Microsoft Leads Ace Metrix’ List of Most Effective Back-to-School Ads

List Dominated by Technology Messages; Apparel Retailers Fail to Make a Splash

LOS ANGELES – Ace Metrix™, the authority in television advertising effectiveness, announced the most effective Back-to-School TV ads, a list led by Microsoft and dominated by technology companies and brands, including Best Buy, Staples, Dell, and Wal-Mart.

“Notably, apparel retailers did not make much of a splash with consumers this back-to-school season,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “JCPenney was a notable exception, winning big with consumers with their ‘pennies from heaven’ spot that promoted the company’s contributions to local after-school programs. This philanthropic tactic, which was used last year in the Number One back-to-school ad from Kohl’s, has been an effective way of getting consumer attention for apparel retailers.

“The usual reliance of apparel retailers on typically ‘in the box’ ideas like promotion of sales events are just not effective in breaking through to consumers in a cluttered advertising environment.”

Microsoft’s top-rated ad, achieving an Ace Score of 651, offered a free Xbox with the purchase of a Windows 7 PC, an offer also made by Dell, which had the 9th most effective ad with an Ace Score of 569.

Top 10 Most Effective Back to School Ads*

Brand Ad Title Overall Ace Score
Microsoft Windows A Blast Of A Deal 651
JC Penney Pennies From Heaven 615
Crayola All That Kids Love About Crayons 589
Walmart She Doesn’t Need The Ad 586
Best Buy Girl Gets A New Laptop 586
Staples Rico Rodriguez: Flash Drives Are Just $5.99 586
Walmart Everything You Need For Back To College 582
Chex Box Tops In The Mix 575
Dell Student Deal: Free Xbox 569
Best Buy The Geek Squad 568

*Definition: Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 0-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as relevance, persuasion, watchability, information, attention, etc.

In addition, five of the top 10 ads were focused on college students. By comparison, many of the poorer performing ads were focused on messages around children’s apparel. Crayola was a notable children’s brand to break into the most effective ads promoting its dry erase crayons and achieving an Ace Score of 589.

About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix is the industry authority in measuring and understanding the impact of advertising creative. Through patent-pending Ace ScoreTM measurement technology, Ace Metrix collects and measures the consumer impact of every nationally breaking TV ad in near real-time. Through its Creative Lifecycle Management TM suite of products, Ace Metrix provides actionable creative analysis, from ideation through real-time in-market performance optimization, to many of the world’s leading advertisers and agencies. Ace Metrix works with leading global advertisers. For more information, visit