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Reality TV be gone, Retail TV has been booming this spring. Well, during commercial time, anyway. IAG Research has selected the top retail 30-second Advertisements, which have had the highest amount of viewer recall, based on 82,064 surveys of TV viewers conducted since Jan. 2. From its database, IAG provided ads from both “Apparel Retailer” and “Department Store” categories. All had to have been launched by January and aired through May on the major broadcast networks in prime time. Old Navy was on a roll this spring, taking four of the top 10 spots with its onslaught of kitschy ads, featuring lots of skin and music. WWD noted last week that Old Navy plans to expand its line of advertising partners, having hired StrawberryFrog agency for its fall TV and print campaigns.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  1. OLD NAVY
    Advertisement: “Bermuda”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 209
    This spring saw some seriously playful advertising for Old Navy, which takes top honors with its bermuda shorts commercial. It features men and women dancing in their shorts on a beach and near a pool, singing to a remake of the tune “Fame,” claiming, “You’ll want to wear them forever. You should remember their name.”
  2. VICTORIA’S SECRET
    Advertisement: “Victoria’s Secret IPEX”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 208
    Victoria’s Secret introduced Body By Victoria IPEX, the world’s “most advanced bra, two years in development,” earlier this year. But what could possibly be piquing the interest of viewers is supermodel Gisele Bundchen showing off the creation in a prime time spot from the Limited Brands-owned retailer. Gisele might be the only perk for this bra, as Limited Brands reported a 76 percent drop in first-quarter profits in May, explaining that one of the reasons was below-average sales for … Body By Victoria IPEX.
  3. OLD NAVY
    Advertisement
    : “Tunic”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 200
    Female models frolicking around on a yacht to the Eighties tune of “Bust a Move” apparently turned some heads this spring. Old Navy’s ad promoting its new tunic line (lightweight, colorful cotton tops that slip on over the head) made its debut in April during hit shows such as “The O.C.,” “The Apprentice” and “Survivor.”

  4. GAP
    Advertisement
    : “Pretty Khaki”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 187
    Though Sarah Jessica Parker may be replaced for the fall campaign, viewers haven’t forgotten her girly, playful Advertisement for Gap as she brought khakis back to life, singing, “I Enjoy Being a Girl.” Over various outfit changes, Parker shows off khakis as comfortable and sexy, all at the same time. The ad ran in March and was directed by movie director Peyton Reed.
  5. KOHL’S
    Advertisement
    : “Super Saturday”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 182
    With two Advertisements in IAG’s top 10, Kohl’s is doing something right. The retailer’s sales were up 10 percent for May, although same-store sales for the same month saw just a slight increase of 0.2 percent. This particular ad, part of Kohl’s Super Saturday concept, shows a rooster waking up a set of parents in their bedroom early one Saturday morning — a plan that is staged by their children, who don’t want to miss the Early Bird Specials.
  6. OLD NAVY
    Advertisement: “Swimwear”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 176
    The winning combination: Take a bunch of people, put them all in swimsuits and have them run, dance and sing on a beach. This time, it’s to a remake of the Go-Go’s hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Old Navy also has a knack for touting its low prices throughout its Advertisements: “Swimwear for the whole family, starting at $10!” it claims, making viewers realize the store carries not only well-priced clothes, but also apparel for the entire family.
  7. J.C. PENNEY
    Advertisement: “That Was My…Part III”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 175
    This Advertisement from J.C. Penney played up the hype for its Biggest Star Sweepstakes, which awarded one lucky viewer a grand prize of $100,000 and a trip to the Academy Awards in February. The campaign was a three-part series, in which actor Diedrich Bader becomes distracted by a group of beautiful women — as he is en route to the Oscars ceremony, holding the sweepstakes’ winning envelope.

  8. OLD NAVY
    Advertisement: “Super Skirt”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 172
    Long, flowy skirts with a hint of volume are everywhere this season. Old Navy titles its version of the fad “Super Skirt” in this Advertisement, which features three women showing off their skirts around a pool, dancing to an Old Navy remake of Rick James’ hit “Super Freak.” But, in typical Old Navy style, the tune rings ever-so-differently to the words, “Super Skirt, super flirt, it’s super skirty.”
  9. KOHL’S
    Advertisement: “Spring Fashion Desire”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 164
    Kohl’s “Spring Fashion Desire” Advertisement features a woman in a suit at first, then her outfits begin to change to the tune of “Do You Believe in Magic.” The idea is to showcase Kohl’s new misses’ fashions for spring from brands like Daisy Fuentes, Apt. 9, Nine & Company and Axcess, while revealing how pieces can easily be mixed and matched for business, casual or play.
  10. BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY
    Advertisement: “Fighting Couple”
    Retail Brand Recall Index: 149
    H. Robert Greenbaum, vice president of advertising for Burlington Coat Factory, took a gamble with this ad: The spot features an attractive couple who are very much in love but cannot stop fighting over favorite colors as the ad says, “Burlington Coat Factory introduces color, color and more color.” Said Greenbaum, “We thought the concept of ‘color’ in the ad would be a great direction to showcase what’s new for spring — color is everywhere.” By the way, the couple makes up in the end, as the man admits he really just wants to rip her clothes off.

SOURCE: IAG Research (iagr.net). IAG provides insight into the performance of ad campaigns, in-program placements, individual shows and networks to help marketers maximize the value and impact of their TV buys. The Recall Score is the percentage of TV viewers who can recall within 24 hours the brand of an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of TV viewing. These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads in the categories during the period (Recall Index). for example, with a recall index of 209, the top-ranked old navy spot has proven more than twice as memorable as the average new Apparel Retailer or department store commercial launching since the start of the year. average Recall IS 100.

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