The much-anticipated series finale of ABC's LOST on May 23, which dominated blogosphere chatter and was the most-watched primetime program of the night with an average 13.6 million viewers, also delivered a highly engaging environment for its advertisers.
According to The Nielsen Company, nearly 90% of the national advertisements aired during the telecast achieved higher brand recall in the finale, compared to their average in other primetime programming on broadcast and major cable networks in the prior week.
The ads, which spanned the Automotive, Retail, Telecom, CPG, and other categories, on average generated 51% higher Brand Recall, 92% higher Message Recall, and 66% higher Likeability when airing in the LOST finale versus their other airings in the prior week.
Even during its regular season, LOST has typically provided a strong vehicle for advertisers. Nielsen found that commercials airing in the three May episodes leading up to the finale were on average 27% better-recalled during LOST than they were in other primetime programs. Still, with a 51% lift in Brand Recall, the finale episode delivered an even higher level of commercial attention.
Verizon, which had run a series of "hybrid" tie-in ads during the preceding retrospective episode, posted one of the strongest gains of any advertiser. Its traditional ads on average generated 100% higher Brand Recall during the LOST finale.
Viewers, which skewed slightly more female (54%) than male (46%), were particularly fond of a spot from Target, which incorporated themes from the show into a customized creative. Target’s “smoke monster” ad promoting First Alert detectors, captured the strongest Net Likeability of any ad in the show - nearly quadrupling the average of all other spots in the telecast.
A sampling of finales from other highly engaging TV series - across reality, drama and comedy - found that advertisers generally received 10-30% greater Brand Recall compared to their airings in other programming.