q2 all rank in the 98th percentile and up among all ads. Congrats to the following brands!

RankBrandAd TitleLengthFunny Score
3Credit KarmaCredit Approved0:307.1
4GoldfishBoban Bag0:306.9
5Jimmy John’sStakeout0:306.8

Humor in video ads plummeted at the start of the pandemic — inversely to Empower. Advertisers were focused on COVID-related topics and avoided any content that might come off as tone deaf. The rate of humor in TV and video ads remained lower than pre-pandemic norms throughout 2020. 

Brands were ready to get back to normal in the new year, with the rate of Funny ads spiking in January and February 2021 (a trend that’s in line with previous years). Humor has dropped since but remains much higher than the low levels measured after March 2020. In fact, 23% of all ads tested in Q2 2021 scored on Funny — similar to pre-pandemic volume. 

Klondike kept viewers engaged with a quirky, humorous stunt. The Attention score for “Eyebrow” was 7% above Q2 advertising norms for ice cream brands. The branded intro card, along with the memorable slogan (“What would you do for a Klondike bar?”) made it easy for viewers to identify Klondike as the advertiser. In fact, brand recognition was 30% greater than the norm. 

M&M’s is no stranger to comedic messaging. To promote the new all-in-one bag of milk chocolate, peanut butter, and peanut M&M’s, the brand cleverly caught and kept viewers attention with a witty storyline featuring its infamous Spokescandies. The product-forward humor scored 9% and 12% above Q2 Candy & Snack category norms on Attention and Likeability respectively. Moreover, the 0:15 spot drove really strong Desire (11% above norm) for the new M&M’s Mix product.

The Most Heartfelt Video Ads from Q2

With Mother’s and Father’s Day falling in the second quarter, ads that paid tribute to parents were common among those that scored on Heartfelt. Two of the five most heartfelt ads were celebrating Mother’s Day. All of the most heartfelt ads tapped into universal themes like family and togetherness — something everyone is yearning for after living through the past year of isolation.  

The 5 most heartfelt video ads from Q2 rank among the top 2% of all ads. Congrats to the following brands!

RankBrandAd TitleLengthHeartfelt Score
1GoogleA CODA Story1:009.6
2ToyotaAmazing Stuff0:307.6
3Dick’s Sporting GoodsMothers Day1:006.5
4TylenolCelebrating the Moms Who Care Without Limits0:305.9
5Motel 6For Abuela and Tito0:305.7

Unlike with Empower and Funny trends, Heartfelt messaging fluctuated throughout the pandemic within normal levels. Sometimes ads trigger both Empowering and Heartfelt reactions, but the former is more about purpose-driven, corporate responsibility messaging while the latter connects through emotional storytelling. 

After the pandemic started, hundreds of ads promoted actions brands were taking to help and/or encouraging messages, explaining the spike in Empowering ads. At that point, everything that was happening was so new; pandemic-related narratives were just starting to unfold. At this point, brands have uncovered heartfelt themes from quarantine and are tapping into them when appropriate. In fact, Q2’s most heartfelt video ads from Google, Tylenol and Motel 6 all leveraged relatable, emotional narratives from the past year. 

“A CODA Story” from Google highlights the company’s accessible technology for those with disabilities. The creative tells the story of Tony Lee, who used Google products to stay in touch and share his newborn’s most important moments with his deaf parents during the pandemic. The universal themes of family and togetherness combined with the thoughtful message about accessible technology successfully pulled at viewers’ heartstrings. “A CODA story” ranks among the most heartfelt ads of all time. 

Learn more about the emotional measurement behind these top-performing ads in our latest guide. You’ll also discover how measurement helps marketers strike the right tone with consumers and tips for successfully landing empowering, funny and heartfelt messages in video ads. 

*Cultural Perception: By measuring the positive and negative impact of advertising, the Cultural Perception scoring system from Ace Metrix Creative Assessment ultimately helps brands assess the risk and rewards of achieving emotional connections as they relate to cultural and social subjects. Leverages the same Natural Language Processing and machine learning methodology as emotional measurement. 

About the Author

Sammi Scharninghausen is a Marketing Manager at iSpot.tv. She covers brand impact, TV advertising trends and industry events. For questions and inquiries, please contact marketing@ispot.tv.