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Value pitches dominate start of QSRs' ad year

Full-service TV advertising was dominated by Applebee's and Olive Garden, which both put a spotlight on attractively priced new offers.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Domino’s dominated quick-service TV advertising during the start of 2020, grabbing four of the top five spots in a ranking of limited-service-chain commercials by their effectiveness from New Year’s Eve through Jan. 6. All four of the spots touted value, as did each of the ads that finished in the top 10 on the listing from EDO, a marketing measurement and analytics company that provides the weekly list under a partnership with Restaurant Business.

The commercials spotlighted deals ranging from Taco Bell’s offer of a Double Stacked Taco for $1 to Domino’s promotion of $7.99 pizzas made with any of the chain’s five types of crusts. Together, the two chains’ bargain offers accounted for seven of the top 10 airings. McDonald’s commercials for its 2 for $5 Mix and Match Deal and spots for Wendy’s 4 for $4 offer rounded out the top-performing group. 

Full-service chains, meanwhile, stepped up their TV advertising in an apparent effort to reach price-conscious holiday revelers. Applebee’s, for instance, increased its impressions by 500%, according to EDO. 

The Dine Brands Global holding and Olive Garden accounted for all 10 of the top spots on the full-service ranking with ads pushing new menu options: unlimited boneless wings for Applebee's and new pastas and lunch choices for Darden Restaurants’ Italian brand.

EDO uses a proprietary measure called Search Engagement Volume (SEV) to gauge effectiveness. The calculation correlates the airing of a commercial to changes in online searches for the brand’s websites under the assumption that the activity is a first step toward a purchase. 

 

Top 10 QSR/fast-casual network primetime TV ads of the week
Dec. 31 – Jan. 6

  1. Domino's Pizza Five Crust Options for $7.99 - Elevator :15 - 25.7 SEV
    Flirty Dancing (FOX), Jan 1, 1.8M impressions
  2. Domino's Pizza Mix & Match Deal - Allowance :15 - 23.7 SEV
    Evil (CBS), Jan 1, 2.2M impressions
  3. Taco Bell $1 Double Stacked Tacos - Big Show :30 - 20.7 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Jan 6, 6.1M impressions
  4. Domino's Pizza Five Crust Options for $7.99 - Elevator :15 - 14.2 SEV
    Evil (CBS), Jan 1, 1.9M impressions
  5. Domino's Pizza Five Crust Options for $7.99 - Elevator :15 - 12.9 SEV
    iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2 (CW), Dec 31, 0.5M impressions
  6. Taco Bell $1 Double Stacked Tacos - Big Show :15 - 11.9 SEV
    Last Man Standing (FOX), Jan 2, 5.2M impressions
  7. McDonald's 2 for $5 Mix & Match - Choose From Your Favorites :15 - 11.8 SEV
    Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2020 (ABC), Dec 31, 10.8M impressions
  8. Taco Bell $1 Double Stacked Tacos - Big Show :30 - 11.3 SEV
    Deputy (FOX), Jan 2, 4.8M impressions
  9. McDonald's 2 for $5 Mix & Match - Choose From Your Favorites :15 - 11.2 SEV
    Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2020 (ABC), Dec 31, 10.8M impressions
  10. Wendy's 4 for $4 - Nothing Beats the One :30 - 10.7 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Jan 6, 6.0M impressions

 

Top 10 casual/midscale network primetime TV ads of the week
Dec. 31 – Jan. 6

  1. Olive Garden Delicious New Year :30 - 12.2 SEV
    What Is Jeopardy!? Alex Trebek and America's Most Popular Quiz Show (ABC), Jan 2, 7.8M impressions
  2. Applebee's Can’t Help Myself :15 - 10.8 SEV
    America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC), Jan 5, 4.6M impressions
  3. Applebee's Can’t Help Myself :15 - 9.0 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Jan 6, 6.0M impressions
  4. Olive Garden Best Option :30 - 9.0 SEV
    20/20 (ABC), Jan 3, 4.0M impressions
  5. Applebee's Can’t Help Myself :15 - 8.3 SEV
    NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Jan 5, 5.7M impressions
  6. Olive Garden Best Option :30 - 8.3 SEV
    Ellen's Game of Games (NBC), Jan 3, 3.4M impressions
  7. Olive Garden Delicious New Year :30 - 8.1 SEV
    America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC), Jan 5, 4.6M impressions
  8. Olive Garden Delicious New Year :30 - 7.9 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Jan 6, 6.0M impressions
  9. Applebee's Can’t Help Myself :15 - 5.9 SEV
    60 Minutes (CBS), Jan 5, 7.7M impressions
  10. Olive Garden Delicious New Year :30 - 5.3 SEV
    The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition (ABC), Jan 2, 3.6M impressions

Source: EDO

SEV = Search Engagement Volume

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