THE NEW YORK TIMES: …the Most Online Buzz (Carmax #6 for the year)

December 28, 2011

MARKETERS take many approaches to selling their products, from fake talking babies to real rap stars in commercials. But for many, generating the elusive online buzz is the ultimate goal.

For the fourth consecutive year, Zeta Interactive, an interactive marketing agency, has released a report of which ad campaigns generated the most buzz online. Zeta uses a technology that monitors what consumers are saying about online ads that they see on blogs and on video sharing and social media sites.

Zeta Interactive gives ads scores reflecting the volume, or the total number of posts each ad had per day, and tone, or the number of positive or negative posts about the ad. The company analyzed more than 200 million online posts.

This year, of the top 10 ads, eight made their debuts during the Super Bowl. In 2010, only four on the list made their debuts during the Super Bowl.

At the top of the list was an ad for E*Trade Financial called “Enzo the Tailor,” which featured a baby being fitted for a custom-made suit and talking about how his tailor could retire in Tuscany. The spot was made by Grey New York, part of the Grey Group unit of WPP.

Both E*Trade and Snickers, whose “Logging” spot featuring Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis was the seventh ad on the list, showed how some brands were able to have success in campaigns with recurring themes, said Mary Beth Keelty, vice president for marketing at Zeta. “They found something that worked and they are refreshing it,” she said.

The Snickers spot was created by BBDO New York, part of the BBDO Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group. Snickers was the only brand to have a repeat appearance on the list this year.

Automobile ads were popular with digital consumers as well, with Volkswagen’s ad featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader, and Chrysler’s ad featuring the rap artist Eminem and the city of Detroit, taking the second and third spots, respectively. The Volkswagen ad was created by Deutsch LA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and the Chrysler ad was created by Wieden & Kennedy.

“Cars really were a big part of the top 10 here,” said Minna Rhee, Zeta’s chief executive. The auto ads were a “reflection of coming out of the recession and the car industry taking a bigger role in 2011,” she said.

Other car ads in the top 10 included Mercedes-Benz’s ad featuring the artist Diddy, in the ninth spot on the list, and an ad for Nissan’s Leaf in the eighth spot. The Nissan ad, called “Gas Powered Everything,” shows people using everyday items like alarm clocks and hair dryers that are powered by gas engines. It featured a new trend on the list — the eco-conscious ad. The spot was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group.

An animated ad for Chipotle Mexican Grill, called “Back to the Start,” was the fourth most popular ad on the list. The ad, which was also shown in movie theaters, tells the story of the industrialization of farming. The film, which was more than two minutes long, was directed by Johnny Kelly and featured a Willie Nelson version of the Coldplay song “The Scientist.”

The ad demonstrated that it is possible for brands “to break that top 10 with something that wasn’t necessarily with TV at the center of what the campaign was about,” Ms. Rhee said. The Chipotle ad also tied with an ad for the PepsiCo beverage H2oh! for the most positive tonal ranking. The H2oh ad, which was created by BBDO Argentina, was the first and only ad in Spanish to make the list.

Bud Light and CarMax rounded out the list in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Bud Light’s commercial, “Product Placement,” featured swashbucklers on a movie set, while CarMax’s spot, “Kid in a Candy Store,” promoted its selection of auto and money-back guarantee.

The Bud Light commercial was created by DDB Chicago, part of DDB Worldwide, owned by the Omnicom Group. The CarMax ad was created by Amalgamated New York.

-The New York Times, December 28, 2011