Creativity Brand Strategy

Best US Ads for March: Cheetos, General Mills, Kellogg’s and Paramount+

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

April 4, 2022 | 6 min read

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 star rating system that factors in a broad set of data to answer these questions. Jon Evans, chief growth officer at System1, told us which ads received the highest ratings last month – and why they stood out from the crowd.

Methodology

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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Cheetos listed in System1’s top five best ads for March

March’s top ads

5) Vizzy: Enjoy Every Sip

Star rating: 3.1

Report here.

Congratulations to new brand Vizzy, which features in our Top 5 with its very first ad. The new hard seltzer launch from Molson Coors uses its 30 seconds to establish a chill party vibe rather than make any big product claims, and in a category that can struggle to overcome mainstream suspicions, that turns out to be the right approach. A good emotional response and a strong short-term impact too.

4) Cheetos: Hands Free TVC

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Star rating: 3.1

Report here.

Cheetos ads love to make fun of the brand’s most distinctive but divisive asset – the lurid orange dust that eating them leaves on your fingers. It’s a great example of a brand leaning into what makes it special, not trying to play it down. In this clever and funny ad, we see the invention of hands-free technologies from automatic doors to self-driving cars – all so their users didn’t have to use their cheeto-caked paws. At only 3 stars, some people feel disgust for the dust, but massive short-term spike and brand fluency scores make this a winner.

3) General Mills: Hunt Them

Star rating: 3.4

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch has a limited-edition range of ‘Cinnamojis’ in stores – breakfast cereals and emojis spell kids, and this ad is very much in the classic kids’ cereal style. Cartoon characters, breakneck action and a get-up-and-go voiceover mean it’s an ad that raises a smile but also scores well on the short-term spike measure – important for a limited-edition range that won’t be around for long.

2) Paramount+: Storm

Star rating: 3.6

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Paramount+ is one of the many streaming services vying for consumer dollars, and like Disney+ it chooses to showcase the depth of its IP, with films and TV series dating back decades. So it’s an ad stuffed with juicy cultural references, from Flashdance to South Park, but it’s also well-executed in terms of moving from an action movie register to a comic one. Solidly entertaining, though a low brand fluency score suggests Paramount will have to work to establish itself as the brand above its famous faces.

1) Kellogg’s: Just Go On

Star rating: 4.0

Report here.

In a slightly weak month for new ads, this Pop-Tarts product launch does enough to claim the top spot on our list. It’s a cheerful demonstration of the new bite-size Pop-Tarts Bites product, with people sneaking the miniature snacks into a bunch of everyday situations. There’s enough cheekiness and fun in among the product displays to make viewers grin and land Kellogg’s our only 4-star ad this month.

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