In what is traditionally a slow month for the retail sector, major companies kept up the pace of their marketing efforts in digital, print, TV and radio ads for January, according to the ABX Advertising Benchmark Index.
The top retailers tracked ran 658 pieces of creative ads in the month, which compares to 681 for December. In January, the top-scoring ads in effectiveness included Old Navy, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.
Ads are rated via a consumer panel and include 14 variables with the ABX Index score measuring the overall effectiveness. A score of 100 is considered average effectiveness. In the January report, Old Navy took the top spot for radio with its “Fashion Emergency Hotline Help” spot with an ABX Index score of 116, which was driven by a reputation score of 152.
“Since radio averages actually index closer to 90 than 100, a score of 116 is very high for this medium,” analysts at ABX noted. “Most notable was the plus-52 percent over norm reputation score, likely due to the 50 percent savings on the activewear message.”
The analysts at ABX also said that while Old Navy was mentioned several times by the “enthusiastic announcers,” the awareness [score] barely broke through at a plus-3 percent [measure], suggesting perhaps a need to slow down enunciation of the name, or perhaps add one more mention.”
In the free-standing insert category, Target was number one with its “Well Stock” creative. The analysts at ABX described the ad as “gorgeous” and said its ABX Index came in at 121.
“But look at the awareness score of only 100, right at average,” the analysts said in their report. “How could anyone not know this is a Target ad? Many companies are going to wordless logos and it is a risk.”
For print ads, Walmart was number with an ABX Index score of 122 for its “Free Grocery Pick-up” creative. “Artwork is colorful, clean, and inclusive of product, people and graphics.,” the analysts said. “Awareness [with a score of 107] could have been a little higher, perhaps with a larger logo.”
In the television segment, Kroger was number one with “I love helping people get what they need” spot. The 30-second ad had an ABX Index score of 128, and was driven by a reputation score of 186. In the digital segment, Best Buy was number one with an online video, “CS17192 001 Year of Von.” And for out of home (billboards), Kroger was number one with its “10 for $10 Sale.”
Meanwhile, in a separate report analyzing retail ads for the 2016 holiday shopping season, ABX measured 82 holiday TV ads and 58 online video ads from the pool of major retailers the firm tracks. It complied effectiveness scores on each, and found that “Lowe’s and Home Depot both had strong holiday creative, but no retailer stood out dramatically on the positive end.”
The analysts noted that Kmart “showed weaker performance.”