Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock (7734407a)Macy's flagship store is shown in New YorkMacys, NEW YORK, USA - 05 Jan 2017


Macy’s Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam’s Club took the top positions in the ABX advertising effectiveness report for March. Major retailers ran 464 ads during the month, which was on par with February.

The ABX Advertising Benchmark Index measures effectiveness using 15 variables, and a consumer panel. A score of 100 is equal to average effectiveness, and the ABX Index reading measures the overall effectiveness of a television, digital, print, radio and billboard ad.

For March, Wal-Mart’s “Free, 2-Day Shipping. No Membership Fee” television spot was number one — driven by a “reputation” score of 190 and an “action” reading of 161. The ABX Index came in at 131 as a result.

Researchers at the firm said the 15-second spot is part of the retailer’s “Best Things in Life Are Free” campaign, which took first place last month with a longer version. “Images of family life accompany the great jazz song, ‘The Best Things in Life Are Free,’ with text and no spoken audio,” ABX researchers said in their report.

“While Awareness (brand linkage) is still lower than expected with the other high scores, the Message (plus-29 percent over norm) got through and impacted Reputation (plus-90 percent) and Action (plus-61 percent). While all [call to actions] were successful, the strongest was Intent to go to the Web for more information at 117 percent over norm. It is a coup on Wal-mart’s part to generate such high scores with a [15-second] version as compared with longer versions.”

See Wal-Mart’s television spot here.

For radio, Sam’s Club’s feed America campaign was number one. The spot introduced the warehouse club‘s “Meals for Members” program — which donates 12 meals to feed America food banks for any purchase (of an approved promotional product). It garnered an ABX Index score of 122.

“This spot features a steady narrative without the usual frenetic tone of radio announcers, and has a pleasant music track beneath,” ABX noted. “The offer is clear and resulted in a huge plus-100 percent over norm Reputation score and good Action scores for Talking about (73 percent) or go to the web (plus-23 percent) for more information.”

For digital, Macy’s one-day sale ad grabbed the top spot with an ABX Index score of 124. It’s “reputation” and “action” scores were 135 and 136, respectively. It also performed well with the gender equality metric.

“The strength of this ad was its cast of tiny boys and girls,” ABX said adding that the spot’s ABX Gender Equality Index score was 114 for “female” and 110 for “girls.” The firm said all of the top retailers had high gender equality index scores. “The Gender Index is part of the ANA #SeeHer call to portray girls and women respectfully in all media,” ABX said.

For print, Kroger was number one with its $2.77 with Card” campaign. Kroger also nailed the top position with free-standing inserts. Albertson’s scored the highest in the out of home, or billboards category.

More on Business News from WWD:

Think Tank: Why Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Aren’t Going Away

Consumer Survey Reveals Generational Differences With Markdown Expectations

Survey Shows Preference for Mobile Shopping, Impact of Push Notifications

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