Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) had two of the funniest ads on television in the past year, according to an analysis by Ace Metrix. Despite the high ranking, analysts concluded the ads from BWW were fundamentally not successful.
Jonathan Symonds, EVP of marketing at Ace Metrix, says the study determined humorous ads are too often light on informative comment and thus ultimately fail to be effective.
Restaurants do have an advantage compared to other industries, according to the study: restaurants over-index in the field of desire, meaning they are most successful at compelling consumers’ cravings through visual marketing.
Titled “Is Funny Enough?”, the study surveyed consumers on the at 6,500 ads that aired from Jan. 1, 2011, through March 2012. It found that humor matched well with attention and likeability, hitting a correlation of .3 and .31, respectively. The correlation between humor and information, however, was -.22.
“Effectiveness is a whole combination of different things,” Symonds says. “You need to be able to measure all of those things, and you need to be able to hit on all of those different elements, and that includes change and relevance and desire. All of those components are what make up a truly effective ad, and funny, in and of itself, doesn’t do that.”
BWW’s “Man Would Lose June” ranked No. 2 in the list, while “He Would Lose May” ranked No. 6. BWW was the only restaurant brand to make the top 10.
“From a consistency standpoint, those ads, that theme, that campaign was highly successful,” Symonds says. “But I think if you look at it from a pure effectiveness standpoint, those ads were not necessarily effective ads. In fact, all of them were actually in the bottom quintile for the category of casual dining.”
Symonds says it is possible to create an ad that is both funny and effective by doing two things: imparting information to the consumer such as the usefulness of a product and how it will benefit the consumer, whilst simultaneously integrating humorous elements.
The study also found that the more an ad is perceived as funny, the more viewers pay attention, like an ad, and are willing to watch it again in the future.
Ace Metrix’s methodology developed a Funny Index that asked viewers to voluntarily leave open-ended comments after watching an ad. Those who noted trigger words for humor such as “funny” and “good joke” served as a lower-bound estimate of how many people agreed the ad was funny, and advanced processing algorithms resulted in an objective Funny Index.
By Sonya Chudgar
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