Cheerios crowned ‘brand of the year’ in US packaged foods TV advertising

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cheerios' 2014 TV advertising was 15% more effective than last year
Cheerios' 2014 TV advertising was 15% more effective than last year

Related tags: Marketing

General Mills’ flagship cereal brand generated a storm of interest in television advertising for 2014 - way ahead of the competition, according to analysis firm Ace Metrix.

In its annual report, Ace Metrix concluded Cheerios was the top-performing brand in the packaged food category in terms of TV advertising effectiveness. Lay’s topped the candies and snacks category and Snapple the non-alcoholic beverages segment.

In a poll of around 700,000 consumers generating 3.5 million responses, ads were measured by Ace Metrix on six attributes – persuasion, likeability, information, attention, change, relevance, desire and watchability. Ace Metrix used 500+ responses – chosen to be demographically balanced for age, gender and income – to then measure each individual ad throughout the year alongside qualitative written responses from consumers.

Cheerios scored 15% higher than the previous year, predominantly thanks to ‘likeability’ and ‘desire’ generated by its ads.

Its highest-scoring ad was ‘One Million Coupons’ which aired in February 2014 showcasing its limited coupon offer for families; an ad Ace Metrix said consumers gravitated to because of the good deal. The next best-rated ad was the ‘Favorite Flavor’ piece which aired mid-2014, depicting a young child and his father discussing the kids’ favorite Cheerios flavor. Ace Metrix said the ad proved “heartwarming”​ and “familiar”​ to audiences. 

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, Gloria Consola, vice president of corporate marketing at Ace Metrix, said that beyond the top two ads, General Mills had raised the bar throughout the year.

“While these top ads certainly made a mark on Cheerios’ 2014 campaign, all of Cheerios’ ads from last year scored above the 2014 norm for packaged foods.”

What makes an engaging ad?

She said Cheerios had succeeded with its TV advertising approach because it was creative and worked well with the brand.

“…They have evolved alongside Americans with their depiction of family allowing them to remain relevant and relatable. Their focus on family dynamics, thoughtful and emotive storylines create a likeable connection with a broad audience,” ​she said.

For 2014, Cheerios advertising scored highest on ‘likeability’ and ‘desire’. Asked if these were important factors in creating effective ads, Consola said it depended on the objectives of the company.

With Cheerios, for example, she said the company was clearly working to engage consumers emotionally with the TV ads - something that helped the brand’s likeability significantly.

“We also find high ‘desire’ scores frequently among food brands – it’s that ‘I want that’ reaction to food advertisements, particularly for well-established brands,” ​she said.

Not all positive…

However, General Mills has not been entirely free from criticism or difficulties relating to its TV advertising over the years.

Back in 2013, it faced racist backlash for a Cheerios TV ad featuring an interracial family​ with a flurry of racist remarks made on the YouTube page for the 30-second ad.

However, General Mills fought back and defended its ad – “at Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all”​, it said at the time.

Related topics: Manufacturers

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