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Super Bowl Ads Score Big in List of Most-Liked Ads of Q1 2011
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Super Bowl Ads Score Big in List of Most-Liked Ads of Q1 2011

Volkswagen’s Little Darth Vader ad, where a small boy is stunned by his powers, was not only a standout commercial in this year’s Super Bowl, but it also took the top spot among Most Liked new ads of the entire first quarter 2011.

A Nielsen analysis of the top ads debuting in Q1 of this year revealed that, while Super Bowl ads were among some of the best liked commercials (four of the top five Most Liked ads appeared in the big game), several other creatives managed to break through the clutter as well.

In fact, overall, six out of 10 Most-Liked ads were not shown in the Super Bowl, including a 30-second spot from M&M, which ranked third on the list.

Nielsen Top 10 Most Liked Ads: Q1 2011
RANK Brand Ad Description / Duration Likeability Index
1 Volkswagen Super Bowl — Passat — Little Darth Vader starts car (:30) 232
2 Doritos Super Bowl — Man licks cheese crumbs off of coworker’s fingers (:30) 227
3 M&M Convenience store robber threatens to eat M&M hostage if demands are not met (:30) 225
4 Doritos Super Bowl — Housesitter brings grandpa back to life (:30) 217
5 NFL Super Bowl — Montage of people watching football on well-known classic TV shows (:60) 214
6 Snickers Peanut Butter Squared — Woman asks sharks which human tasted better (:30) 211
7 Dove Woman leaves chocolate gifts for Valentine’s Day, including one for herself. (:15) 208
8 Canada Dry People pull roots, cans of soda, and a soda machine out of the ground (:30) 207
9 General Electric Ecomagination — Animated elephant dances in jungle (:30) 206
10 M&M Pretzel — Patrick Warburton turns into a pretzel M&M after eating them (:15) 205
Source: The Nielsen Company: Only new ad executions considered, airing from January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2011. The Likeability Score is the percentage of TV viewers who report to like “a lot” an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing TV (among those who remembered the brand of the ad). These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads during the period (Likeability Index). 100 equals average. For example, with a recall index of 232 the top ranked Volkswagen ad has proven to be 2.31 times as memorable as the average new commercial during the past quarter.

For the most memorable ads, the high profile platform provided by the Super Bowl seemed to have more of an impact. Seven of the top 10 ads with the strongest Brand Recall score came from the game. The top commercial featured a Western backdrop, where a cowboy demands Budweiser when he enters a saloon. Overall, the ads with the highest Brand Recall significantly outperformed the average commercial in the first quarter of 2011 – they were more than twice as memorable as other new creatives.

Two Super Bowl ads scored on both Brand Recall and Likeability: a Doritos ad where a man licks crumbs off his co-worker’s fingers (#2 Most-Liked, #3 Most-Recalled), and an NFL montage (#5 Most-Liked, #7 Most-Recalled) ranked in the top 10 on both lists.

Nielsen Top 10 Most Recalled Ads: Q1 2011
RANK Brand Ad Description / Duration Recall Index
1 Budweiser Super Bowl — Cowboy in Western saloon sings (:60) 232
2 Doritos Super Bowl — Pug knocks down door after boyfriend taunts with chips (:30) 227
3 Doritos Super Bowl — Man licks cheese crumbs off of coworker’s fingers (:30) 225
4 Yoplait Light — Woman talks on phone about her diet; husband searches for treats (:15) 217
5 Cheez-It Wheel of cheese tells immature jokes and is deemed unready to be eaten (:30) 214
6 Pepsi Max Super Bowl — Pepsi Max — Soda cans shoot out of cooler and hit bullies (:30) 211
7 NFL Super Bowl — Montage of people watching football on classic TV shows (:60) 208
8 GoDaddy.com GoDaddy.co — New spokesperson Joan Rivers is revealed (:30) 207
9 Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care — Woman scratches her scalp on a date and messes up her hairstyle (:30) 206
10 Budweiser Super Bowl — Bud Light — Dogs work at party (:30) 205
Source: The Nielsen Company: Only new ad executions considered, airing from January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2011. The Recall Score is the percentage of TV viewers who can remember within 24 hours the brand of an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing TV. These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads during the period (Recall Index). 100 equals average. For example, with a recall index of 232 the top ranked Budweiser ad has proven to be 2.32 times as memorable as the average new commercial during the past quarter.