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At Your Service: TV Ads Focused on Services Appeal to Dads In 2015

3 minute read | June 2015

Many consumers have an annual Father’s Day tradition: Figuring out a unique gift to give dear old dad. Does he want more than grill accessories and ties? To find out what dads are really paying attention to, Nielsen recently analyzed the top 10 English-language ads among dads in the U.S. over the first half of 2015. And one thing is certain—whether it’s having help regarding yearly finances, protecting investments or considering the best way to connect with content, advertisements that promoted service-based companies were a big hit among fathers. In fact, ads featuring services were in seven out of 10 of the top spots in terms of memorability! This was a far cry from last year, when six out of 10 spots among dads plugged food products.    

The creative team at financial services company H&R Block took the top two ads and both seemed to reach fathers in a tried and true manner—through their wallets. The top ad, H&R Block’s “Man in Warehouse” creative featured just that, a spokesperson in a warehouse with stacks of cash. The second most popular ad featured the same man in an airplane dropping pallets of money. Both spots touted tax refunds, a classic song and the tagline “Get Your Billions Back, America!”

The third ad in the ranking took a different approach, instead tugging at heartstrings. The U.S. Automobile Association’s campaign featured family members of current and former U.S. servicemen and women giving thanks, with one daughter saying, “Thank you for being my hero and my dad.”

Other ads that were top of mind among fathers this year include Burger King’s pregnant chicken ad and a trio from DIRECTV spots featuring actor Rob Lowe. These advertisements eschewed sentimentality for humor, and the Lowe creatives featured the actor playing both himself as well as alternative versions of himself, including a deadbeat, a paranoid and a poor decision-maker. An ad for Marshalls Discount Stores featuring women shoe shopping and a Geico Insurance spot starring the company’s affable lizard at an airport baggage claim also made the top 10. Finally, a Sonic Restaurants ad, one of many featuring the brand’s signature bantering buddies, had the pair discussing nicknames of milkshakes based on ex-girlfriends to round out the list.


Nielsen TV Brand Effect employs a nationally representative online panel of U.S. 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. This analysis is based on English-language ads on English networks within the TV Brand Effect coverage. Since the panelists respond based on what they watched in a natural 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. This list was limited to a subset of males who indicated that they were a parent and to ads launched after Jan. 1, 2015, until May 17, 2015.

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