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    Most effective US ads of October, featuring General Mills, Bud Light and Tourism Australia

    What do Ice T and Honey Nut Cheerios’ Buzz have in common? They’re co-stars in one of October’s most effective ads.

    What makes an ad resonate with its target audience? What are the factors that can help an ad leave a lasting impression in the minds of its viewers? System1 has developed a five-star rating system that factors in a broad set of data to answer these questions.

    Below, the brand consultancy’s chief customer officer, Jon Evans, talks us through the ads that received the highest ratings this past month, explaining why they stood out from the crowd.


    5. Volvo Trucks ‘A Love Story’

    Star rating: 3

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    Ever seen trucks getting freaky on a beach? Ever wanted to? Even if your answer is no, that’s what Volvo have served up in this unforgettable ad about the romance between two trucks. The reason for all this diesel desire is revealed when you look at the truck license plates – “efficiency” meets “fun.” All credit to agency Forsman & Bodenfors, there are a lot of less interesting ways you could handle that brief. “Love Story” only manages 3 stars in emotional response (some people feel disgust when they see trucks romping) but absolutely smashes short-term response and brand fluency. A brilliant attention-grabber.

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    4. Bud Light ‘Refreshing and Light’

    Star rating: 3.1

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    Unlike Volvo Trucks, Bud Light won’t be winning any prizes for imagination. Get the simple stuff right, though, and your ad can still be rather effective. Here’s a catchy tune, Hot Chocolate’s classic “You Sexy Thing,” and an execution that focuses on the sensory pleasure of an ice-cold Bud are all the beer brand needs to land a solid 3-star score, with exceptional short-term and brand response metrics.


    3. General Mills ‘Delicious Way of Care’

    Star rating: 3.7


    Strong use of a celebrity guest star in this General Mills ad, one of a series in which Ice T joins Buzz to extol the virtues of exercise and healthy hearts. The humor in the ad comes from incongruity – tough guy rapper Ice leading a gym class – and beyond that it’s a straightforward product-based ad. But this has always been an effective way of employing your celebrity brand ambassadors – you take what they’re known for then either exaggerate it or flip it to comic effect. The result is a good 3.7-star score for the cereal brand.

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    2. Daisy Sour Cream ‘Daisy Sour Cream 2022 – Do A Dollop’

    Star rating:  4.6

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    A happy family, a hero product, and a bouncy jingle: it’s one of the oldest frameworks in the book for an FMCG ad, but if done well, it still works. In fact, with brands everywhere trying to be clever or hip, a defiantly old-school ad like this may be able to stand out more – it landed a strong 4.6 stars. There are tweaks to the formula – a more diverse cast and a slightly more R&B-flavored soundtrack – but the “dollop of Daisy” slogan remains the center of the ad as it has done for over a decade, and don’t be too surprised if you find yourself humming “do a dollop” for days after.

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    1. Tourism Australia ‘A Land Down Under’

    Star rating: 4.7

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    It’s not difficult for travel ads to score well, for they have the natural emotional advantage of being able to show people relaxing and having fun in beautiful places. But that doesn’t solve the wider problem of distinguishing your beautiful place from all the others. Tourism Australia’s ‘A Land Down Under’ isn’t shy about using its Aussie assets – it stars an animated kangaroo and uses a cover of the classic “Down Under” as its soundtrack. But those things give the ad a frame and an identity that makes all the shots of fun and sun feel connected. It scored 4.7 and has been achieving similar scores in other international markets this month – a great launch for Tourism Australia’s new mascot.


    System1 tests ads on measures that predict long-term brand growth (star rating) and short-term sales growth (spike rating) – each between 1 and 5 stars. These measures are validated using the independent IPA database and also against real sales data at a category level. The star rating captures the emotional response to an ad. Only 1% of ads on the system score 5 stars. A 1-star ad will have zero effect on brand growth, while a 5-star ad will have an exceptional impact (up to three points of market share gain, depending on investment). Often the work that receives the highest ratings comes as a surprise to everyone.

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