A funny thing happened on the way to today’s announcement of Consumerist.com, the Consumer Reports website’s, results of its “most annoying, repetitive holiday commercials of the year” contest. In yet another demonstration of the perception gap between “we here in the Consumerist Cave” and the real consumers they purport to speak for, the Overstock.com “Singing Employees” commercial that came in fifth in Comsumerist’s hall of shame, came in a very close third in Ace Metrix’s consumer ratings of good holiday ad campaigns.
Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?
“Do we really care what the people who work at Overstock.com are,” Consumerist asked rhetorically. “And aren’t there any employees at the company who can actually hold a tune? Even if they could, the commercial’s bastardized ‘Jingle Bells’ lyrics are enough to make one hit the mute button.” (One thing Consumerist got wrong, incidentally, is the assertion that the employees themselves are singing. Anyone the least bit familiar with video production can tell that those are all professional voices synced to the on-camera employees.)
But according to Ace Score ad effectiveness research, in which reactions of randomly selected, typical television viewers nationwide — not professional consumerists — form the basis for a composite score of a commercial’s relevance, persuasion, watchability, information and interest, the singinging commercial was music to consumers’ (but not Consumerists’) ears.
Among the Ace Metrix Top Ten Holiday-Themed Retail Ads on TV, the Overstock employees singing “Jingle Bells” tied for sixth with 592 points out of a possible 950 and just one point behind fifth-place Victoria’s Secret. And among Top Ten Holiday-Themed Campaigns, Overstock’s 574 score was good for third, just four points behind second-place Kohl’s.
And the losers are…
Except for Overstock, none of Consumerist’s five finalists appeared on the Ace Score list. And except for Overstock, each of them has a physical presence here in Richmond: Lexus, Target, Hyundai and Best Buy.
The Lexus spot (fourth place) has a husband stapling a giant stocking to the front of his garage and giving his wife a new Lexus with the cliche red ribbon bow tied to the roof, “… to remind those of us who can barely afford to pay our mortgage just how cool Lexus owners are,” Consumerist says.
Best Buy’s third-place commercial features Kenneth, “a poorly animated elf who shills for Best Buy,” who goes online to solve Santa’s production and delivery bottlenecks.
Target (second) uses “an Amy Sedaris lookalike [who] screeches and pulls a variety of rubber faces as she gets in shape for Target’s doorbuster sales.”
And at the bottom of the barrel is Hyundai, who, Comsumerist says, “apparently decided that having Jeff ‘The Dude’ Bridges as its spokesman wasn’t cool enough and hired twee YouTube sensations Pomplamoose to record versions of…holiday classics that make you pine for the humble beauty of elevator music.” Even though the spot got the most votes for “most annoying,” it also had the most defenders; it seems that it wasn’t the commercial itself that teed viewers (and Consumerists) off, but the heavy media buy with lots of on-air repetition.
The audience is never wrong
A good new year’s resolution for advertisers to follow is to learn from this disparity of “expert” and consumer opinion. You may know more than your audience does, but it’s what they know and think that counts — as long as they’re the ones buying from you, and not the other way around.