Week’s top-performing TV restaurant ads: Something old, something new

Casual-dining chains continued to flog new products and deals, while quick-service and fast-casual brands turned a spotlight on their signature long-standing hits.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Applebee’s continued to dominate the past week’s casual-chain advertising, scoring seven of the top 10 positions in EDO’s weekly rating of commercials by their effectiveness. The segment held its focus on food, and largely new items at that. The focus of all seven high-scoring Applebee’s executions was the chain’s new Irresist-A-Bowls line. Chili’s landed the No. 8 slot with a 15-second spot for its new “fancy” three-for-$10 meal (the bundle includes steak as the entree), while Olive Garden snagged the No. 4 and No. 7 rankings with a 30-second promotion of its all-you-can-eat stuffed pasta offer.

Limited service chains, in contrast, turned their ad spotlights squarely on tried-and-true draws that have worked well for the brands in the past. McDonald’s, for instance, scored three of the top 10 finishes with commercials hawking breakfast and Quarter Pounders. Chick-fil-A landed the top two spots with airings of a commercial for the chain’s nuggets. 

The commercials are ranked by EDO on the basis of their effectiveness, as indicated by a proprietary algorithm, Search Engagement Volume, that measures changes in online searches for a brand after one of its commercial airs. The tracking company has found that Googling a chain is typically the first step in the path toward frequenting it.


Top 10 casual/midscale network primetime TV ads of the wee
Feb. 4 – Feb. 10
Ranked by Search Engagement Volume (SEV)


  1. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :30 - 20.7 SEV
    Chicago Fire (NBC), Feb 5, 8.2M impressions
  2. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :30 - 16.5 SEV
    NCIS (CBS), Feb 4, 7.7M impressions
  3. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :30 - 15.5 SEV
    All Rise (CBS), Feb 10, 5.7M impressions
  4. Olive Garden Never Ending Stuffed Pasta :30 - 11.5 SEV
    Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Feb 6, 5.5M impressions
  5. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :15 - 11.2 SEV
    Young Sheldon (CBS), Feb 6, 9.0M impressions
  6. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :15 - 11.0 SEV
    Mom (CBS), Feb 6, 6.3M impressions
  7. Olive Garden Never Ending Stuffed Pasta :30 - 8.8 SEV
    Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Feb 6, 5.5M impressions
  8. Chili's 3 for $10 - Chili's Fancy :15 - 8.0 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Feb 5, 5.3M impressions
  9. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :30 - 7.2 SEV
    Indebted (NBC), Feb 6, 2.1M impressions
  10. Applebee's New Irresist-A-Bowls :15 - 7.1 SEV
    The Unicorn (CBS), Feb 6, 6.1M impressions



Top 10 QSR/fast-casual network primetime TV ads
Feb. 4 – Feb. 10

Ranked by Search Engagement Volume (SEV)

  1. Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A Nuggets - Magic - 16.9 SEV
    Station 19 (ABC), Feb 6, 5.9M impressions
  2. Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A Nuggets - Magic - 16.5 SEV
    The Good Doctor (ABC), Feb 10, 5.6M impressions
  3. McDonald's Quarter Pounder - Imperfections - 16.3 SEV
    Chicago Med (NBC), Feb 5, 8.6M impressions
  4. McDonald's Wake Up Breakfast - Change Your Life - 15.2 SEV
    9-1-1: Lone Star (FOX), Feb 10, 5.7M impressions
  5. Domino's Pizza Domino's App - Delivery Business - 12.3 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Feb 5, 5.3M impressions
  6. Taco Bell Supply & Demand - 60s - 12.0 SEV
    LEGO Masters (FOX), Feb 5, 4.8M impressions
  7. Starbucks New Non-Dairy Options - 11.6 SEV
    Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Feb 6, 5.5M impressions
  8. Domino's Pizza Domino's App - Delivery Business - 10.7 SEV
    The Masked Singer (FOX), Feb 5, 7.4M impressions
  9. Wendy's 2 for $5 :15 - 10.1 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Feb 5, 5.3M impressions
  10. McDonald's Quarter Pounder - Imperfections - 10.0 SEV
    The Bachelor (ABC), Feb 10, 6.4M impressions

Source: EDO
SEV = Search Engagement Volume

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