Little Caesars wins Super Bowl restaurant-ad derby

The chain’s delivery commercial set more consumers on a path to purchase than ads run by McDonald’s and several other larger chains, according to rating service EDO.

Little Caesars scored a win of its own during Super Bowl LIV, besting every other restaurant advertiser with a 30-second spot promoting the takeout chain’s new delivery service, according to a ranking from rating service EDO.

The commercial set more consumers on a path to making a purchase than did ads from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Subway, EDO indicated in a ranking released this morning. The service bases its ranking of commercials’ effectiveness on a proprietary gauge called SEV, or Search Engagement Volume. EDO has found that a search for a brand or its nearest restaurant is often a first step toward buying an advertiser’s goods or services. Its ranking is based on a change in search activity.

EDO applied the measure to all 88 commercials that ran during the game, which was expected to draw close to 100 million viewers. Little Caesars placed the highest among restaurant chains, at No. 24. The next closest restaurant finisher was McDonald’s at No. 50. The burger giant ran a 30-second spot featuring the favorite orders of celebrities and fictional characters. 

Other restaurant commercials included spots from Pizza Hut, which promoted its Meat Lovers Pizza (No. 57); Burger King, which touted its Impossible Whopper (No. 58); and Subway, which focused on a limited-time $2.99 sandwich deal (No. 80).  

The Little Caesars ad played off an assertion that its entry into delivery was the greatest innovation since sliced bread. The focus shifted to a fictional company called Sliced Bread Inc., whose CEO was portrayed by Rainn Wilson, star of “The Office.” Wilson’s character frantically searches for a new advance that would trump Little Caesars’ action, to no avail.

EDO noted that advertising during the game was dominated this year by car brands. Finishing first, second and third in the rankings were Genesis, Hummer and Audi, respectively. Kia and Porsche also finished within the top 11.

The ranking service also reported that “diversity had a breakout game this year,” with 40% of the commercials featuring women, members of a minority or representatives of the LGBTQ community. 

“This year’s ads were also heavy on celebrity appearances (featuring as many as 15 in a single spot!) and humor, trending towards upbeat and fun rather than serious,” EDO observed.

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