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Value pitches cut through casual dining’s holiday ad clutter

A weekly ranking of restaurant chains’ top TV commercials by effectiveness shows consumers responding to value-oriented pitches from casual brands. But limited-service brands fared better with spots promising an experience.
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TV commercials touting the availability of Chili’s 3 for $10 deal for takeout earned the Brinker International chain three of the top 10 spots on this week’s ranking of casual/midscale network ad spots by effectiveness. But it failed to best Darden Restaurants’ Olive Garden, whose own value messages earned it three of the top six slots. 

In contrast, the top placements for limited-service restaurants stressed experiences over deals. Feel-good spots tied to the holidays kept Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC in the top 10. Even Taco Bell’s product-oriented commercials, for rolled chicken tacos, looked at the product from the perspective of an Instagram-loving couple.

The ratings are provided by EDO, a service that monitors every commercial aired by restaurant chains and other major industries across about 120 networks. Its proprietary effectiveness score—SEV, or Search Engagement Volume—is based on what uplift a brand sees in online searches after a TV commercial is shown. The model is based on the supposition that searches are often the first step in ordering from a brand.

Here are the top 10 commercial airings for full- and limited-service restaurants for Dec. 10 through Dec. 16.  
 

Top 10 casual/midscale network primetime TV ads of the week

  1. Olive Garden 2019 Everyday Value - Italian Generosity :30 - 14.9 SEV
    Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways (NBC), Dec 10, 6.8M impressions
  2. Chili's 3 for $10 - Take It to Go :15 - 9.2 SEV
    Mom (CBS), Dec 12, 6.3M impressions
  3. Olive Garden 2019 Everyday Value - Italian Generosity :30 - 6.8 SEV
    The Sound of Music (ABC), Dec 15, 4.0M impressions
  4. Chili's 3 for $10 - Take It to Go :15 - 4.8 SEV
    Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways (NBC), Dec 11, 6.0M impressions
  5. Applebee's Give a Gift Card :15 - 4.4 SEV
    Football Night in America (NBC), Dec 15, 13.5M impressions
  6. Olive Garden 2019 Everyday Value - Italian Generosity :30 - 3.8 SEV
    The Sound of Music (ABC), Dec 15, 4.0M impressions
  7. Chili's 3 for $10 - Take It to Go :15 - 3.8 SEV
    Making It (NBC), Dec 11, 2.8M impressions
  8. Applebee's Give a Gift Card :15 - 3.2 SEV
    The Sound of Music (ABC), Dec 15, 4.0M impressions
  9. Olive Garden Season's Hottest Must Haves :15 - 2.3 SEV
    Nick Cannon's Hit Viral Videos -- Holidays 2019 (FOX), Dec 16, 1.8M impressions
  10. Olive Garden Season's Hottest Must Haves :15 - 1.9 SEV
    Saturday Night Live (NBC), Dec 14, 2.3M impressions

Top 10 QSR/fast-casual network primetime TV ads of the week

  1. Starbucks Adventures of Dot - Look Who’s Home for the Holidays :15 - 10.6 SEV
    Survivor (CBS), Dec 11, 6.8M impressions
  2. Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Tacos - Sunset Heart Hands :15 - 10.2 SEV
    The OT (FOX), Dec 15, 12.1M impressions
  3. KFC Carolers :15 - 8.4 SEV
    The OT (FOX), Dec 15, 12.1M impressions
  4. Domino's Pizza Delivery Insurance :30 - 8.2 SEV
    Penn & Teller: Fool Us (CW), Dec 16, 0.8M impressions
  5. Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Tacos - Sunset Heart Hands :15 - 7.9 SEV
    Bless This Mess (ABC), Dec 10, 3.6M impressions
  6. McDonalds Holiday Shopping :30 - 7.2 SEV
    Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways (NBC), Dec 12, 5.9M impressions
  7. KFC Carolers :15 - 7.2 SEV
    S.W.A.T. (CBS), Dec 11, 4.8M impressions
  8. McDonalds Holiday Shopping :30 - 7.2 SEV
    The Voice (NBC), Dec 10, 8.3M impressions
  9. Starbucks Moment of Merry :15 - 6.0 SEV
    Mom (CBS), Dec 12, 6.3M impressions
  10. Starbucks Adventures of Dot - Look Who’s Home for the Holidays :15 - 5.7 SEV
    The Sound of Music (ABC), Dec 15, 4.0M impressions

Source: EDO

    SEV = Search engagement volume

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