Product ads are top performers among non-COVID-19 spots, study finds

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Idaho Potato, Reynolds Kitchens, Shark Vac Mop and M&M’s are among brands whose product-focused ads are resonating with consumers so far in the second quarter, per a new Ace Metrix survey.
  • While COVID-19-related ads make up 44% of breaking ads tested since the beginning of Q2, product-focused ads are generating the strongest responses among the remaining 56%​. Only four of the ads on the survey’s ranking of the top 20 non-COVID-19 ads didn’t earn marks for a metric measuring gut reactions to products and services. While the product-related metric was one among many that registered for ads that ran during the second quarter of 2019, it was the strongest reaction among non-COVID-19 ads so far this year.
  • Idaho Potato’s “Side Dish” ad scored the highest on the product-related metric out of the top ten ads. The spot has a folksy feel and uses food closeups to showcase how potatoes can be a main entree.

Dive Insight:

An important takeaway for brands from the Ace Metrix research is that focusing on products can be an effective way to emotionally connect with consumers right now. From food to tools for cleaning up, products that can improve domestic life are generating a strong positive response as consumers are spending more time at home during the health crisis.

Idaho Potato’s “Side Dish” commercial, for instance, focuses on the many ways an inexpensive staple like a potato can be a main dish while also featuring a folksy narration, a big truck and a dog to deepen a connection with America’s heartland. The message could be effective since it comes as people are doing more cooking and households are looking for ways to stretch their budgets in the recession.

In other examples of well-performing ads, Reynolds Kitchens’ “Three Soups” ad focuses on how slow-cooker liners can make cleaning up easier while providing simple recipes through a partnership with Tastemade. Shark’s “Powerful Clean” ad shows how people can easily clean up with a product that is a mop and vacuum in one, another welcome message to housebound consumers.

The findings around a strong positive reaction to ads that don’t focus specifically on the crisis follows another recent survey from Ace Metrix that found consumers feel COVID-19-related ads are getting repetitive and some ads even feel exploitative. The data illustrates that the health crisis alone may no longer be enough to capture consumer interest.

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