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Food Ads Take the Cake as the Top TV Ads Among Dads

2 minute read | June 2014

With Father’s Day around the corner, lots of people are scratching their heads trying to figure out what to get the man who has everything. Turns out, the answer might be as simple as a sandwich, because it appears food really is the key to a man’s heart: six of the top 10 ads among dads in 2014 advertised food products or restaurants.

The number one TV ad spot for the year comes from Subway. The sandwich powerhouse’s “Cruncha Muncha Fritos on My Sub” jingle served its intended purpose, getting stuck in Dads’ heads and burning itself on to their memories. Subway’s use of verbal and visual brand cues early and often is a proven strategy for success, and the catchy little ditty led to a second top 10 placement for the brand. The brand leveraged the jingle across its campaign as an “ownable” concept by introducing an uber-efficient take on eating chips and a sandwich.

Other food ads were top of mind for fathers this year. Sonic, Wendy’s, McDonald’s and DiGiorno all ranked highly in dads’ hearts and minds by all similarly using their own ownable concepts. Wendy’s loveable redhead made an appearance while Sonic’s spokesguys T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz were as hilarious as ever, and finally, DiGiorno answered the age old question “Delivery or DiGiorno?” with a pizza pie all but flying out the window of a delivery guy’s car as it speeds by.

A few non-food ads also made the list, mostly earning their spots in the top 10 through their use of humor. Like ownable concepts, humor is incredibly effective in establishing likeable ads that are memorable to boot, especially among men. Similar to Subway, GEICO made the list twice with two ads from its Did You Know campaign that both featured humorous and surprising storylines. Another notable funny top 10-er was AT&T’s “Sleeping Baby,” which featured a humorous, family-focused storyline—one that was particularly relatable to fathers.

Top 10 Ads Among Dads

Rank Brand Ad Description Ad Length Ad + Brand Memorability Index
1 Subway Crunch N Munch – People Singing :15 235
2 GEICO A Tree Does Make a Sound :15 219
3 Sonic Ordered All 25 Shakes – Nicknames :30 216
4 Best Buy Beta-Testing 2-in-1 Laptops :30 210
5 Subway Introducing Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt :15 203
5 Wendy’s I Got a Ciabatta :15 203
7 AT&T Sleeping Baby :30 200
7 GEICO Pinocchio is a Bad Motivational Speaker :30 200
7 McDonald’s Takes Her Coffee with a McGriddle :15 200
10 DiGiorno Rising Pizza Crust – New Sauce :15 197  
Source: Nielsen.


Nielsen TV Brand Effect employs a nationally representative online panel of TV viewers who have watched programs within the past 24 hours. These panelists answer survey questions about the programs they watched and the commercials they were exposed to. Since the panelists respond based on what they watched in a natural environment (as opposed to a clinical research environment), the results reflect real-life reaction to and memory of television commercials. Nielsen logs and issues surveys for all national commercials within its coverage dayparts and networks.

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